You recite it. But do you understand it?
The Apostles’ Creed has united Christians from different times, places, and traditions. It proclaims eternal truths for life today. We believe them, we recite them, but do we build our lives on them?
The fact that so many in the early church died for their faith means they were caught up in something greater than themselves. What were those truths? How did they empower a revolution? How did early church pastors and theologians use the Apostles’ Creed as the essential guide to the basics of the Christian life?
Ben Myers re-introduces that creed. He shows us what about the Christian faith is so counter-cultural, and what truths embedded in the Apostles’ Creed we’ve come to assume, when really they should amaze us and earn our allegiance unto death.
Ben Myers has given readers a precious gift in this short series of meditations on the Apostles’ Creed. Like the Church Fathers whose work permeates this book, he treats us to a series of pithy, pertinent reflections that demonstrate theological depth—yet with a surprisingly light touch. Tackling hard matters like gender and God's fatherhood, the virginal conception, the descent into hell, and the persons of the divine Trinity, Myers is alive to both the richness of Christian tradition and the needs of the hour. This is popular theology in the best sense of that term, making accessible the great truths of the Christian faith.
—Oliver D. Crisp, Professor of Systematic Theology, School of Theology, Fuller Theological Seminary
Like the Creed, this gem of a book answers the question, “What do Christians believe?” But because it is sensitive to the unique doubts and fears and cynicism of the 21st century, it winsomely answers the question behind that question: “How could Christians possibly believe that?” Myers shows as much as he tells, introducing us to the audacious wisdom of ancient voices whose insights prove timely and perennial. This is the catechesis we need for a secular age, overcoming the forgetting we parade as enlightenment.
—James K. A. Smith, Calvin College, author of You Are What You Love and Awaiting the King
I am very thankful to Ben Myers for his concise, readable commentary on the Apostles’ Creed! He joins the refreshing movement that is retrieving the church’s long and well-established theological consensus and urging the contemporary church to embrace this wisdom from the past. His book helps today’s church confess the Apostles’ Creed as essential truth about the triune God and the salvation he offers.
—Gregg R. Allison, Professor of Christian Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, author of Historical Theology: An Introduction to Christian Doctrine
“But in the creed I am invited to say true words. In confessing the faith of the church, I allow my own individual ‘I’ to become part of the ‘I’ of the body of Christ.” (Page 11)
“This rule of faith had two functions. First, it was educational. It formed the basis of catechesis for new believers” (Page 4)
“Gnosticism solves the problem of evil only by transforming everything into evil.” (Page 31)
“Tertullian was the first to develop this simple but important insight: ‘Father makes son, and son makes father.… A father must have a son to be a father, and a son must have a father to be a son.’12 When we confess that God is eternally Father, we always have in mind as well the eternal reality of the Son.” (Page 22)
“That is how baptism is described in an early third-century document known as the Apostolic Tradition.2 It points to the ancient roots of the Apostles’ Creed. The creed comes from baptism. It is a pledge of allegiance to the God of the gospel—a God who is revealed as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; a God who is present to us in the real world of human flesh, creating, redeeming, and sanctifying us for good works.” (Page 2)
The Christian Essentials series passes down tradition that matters. The ancient church was founded on basic biblical teachings and practices like the Ten Commandments, baptism, the Apostles’ Creed, the Lord’s Supper, the Lord’s Prayer, and corporate worship. These basics of the Christian life have sustained and nurtured every generation of the faithful—from the apostles to today. The books in the Christian Essentials series open up the meaning of the foundations of our faith.
Learn more about the other titles in this series.
Ben Myers is director of the Millis Institute at Christian Heritage College and a research fellow of the Centre for Public and Contextual Theology at Charles Sturt University in Australia. He is the author of Salvation in My Pocket: Fragments of Faith and Theology and Christ the Stranger: The Theology of Rowan Williams.
Paul D. Adams