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okay, sooooo... i've just now realized that the nicene creed is not synonymous with the apostles' creed. i'm feeling a little dumb right now.

this was going to be a short little entry with no commentary -- i had been thinking about the creed [which one? hell, i don't know] and simply wanted to post it here, as a reminder to me and anyone else interested out in internetland. and now... now this. i feel so disoriented.

i grew up in the roman catholic church for seventeen years. and for seventeen years the nicene creed was recited each week. granted, none of it mattered much to me at the time. i didn't actually recite it. i would say it was more or less sort of happening around me.

but i've just now realized that i know the nicene creed pretty much by heart. which explains why whenever i've recited the apostles' creed since then, something has felt strangely amiss. i mean, the text is familiar -- it's not as if i'd never heard it before. but apparently i've never really figured out what was going on. until now. so much for being detail-oriented.

but now, i'm intrigued. however, i'm also tired. for now, my two biggest observations are 1) that the apostles' creed looks a bit like a cliff's notes version of the nicene creed, and 2) that i much prefer the "we"s and the "our"s of the nicene. of course, i'm probably biased, as i don't like change. even when i don't really know what's going on.

every site i've visited seems to have a slightly different version of each creed. is this the nature of the denominational beast, or simply the internet? at any rate, i'm posting what seem to be my recollections of each.


The Apostles' Creed

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
  creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.
  He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit
    and born of the Virgin Mary.
  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,
    and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
  He will come again 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 the life everlasting. Amen.


The Nicene Creed

We believe in one God,
  the Father, the Almighty,
  maker of heaven and earth,
  of all that is seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
  the only son of God,
  eternally begotten of the Father,
  God from God, Light from Light,
  true God from true God,
  begotten, not made,
  one in being with the Father.
  Through him all things were made.
  For us men and for our salvation
    he came down from heaven:
  by the power of the Holy Spirit
    he was born of the Virgin Mary,
    and became man.
  For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
    he suffered, died and was buried.
    On the third day he rose again
       in fulfillment of the Scriptures;
    he ascended into heaven
       and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
  He will come again in glory
    to judge the living and the dead,
      and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
  who proceeds from the Father and the Son.
  With the Father and the Son
    he is worshipped and glorified.
  He has spoken through the Prophets.
  We believe in one catholic and apostolic Church.
  We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
  We look for the resurrection of the dead,
    and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Posted on Thursday, May 19, 2005 at 11:12PM by Registered Commentermdog | Comments8 Comments

Reader Comments (8)

Protestant girl here. I only know the Apostles' Creed because of that Rich Mullins song. I am aware of the Nicene Creed's existence and that is was somewhat different from TAC. But I wouldn't have known it if it came up and bit me in the ass, seeing as how we never did creeds in my growing-up church. I mean, we're Protestants. If we start reciting stuff in unison, people might start to think that, horror of horrors, there's not much difference between us and the *eeeeevil* Catholics.

I mean, one even says the "holy catholic church!" OMG!! (clearly, they should have replaced our hymnals with dictionaries) But I suppose the random and blanket Protestant distrust of Catholics isn't really on topic. Yet another pillar of evangelicalism I'm thrilled to be free of.
May 20, 2005 at 12:46PM | Unregistered Commentermeegs
the apostles' creed i'm familiar with is slightly different (a word here or there) than what you have above, but pretty much it. the first time i recall reciting the nicene creed was at a catholic mass on the pueblo in nm when i was a sophomore in college on a missions trip over spring break. tried to memorize the thing 'cause it was so close but not quite to the ac.

for statistics sake, i grew up in a non-denom church that recited the apostles' creed, then lutheran (first lutheran brethren, college/now elca). my current church alternates its liturgy, so we do both on a regular basis.
May 20, 2005 at 02:05PM | Unregistered Commentermar
just fyi, protestant churches use both as well. And catholic simply means,"universal."

it's too bad contemporary churches don't use creeds as much. For almost 2 thousand years, millions and millions of people have recited creeds. there is good reason for it...
May 20, 2005 at 11:18PM | Unregistered Commenterpaul
maria. do you know about this?

your boirthday is tomorrow.
May 20, 2005 at 11:32PM | Unregistered Commenterrachel
indeed. my boirthday just got here, actually! rachel, i JUST SAW that that movie has been released. i didn't know anything about it; but it certainly explains why i've been getting so many hits for "unleashed+movie" lo these many months. sheesh.

also, i just FOUND my birthday package today. you are great.

paul - i believe meegs was being cheeky with her catholic comment. ;) do you or your wife know "we believe" by dan wilt? i think that would be a fantastic song to play.

i take it you're not free tomorrow night? :(
May 21, 2005 at 12:00AM | Registered Commentermdog
heh, i was gonna make a comment about the movie thing earlier today, but then got caught up at work.
May 21, 2005 at 12:41AM | Unregistered Commentermar
i just read this post... but before that I send you an e-mail and posted something for you on my blog.
May 21, 2005 at 08:29AM | Unregistered Commenterpaul
I too was raised Roman Catholic and I was a catechism honor student. I knew all the prayers. I was quiet and listened to my teachers. I looked positively angelic in my First Communion dress. I was sickening.

I don't remember learning (or being taught) the Nicene Creed, but I definitely learned the Apostles' Creed. I don't, however, remember the words 'almighty' or 'our Lord' in the version I learned.

I learned what I thought was the Apostles' Creed in Spanish, but now I realize (reading your post and reciting the prayer in Spanish) that it was actually the Nicene Creed. Hmmm. I guess I just never thought about it enough to question the "translation."
May 24, 2005 at 06:17PM | Unregistered CommenterAngie

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