Summary: The Apostle’s Creed is the most basic of theological statements. It is one that every Christian should know and understand.
With the exception of a church that I occasionally attended in college (that was right on campus so it is where I went when I woke up late), I have never attended a church that used the Apostle’s Creed as part of regular worship.
Theologically I think it is an important thing to do, just like weekly participation in the Eucharist. Practically, like the Eucharist, I attend a church that very actively reaches out to marginal Christians and those that are exploring Christianity. And I believe in that (read my review of Deep and Wide to understand my reasons.)
So even if I do not say the Creed every week, I do think it is something that is important for all Christians to know and understand. Rich Mullins’ song Creed is probably the way that many Evangelicals most know the creed. And I bet that many that know the song do not realize that it is actually the Apostle’s Creed.
Primal Credo is a good basic introduction to the Apostles Creed. It is not long (198 pages in paper, but I think it is closer to 100 pages of real content.) It would make a very good small group discussion with lots of discussion questions in each chapter.
The chapters are based on each line of the creed. So they are short chapters, dealing with small bits of theology at a time. The author is also from a non-creedal background so I think many Evangelicals will appreciate his background and point of view.
One of the things that I think is most important about the creed is that it is a universal statement of faith. Christians from very early (before the biblical cannon was finalized) were reciting the creed and using it to teach new Christians. Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox and Protestants all theologically support and many regularly say the creed as part of their worship.
Early in the book there is a statement from someone who says that Christians only really need to know the creed to understand what Christianity is all about. After having read hundreds of books on Christianity, the bible and theology I think this is probably more true that most theologians and pastors would like to admit. We as Christians often complicate things. The creed is a good way to uncomplicate them.
Here is a copy of the creed if you do not know it.
I believe in God, the Father almighty, 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 into hell; on the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty; from there he will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.