The Creeds

“The Creeds are statements of our basic beliefs about God” (Book of Common Prayer, p. 851).

We will always have questions, but in the two foundational statements of faith – the Apostles’ Creed used at baptism, and the Nicene Creed used at communion – we join Christians throughout the ages in affirming our faith in the one God who created us, redeemed us, and sanctifies us.


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 to the dead.
    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.
(BCP, p. 96)
About the Apostles Creed:
Ancient formula of Christian belief in three sections concerning God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Although its authorship is attributed to the twelve apostles, opinions vary concerning its origin. Its title dates from the late fourth century, and it may be based on a shorter form of the creed in use at Rome in the middle of the second century. The Apostles’ Creed may be considered to be an authentic expression of the apostolic faith. It contains twelve articles, and is known as the baptismal creed because catechumens were traditionally required to recite it before baptism. It was the basis for the original baptismal formula. Candidates were baptized by immersion or affusion after their response of faith to each of the three questions concerning Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Apostles’ Creed is the basis for the baptismal covenant in the BCP (p. 304), and it is used in the Daily Offices. It may be used at the Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage, at the Burial of the Dead, and at the Consecration of a Church.

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,
    of one Being with the Father.
    Through him all things were made.
    For us and for our salvation
        he came down from heaven:
    by the power of the Holy Spirit
        he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary,
        and was made man.
    For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
        he suffered death and was buried.
        On the third day he rose again
            in accordance with 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 worshiped and glorified.
    He has spoken through the Prophets.
    We believe in one holy 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.
(BCP, pp. 358-359)
About The Nicene Creed:
It was first issued by the Council of Nicaea in 325, but in the form used today it is frequently thought to have been perfected at the Council of Constantinople in 381. There is no doubt that it was passed on to the church through the Council of Chalcedon in 451. It is commonly held to be based on the baptismal creed of Jerusalem, and it is often referred to as the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed. It states the full divinity of the Son, the second Person of the Trinity, in opposition to Arius. It also states the full divinity of the Holy Spirit, as denied by Macedonius. The use of the Nicene Creed in the eucharist (right after the gospel), in contrast to the use of the Apostles’ Creed in baptism, began in the fifth century in Antioch and became the universal practice in the church. The Nicene Creed is expressed in its original form of “We believe” in the Rite 2 eucharistic liturgy of the 1979 BCP, and this communal expression of faith is also presented as the first option in the Rite 1 eucharistic liturgy. The Rite 1 eucharistic liturgy also offers the “I believe” form as a second option (see BCP, pp. 326-327, 358).