Do we really believe the creed? Let’s dive into the Deeper Waters and find out.
The Apostles’ Creed ends with the word amen. That’s short and sweet and most of us probably don’t think about it. For a Jew saying a prayer, an amen was a way of saying “So be it.” It was an affirmation of what was just said. Something that made Jesus unique in His ministry was that He actually said amen about His own statements.
Bart Ehrman has said before that if he went through the Apostles’ Creed, the only line he could say with certainty was “Suffered under Pontius Pilate.” For those of us who are Christians, we should really consider that. If Ehrman is doing that and is really living it out accordingly, he could be in some ways taking the creed more seriously than we are. What does it mean if we go to a church service, say the Apostles’ Creed, and then live the rest of the life like none if it was true.
If we end it with an amen, we are saying that we believe all of it. As was said at the start, we believe some stuff that is utterly fantastic and we do have to realize that many atheists are right on this point. These claims we make are extraordinary. Too many of us have grown up so much with the story of Christianity that we no longer allow it to shock and amaze us. We have read the Scriptures so much that our minds can just go over the words. How many of us can quote John 3:16 so easily without really thinking about what it would mean if John 3:16 was true?
Certainly, none of us are going to live out what we say we believe perfectly, and that goes with most any position that we take. We will always have some inconsistencies in how we live, but we have to ask if the rest of the world sees our lives as truly reflecting what we believe about Jesus and the Christian claims or if they don’t.
After all, if Christianity is true, and hopefully you’re convinced that it is, it is simply the best offer that you could ever get and the greatest news that there is. The good news is that God is reclaiming this world for Himself and that His Kingdom is coming to cover the Earth. The good news is that evil is being dealt with and will be dealt with ultimately. The good news is that the promises that we read in Scripture really are for us.
In summation, when we say amen to the creed, let us really think about it. These aren’t just words we’re saying. They’re claims we’re making not just about reality, but what we say we believe about reality. We really believe that the second person of the Trinity came and lived among us and that He died and rose again. Those who respond with disbelief could sadly be realizing the impact of what we say more than those of us who say we believe it and deny it practically by our actions every day, and those actions speak louder than any words we say in a service.
At our church, we regularly recite the Apostles’ Creed. I happen to quite enjoy and appreciate that. It connects us to a tradition where many Christians have gone before us and we are sent back to an earlier time and realize that those Christians are indeed our brothers and sisters. We believe what they believed. They believed what we believe.
Let’s make sure we do. Next time you say the creed really pause and ask yourself if you really do believe what you are saying. If you do, are you going to live accordingly?