The consolations of God - Seventh in a series
We protestants over the centuries and today “confess” our faith by saying together the ancient creeds as part of worship. This is to nourish our hearts through recommitment of our minds to Truth.
In one of these, the Apostle's Creed, we state,
in God the Father Almighty,
Maker of heaven and earth:
and in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord,
Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, dead, and buried:
He descended into hell;
the third day he rose again from the dead;
He ascended into heaven,
and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe (numbers added)
1. in the Holy Ghost;
2. the holy Catholic (universal) Church;
3. the Communion of Saints;
4. the Forgiveness of sins;
5. the Resurrection of the body,
6. and the Life everlasting.
There are two I believe’s in this creed: The first comprises some important points that a Christian must accept about God and Jesus; the second begins a list of commonly held beliefs.
Two of these points in the second part, numbers 2 and 3 , seem not to fit.
Yes, we know that (1) all Christians must believe in the third Person of the Trinity, (4) if we confess and repent of sin we are promised forgiveness, (5) our bodies will be resurrected as Christ's was, and (6) we will live forever.
It does take FAITH to believe these things, for they are outside of our natural realm of experience.
But we can SEE the (2) church, can we not? At least we can see those near us and read about those in other lands. And what is the (3) communion of saints if not the simple experience of fellowship among believers? So, is there a need to STATE that we have FAITH in these?
Is there more in these phrases, holy catholic church and communion of saints than meets the eye? Yes, and as we understand what each means and believe in them, we will be consoled. More on this in the next post.