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"I Believe..." -- The Apostles' Creed & the Church: Your Input Requested

When we take the Lord's Supper at our church, we sometimes recite the Apostles' Creed.

We are not a creedal people in the formal sense, in that we do not consider them binding in the same way as some denominations do (hence this blogpost). However, we do see the value and are thankful for how Christians have formulated their faith through creeds for many centuries.

Here is the version we use (the boldings are discussed below):

Apostles' Creed:

I believe in God, the Father Almighty,

the Creator of heaven and earth,

and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord;

Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,

born of the Virgin Mary,

suffered under Pontius Pilate,

was crucified, died, and was buried.

He descended to the dead.

The third day he arose again from the dead.

He ascended into heaven

and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty,

whence he shall come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,

the holy universal Church,

the communion of saints,

the forgiveness of sins,

the resurrection of the body,

and the life everlasting.

Amen.

Many evangelicals who use the Apostles' Creed make the changes in bold.

First, they are unsure how people will interpret "descended into hell." The "Harrowing of Hell" is a doctrine that many do not teach today. Also, the question of Sheol verses Hell can be confusing, so that is a common edit.

1 Peter 3:19-20 has the clearest reference to this moment and it explains,

In that state He also went and made a proclamation to the spirits in prison who in the past were disobedient, when God patiently waited in the days of Noah while an ark was being prepared. In it a few--that is, eight people--were saved through water.

Second, some change the phrase "holy Catholic church" to different variants. For example, the Lutheran Service Book says, "the holy Christian Church." However, Catholic MEANS universal, so the obvious question is: do you explain the word or use another word? Most evangelicals use another, in my experience. (We used universal.)

So, what do you think? Do you ever use a creed in a service? And, if so, do you edit it or use the original version (at least the English translation or such)?

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