The Apostles Creed
"I believe in God the Father Almighty,
Maker of heaven and earth.
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 in the Holy Ghost;
the holy catholic (i.e. "universal" see below) Church;
the communion of saints;
the forgiveness of sins;
the resurrection of the body;
and the life everlasting. AMEN."
The Apostles Creed embodies the central or essential doctrines of the Christian faith. Absent is any discussion of forms of baptism, spiritual gifts, eschatology, church membership, and other peripheral issues. As important as these and other secondary issues and doctrines are, adherence to any particular position or teaching on them is not essential for eternal salvation. Likewise, the Creed does not address repentance as a prerequisite for salvation or the role that good works play in the life of a believer. (Just to be clear, our salvation is dependent on Jesus Christ and His sacrifice alone. I often say "Christians don't work to get saved, we work because we're saved.")
While the Apostles Creed embodies the non-negotiable beliefs of the faith, it should be noted that an over emphasis on or an abandonment of any number of the non-essential beliefs and practices can lead to corrupted even cultic theology. However, the Apostles Creed provides a good starting point when examining doctrinal beliefs that are crucial in examining if teachers, churches, or even entire denominations or fellowships are orthodox or aberrant.
NOTE on the use
of "catholic" in The Apostles Creed:
referring to the Roman Catholic/papal system.
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