This next line in the Apostles’ or Nicene Creed is one that gets confusing especially for Protestants. I know it was for me when I started attending a Protestant church in Miami and they recited the creed every Sunday. Why were we saying we believed in the “Catholic Church”?
The Apostles’ Creed cont. (part 6)
I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.Apostles’ Creed
There are 4 adjectives there describing the church. Let’s take them one at a time.
If you are born again, you have the Holy Spirit in your heart. That connects you to every other born again Christian in the world! You are part of God’s family of believers — you are a Child of God — adopted into the Church — the Bride of Christ. Here are 2 past podcasts that explain these concepts further…
“Holy” means “set apart”, sacred, consecrated, sanctified, godly, righteous, saintly…
This is not referring to what is known as the Roman Catholic Church. I turn now to Matt Chandler of LifeWay.com for a clarification here…
When the Apostles’ Creed says “the holy catholic church,” it’s referring to the body of Christ to which all Christians everywhere over all time belong. The word catholic is translated from a Greek word, that means “according to the whole, or universal.” In saying the church is catholic, we’re affirming that all Christians everywhere are included in the communion of the saints. Therefore, the term catholic isn’t a reference to a specific denomination or to what we now know as the Roman Catholic Church. All Spirit-indwelled, gospel-believing, Jesus-exalting Christians are part of the holy catholic church.Matt Chandler, LifeWay.com
This simply refers to believing the teachings of the Apostles. What better way to explain this than to quote some of the Apostles:
Though not thought officially as an Apostle, Luke is the historian, a Greek physician who was the Apostle Paul’s companion through many of his missionary journeys. He wrote the Book of Acts of the Apostles — a historical account of the forming and growth of the early church.
42 All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer.
43 A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. 44 And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. 45 They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. 46 They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity— 47 all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.Acts 2:41-47 NLT
4 You are coming to Christ, who is the living cornerstone of God’s temple. He was rejected by people, but he was chosen by God for great honor.
5 And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are his holy priests. Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God. 6 As the Scriptures say,
“I am placing a cornerstone in Jerusalem,
chosen for great honor,
and anyone who trusts in him
will never be disgraced.”
7 Yes, you who trust him recognize the honor God has given him. But for those who reject him,
“The stone that the builders rejected
has now become the cornerstone.”
“He is the stone that makes people stumble,
the rock that makes them fall.”
They stumble because they do not obey God’s word, and so they meet the fate that was planned for them.
9 But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.
10 “Once you had no identity as a people;1 Peter 2:4-10 NLT
now you are God’s people.
Once you received no mercy;
now you have received God’s mercy.”
27 All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it. 28 Here are some of the parts God has appointed for the church:
first are apostles,
second are prophets,
third are teachers,
then those who do miracles,
those who have the gift of healing,
those who can help others,
those who have the gift of leadership,
those who speak in unknown languages.
29 Are we all apostles? Are we all prophets? Are we all teachers? Do we all have the power to do miracles? 30 Do we all have the gift of healing? Do we all have the ability to speak in unknown languages? Do we all have the ability to interpret unknown languages? Of course not! 31 So you should earnestly desire the most helpful gifts.1 Corinthians 12:27-31 NLT
This past podcast goes into more detail on the Gifts of the Spirit.
What is the Purpose of the Church?
The church is not just a pretty building. The church is the believers — disciples — who united in Christ through the Holy Spirit come together to worship, praise God, serve one another and the less fortunate and most importantly, make more disciples.
Jesus told his disciples before He ascended into Heaven…
“I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”Matthew 28:18-20 NLT
The Great Commission couldn’t be any clearer. We can do this, folks!
Soli Deo Gloria — to God alone be the Glory!