On the day that I sat to write this Easter Message (a few weeks before Easter!) I heard on A.B.C. radio’s Soul Search a discussion with a Brisbane theologian, Ben Myers, who has written The Apostles' Creed, The: A Guide to the Ancient Catechism (Christian Essentials Series).
This is the earliest of all Christian Statements of Faith.
There is though a tradition that each of its twelve (12) articles were composed, one each, by each of the twelve (12) Apostles. Hence the obvious awkward question Which one did Judas write?! So much for some pious traditions!
Then there is that awkward phrase: He descended into hell! For this (see Ephesian 4/9-12, 1 Peter 3/18-19). See also, very helpfully, 631-637 Catechism of the Catholic Church.
The Apostles’ Creed was the original Baptism formulae common to all the early Christian communities – both East and West. It may well pre-date the writing of any parts of the New Testament.
The interesting point was made that The Apostle’s Creed itself became the very touchstone, of orthodox Catholic Faith. Indeed it became the very test for what writings would be included in the Canon of the New Testament as the authentic Christian Scriptures.
It was on this basis that some odd quite early writings – such as the (Gnostic) Gospel attributed to St Thomas were excluded.
The Apostles’ Creed proclaims a universal and an all-inclusive Faith:
I believe in God,
the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
It also proclaims an Easter Hope-Filled Faith.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended into hell.
On the third day he rose again.
He ascended into heaven
So each one of us can affirm that:
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.
Yours truly in Christ
Bishop of Cairns