The Apostles' Creed for the 21st Century

The Apostles’ Creed for the 21st Century

Whether from a desire for “authenticity” or from a mistrust of formal statements of faith, the use of creeds has fallen out of favor in many evangelical churches. However, in The Apostles’ Creed: Discovering Authentic Christianity in an Age of Counterfeits, Albert Mohler—president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and TGC Council member—argues that creedal statements are, indeed, relevant for “such a time as this.” As the subtitle suggests, when we employ those ancient words in our worship, we have captured “authenticity” at its best. The Apostles’ Creed frames the essence of Christianity, for it “expresses and summarizes the faith given by Christ to the apostles” (xiv).

Internalizing majestic statements of belief enriches our more spontaneous expressions of worship with infusions of known theological truth. Mohler explains the Apostles’ Creed line by line, phrase by phrase, applying its truth to life on the ground in the 21st century. The effect is a well-organized, timely presentation of truth.

I’m thankful to be over at The Gospel Coalition‘s website today sharing Dr. Mohler’s book and arguing that the historic creeds are servants, summarizing the content of our belief so the truth can be succinctly communicated, unifying us on the essentials and directing our minds toward life-giving orthodoxy.

I hope you’ll join me over there to finish reading and to delight along with me in the details of our great salvation!

Many thanks to Thomas Nelson for providing a copy of this book to facilitate my review, which, of course, is offered freely and with honesty.

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48 thoughts on “The Apostles’ Creed for the 21st Century”

  1. How intriguing that someone has written an entire book about the Apostles’ Creed. I find the recitation of this comforting and have often thought we don’t do it enough in our church. One of my church friends said it was part of every Sunday service when she was growing up. It do get hung up with the male pronouns at times. It can be a barrier to feeling close to a God who represents a father, even if he is the ideal father we’ve always wanted.

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    1. I hear you and was really helped by Mohler’s clarification of personhood versus maleness for the male pronoun, particularly, as we “of a certain age” can recall that it was once used to refer to anyone of either gender if gender was unknown.
      And it’s so good to be reminded of the truth about God on a regular basis. It’s good that you keep coming back to it as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. We have finally found our one true church with apostles and prophet, temples restored and learning to live as Christ would. Wonder! Found you on Blogger’s Pit Stop

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  3. I remember memorizing the Apostles’ Creed in Sunday School more than half a century ago. 🙂 I haven’t heard it recited in church for years. I think, as with written prayers, reading the creed can help us focus on the words rather than trying to find our own words. Of course, praying or declaring in our own words is good, but the written versions can take us into our own personal expressions of faith. Thanks for sharing the book.

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    1. I like to use the written creeds and prayers like an outline for guiding my thoughts. It’s so easy for my brain to start wool-gathering and to veer off into the trivial. The Apostle’s Creed focuses on the eternal verities that anchor our faith.

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      1. I know exactly what you mean. It’s amazing how many places my mind can go in a short period of time–places I never intended it to go at the particular time I want to pray.

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  4. The Apostles Creed is comforting. I say it at times when I’m not sure what to pray along with my thank yous to God when I feel I’ve asked for enough favors. 🙂 Will have to check out your blog visit site and the book. Interested to know meaning as it has never been exactly explained to me.
    I so remember too, as you say, when male gender was used when unknown…just a common thing in my day, and see you tomorrow on a Friday from a teacher and we all knew she/he meant Monday. 🙂
    Have a nice Easter.

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  5. Mmmm! Interesting review Michele…
    I think the danger is there can be a tendency to concentrate on a creed which leads to ritualistic practice (as was in the denomination I grew up in) & discount the word of God in its entirety, as I have witnessed.
    Sadly one can take over the other. It depends on how it is used & the significance of importance that is placed upon the usage of the creed within the church.
    Blessings,
    Jennifer

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are absolutely right, Jennifer, and I have a feeling that this is why the creeds have fallen on hard times in evangelical worship traditions. Thanks for these good thoughts from another perspective.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Michele,
    I headed over to finish your post…Yes, we do need orthodoxy in the modern day church. It amazes me how many young people don’t know The Lord’s Prayer or the Apostle’s Creed. I do believe that, asChristians, we need to corporately declare what we believe as being paramount in our faith…not just for the world to hear, but in order for it to resonate in our own heart. Poignant post!
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

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    1. I loved hearing our church sing about resurrection yesterday! When we publicly and verbally declare our belief, I think it strengthens us in our own personal embrace of it!

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    2. Bev, your mention of the Lord’s Prayer reminded me of a pastor/speaker I once heard say he doesn’t believe we should be using it now because it was part of the Old covenant since Jesus had not yet died. A very strange idea to say the least. I’m not sure what he does with the rest of the OT. I think I will stick to believing all scripture has a purpose in our lives today. We don’t say the Lord’s Prayer on a regular basis in our church, but there are times when our pastor chooses for us to pray collectively.

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      1. Wow, I feel very sad for that speaker because when we unplug the New Testament from the Old, we lose all the connections to God’s glorious promises of redemption that have been fulfilled and form the basis for our belief in the 21st century!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I agree with you, Michele. It would be like building a house then afterwards removing the foundation. The whole thing would fall apart. I have known people also who do not believe in tithing for the same reason. So I guess they don’t give any credit to the fact that it was Jesus Himself who taught these things. How could we ever understand the New Testament without that foundation?

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  7. This made me smile: “Unfortunately, the only eligible members of congregations happen to be sinners.” True! 🙂 Thankful all the more for grace. The church I grew up in would have been appalled at “adding” in something like the Apostles’ Creed, but as an adult I see the value in it. Thanks for your review, Michele.

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    1. Yes, same with me and my evangelical tradition, and yet I am drawn to the ancient words as an expression of what I believe but cannot put into words nearly as comprehensively.
      And as one of those eligible sinners, I am deeply grateful for the open door of the church!

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  8. Michele, if I may share … I have a copy of the Apostles Creed printed up, folded, and in my Bible. There is something about reading these old and familiar words, passed on down through the ages, which strengthens my faith and gives me hope. I also love to play and remember the song by Rich Mullins, “Creed” which moves me to tears every time I hear it – https://youtu.be/i3i-_VWxOAc
    Blessings to you, friend!

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    1. Clicking over now to give it a listen.
      And have you also heard the creed sung by John Michael Talbot. Also VERY moving.
      Whenever I read the Apostles’ Creed I’m reminded that what our hearts really need is TRUTH in large doses on the regular.

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  9. If we don’t decide what we believe, someone else will. It’s so important to know what you believe!!

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  10. Albert Mohler is going to be speaking at a local church, the church our oldest daughter and son-in-law attend, on Sunday. This is an important and timely topic, Michele. Thanks! And thanks for lining up at InstaEcnouragements!

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  11. Belonging to a denomination that doesn’t focus on group recitation and other traditional rituals, i think this book on the apostles creed is a great idea! I look forward to reading it!

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  12. I think the apostle’s creed is still an essential part of the Christian church because it constantly reminds Christians of the core beliefs of Christianity. As was mentioned in a previous comment that without it people veer off course so it’s a way to refocus. #DreamTeam

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  13. Heading over to read the rest of the post, Michele. I am so surprised to read that some churches do not favor creeds. As a Lutheran, they are part of every service for us.

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  14. The article and review is great, Michele. I love the work TGC is doing among churches and believers. And I had the privilege to sit under the teaching of Albert Mohler at the Billy Graham Training Center, The Cove, at a pastor and pastor’s wife institute. I respect his writings. Since I consider my calling as a pastor’s wife a sacred one, I appreciated this line, “Church isn’t an optional accessory to a flourishing Christian life.” Amen!

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    1. Yes, I have so much respect for TGC. Someday, I hope to attend one of their conferences.
      So great that you had the opportunity to attend an event at The Cove, and I agree with you 100%. PW’s are called and commissioned right along with their husbands, and they are some of my favorite people!

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  15. Congratulations! Your post was my feature pick at #OverTheMoon this week. Each Hostess displays their own features so be sure to visit me on Sunday evening and to see your feature! I invite you to leave more links to be shared and commented upon. Please don’t forget to add your link numbers or post title so we can be sure to visit!

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  16. In our church we recite the Apostles Creed; however I find that our youth don’t really understand what they are reciting. To them it is just words. It would be interesting to read the explanation of the Apostles Creed based on the 21st Century #TwinklyTuesday

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