the Maker of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord:
Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost,
born of the virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, dead, and buried;
He descended into hell.
The third day He arose again from the dead;
He ascended into heaven,
and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Ghost;
the holy catholic church;
the communion of saints;
the forgiveness of sins;
the resurrection of the body;
and the life everlasting.
The Apostles’ Creed is one of the oldest Christian documents. The only Christian documents that are older are the books of the New Testament. It is the absolute minimum one must believe to be considered Christian. The Creed does not explain everything,it just covers the basics of the faith. Some denomination recited the Apostles’ Creed, some simply teach the doctrines it contains. If you have not been taught these things or do not believe in them, you are by definition not a Christian.
The one thing that sometime confuses the first time readers of the Creed is its use of the term “catholic church”, by this the Creed does not mean the Roman Catholic Church. As any Protestant will point out the church of Rome is neither holy, nor catholic, nor strictly speaking a church. “Catholic” is just an old way of saying “universal”, and that is how the word is being used here. So the line should probably be updated to, the holy universal church. The term catholic remains there because no one wants to be accused of having changed the Creed.
The other oddity is the term “the quick and the dead”. This is just a very archaic was of saying “the living and the dead.”
There is a danger in changing the meaning of the words thereby adding strange unknown doctrines that were never intended by the early church. Groups that do this are called cults. This is an improper use of that word. Strictly speaking “cult” simply means any religion. But it has come to mean any religion that others disagree with. The reason for using the word cult, is that it is less offensive than heretic. A heretic is one who has added to or subtracted from the Creed, to a point that they have clearly changed the meaning to be outside the original meaning. However, a point of history here, the church of Rome, has had the bad habit during the Crusades and the INQUISITION, of tagging anyone who disagreed with them with the epithet of heretic, then burning these falsely accused heretics at the stake. This is the reason that Protestants don’t like using the term. They prefer to just shut the doors and ask the perceived heretics to leave. God will deal with them in His time, so to speak. Only when they are perceived to be dangerous or truly obnoxious have Protestants moved to do anything about them.
Which brings me to the point. The terms heretics or cult should not be applied to the Hebrew roots/Messianic congregation. We are saddened and a little annoyed by this false accusation, often laid on us by the ignorant self-righteous so called “Christians”. Other times these accusations are made by spiritual leaders who are threatened that we might steal their sheep. The sheep belong to Messiah. He is their master. The sheep deserve to be told the truth. Neither Sunday worship, nor Christmas, nor Easter, are mentioned in the Creed, and as such are not part of unembellished simple Christianity. They are corruptions that have been added, by those who did not completely come out of the paganism that was in their culture before Christianity. These should not be imposes on anyone. Those that teach them seem to think that they have a greater standing than the Law of God. Implying, if not actually stating, that anyone who does not do these things has somehow, lost their salvation.
Since the New Testament frees us from the Laws of sacrifice, we are free to worship as we please. Since these things that the church can not give up, are all of pagan origins, we are pleased to discard them, as vain. We choose to be slaves of righteousness rather than slaves of sin. [Rom 6:18] We have decided rather to return to the celebrations that God gave His people in the Bible. Please, we are just trying to following the Bible’s teachings, or as close to it as we can get. We are just getting back to our Hebrew roots. Rather than attacking us, the church should be asking itself, why it is continuing to keep pagan celebrations?
Instead of condemning us, consider joining in the search for the One True God.
and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. Rom. 6:18