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April 5, 2006

By Ray Pritchard
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I have an embarrassing confession to make, while I had heard of the Apostles’ Creed I didn’t know or at least I wasn’t aware I knew what it said. As it turns out the lyrics to Rich Mullins Creed are taken from this creed. So for those of you who like me don’t know what it says:

I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
The Creator of heaven and earth,
And Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord:
Who was conceived of the Holy Spirit,
Born of the Virgin Mary,
Suffered and under Pontius Pilate,
Was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended into hell.
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 catholic church,
The communion of saints,
The forgiveness of sins,
The resurrection of the body,
And life everlasting.Amen

So you may be asking why write a book on an ancient creed. Well Mr. Prithard sums it up in the first chapter:

There are three good answers to that question. First, it is the oldest and most widely accepted creed, recognized by all branches of Christianity-Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox. For two thousand years it has served as a succinct statement of the irreducible minimum of the Christian faith. Second, it offers a broad survey of Christian doctrine. It starts with the creation and ends with eternal life. That’s about as broad as you can get. As we will see, it is not comprehensive, but everything it covers is important. If you want to go back to basics, this is a good place to begin. Third, the Creed offers a radical challenge to skepticism of this generation. The people of the world doubt that we can be certain about anything. Over against that uncertainty we have the first two words of the Creed: “I believe,” and that is good for the soul.

Ray Pritchard does a wonderful job of dissecting and explaining the Biblical backing for each line of this creed. In a day and age were all kinds of beliefs get lumped into Christendom this is a refreshing introduction back into Biblical Christianity. This book never backs down from the truth, but at the same is still polite.

Another thing that Mr. Pritchard does well is to take topics that scholars have written complex volumes on and boils them down so that simple minded people like me can understand it. I would highly suggest this book especially if you are sacred of big words like doctrine and theology, because this book does a wonderful job of tackling both topics, even if it is only the bare essentials of the Christian faith, without at anytime getting over complicated.

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