Apostles’ Creed: The Ongoing Struggle of the Church to Define Its Basic Beliefs

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Millions of Catholics and Protestants accept without question the Apostles’ Creed, presuming that it contains the core Christian beliefs. Beginning with their catechumen training, they recite it weekly. It is among the most widely shared expressions by Christian worshipers throughout the world, although few unapologetic examinations of its contents have been published. Yet two-thirds of the creed’s clauses are in part, or altogether, at odds with the central message of the New Testament. This study will: first, describe the way in which the Creed, which originated centuries after the apostolic era, has been used in church history; second, evaluate the extent to which the components of the creed are faithful to apostolic Christianity; and third, suggest how faith of the earliest Christians might be expressed in a brief and meaningful statement for the present day. Attention will mainly be directed to the second purpose.

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