As with Wesley Hill’s The Lord’s Prayer (in this same series), The Apostle’s Creed: A Guide to the Ancient Catechism by Ben Meyers contains stunning and captivating visuals which aid the engaging reading. Meyers here proves to be both theologically rigorous as well as creative, providing us with an accessible resource. The format is a line by line style.
Is the Apostle’s Creed Biblical? Important?
First things first. Why are we talking about an ancient creed that isn’t in our Bible? An anti-creed sentiment seems to be at home in many shades of evangelicalism since “all we need is the bible,” right?
Meyers blames part of the problem on modernity itself which tends to despise or dismiss the past. He observes that “today we are skeptical about the past. We are skeptical about anything that is merely handed down to us. We assume that the truest thing we could ever say would be something we had made up ourselves” (p. 9). We tend to have a preoccupation with modern or new things and thus almost automatically dismiss anything that’s “old.” We’re much “more comfortable with mission statements than with creeds” (p. 10). Meyers persuasively defends the Apostle’s Creed by noting that, contrary to popular belief, they are not “cold didactic summaries of doctrine. …the real centerpiece of the Apostle’s Creed is not a doctrine but a name.” And again, “At the center of the Christian faith is not an idea or a theory or even a vision of life but the name of a person, Jesus Christ. Our faith centers on personal attachment to him” (p. 37).
“Maker of Heaven and Earth”
In this section, Meyers affirms both the goodness of God as well as the goodness of God’s creation, even though fallen-ness seems to pervade God’s good world.
“Though many evil things happen in this world, Christians confess that we are still living in God’s good creation. It is a sick world that needs healing, not an evil world that needs destruction. That is the difference between Christianity and Gnosticism” (pp. 32-33).
Jesus as Coming Judge
My sole concern is the way the author deals with the line about Jesus as “the Judge of Heaven and Earth.” Meyers seems to espouse a universalistic view, a view which generally minimizes final judgment or finds a way to avoid it all together. The author talks about Jesus’ parable of separating the weeds from tares as having to do with Jesus separating the good from the bad within each person at his (Christ’s) return. I think this is quite a stretch as this parable seems to be about Jesus’ return in which he will separate God’s people from those who do not belong to God.
This series so far has not let me down; I recently finished Wesley Hill’s work on The Lord’s Prayer and am going through Peter Leithart’s The Ten Commandments. The aesthetics in all of these resources are phenomenal and well-done. The Apostle’s Creed by Meyers is a great resource in one’s library for both study (personal or sermon-prep) or for devotionals. The author goes to great lengths to showcase the importance of the creeds while also exposing inadequate reasons that believers look down on them and reject them.
Though I strongly disagree with the author’s universalism, this is still a resource I highly recommend and a powerful one at that. For anyone who wants to gain a better understanding on the Apostle’s Creed or understand why such a creed even matters, this would be a great place to start. Powerful, Christ-centered, and creative, this is a resource I highly recommend.
Thank you to Lexham Press for the copy!