The Apostles Creed or The Apostate’s Greed
11th May 2014
In January this year , John Dickson, co-founder of the Centre for Public Christianity and senior Anglican minister in Sydney, asked on Facebook, “Can someone with real Hillsong contacts please urge their brilliant songwriters to put the Apostles’ Creed to inspiring music. They’d be doing mainstream Christianity an enormous favour.”
At the same time he directly tweeted the same request to Hillsong. His appeal reached the ears of Cassandra Langton, Hillsong’s Creative Director, who tweeted her reply to John within 24 hours, “We shall have a go!!!”
This began a production process for Hillsong’s new song This I believe, sung at Hillsong campuses at the beginning of March and by over 17,000 women at Hillsong’s Colour Conference. Here are some of the lyrics sung from the song at the conference (though these are still being finalised at time of writing before ‘official release’):
I believe in God the Father
I believe in Christ the Son
I believe in the Holy Spirit Our God is three in one
I believe in the resurrection
That we will rise again For I believe in the name of Jesus
Ben Fielding, one of Hillsong’s leading songwriters, also heard John’s appeal. A month later, when the team were preparing to write, he suggested looking at the Apostles’ Creed. “We pulled it up and it was such an incredible text. We thought it would be amazing to be able to put music to it and give it new life.”
Ben felt that taking Hillsong’s platform and putting the words of the Creed to music to reach contemporary churches was an incredible opportunity.“In an age where there is so much division it’s powerful to declare something we all believe is true, emphasising our core beliefs,” says Ben. “I love anything that has the power to unify the church. Song does that. And so does this Creed, and it has for close to 1700 years.”
Ben feels his responsibility as a Christian songwriter. “The words we’re writing are becoming the liturgy and creeds of today. As the songs travel, we’re putting words in the mouths of the church.”
He reflects on the history of the Creed and also hymns which, for hundreds of years, have brought people back to core Christian beliefs.
Songs with biblical lyrics are the best, he observes. There is an awareness at Hillsong, Ben says, that their church is not isolated, but built off an incredible heritage of churches in Australia and the history of the Christian church.
In a similar way, Ben speaks gratefully about the interaction with John Dickson in the production of This I believe, and would like to see more ecumenical interaction, to enable the church to come together.“It’s such an enriching experience. It’s sad to think we wouldn’t be able to have that dialogue because of denominational barriers. Perhaps working on things like the Creed would be a great way forward, to open dialogue and engage on that level that we have in common.”
Nice one Ben….least it’s not Brian saying it, so it’s not quite as obvious, but you said it, a ecumenical initiative around a creed that is meant to preserve the truth, not dissolve it. When has Hillsong maintained and exalted the truth? Even in this latest project the creed has been watered down.I actually think in and of itself, it’s not bad as a contemporary song, but the gravity and weight of the creed is lost, drowned in the mantra of ‘we believe’ that becomes less and less convincing as the song drags on. (see video below)
Ben Fielding is sincere I’m sure, but listen again to his earlier statement, “Perhaps working on things like the Creed would be a great way forward, to open dialogue and engage on that level that we have in common.” Huh?
Ben how about picking up your bible. The creed is a basic summary of our beliefs, so what do we not have in common as Christians?
Shouldn’t this creed be enough? The church is not divided? The visible Church will always seem lost in argument and clouded by schism, but the invisible church is already united around our One Lord Jesus Christ…The Lord Jesus is to be our foundation.
Otherwise you end up with a Rick Warren version of common faith, so that even Moslems are committed brothers!? Oh that’s right Brian Houston reckons that Moslem’s already believe and worship the same God as Christians!
The Apostles’ Creed was based on Christian theological understanding of the Canonical gospels, the letters of the New Testament and to a lesser extent the Old Testament. Its basis appears to be the old Roman Creed. Because of the early origin of its original form, it does not address some Christological issues defined in the Nicene and other Christian Creeds.
It says nothing explicitly about the divinity of either Jesus or of the Holy Spirit. This makes it acceptable to many Arians and Unitarians. Nor does it address many other theological questions that became objects of dispute centuries later.
The first mention of the expression “Apostles’ Creed” occurs in a letter of 390 from a synod in Milan and may have been associated with the belief, widely accepted in the 4th century, that, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, each of the Twelve Apostles contributed an article of a creed
“This I believe” will be officially released and available to churches in July at the Hillsong Conference. Hillsong are also planning to release a new song for Easter, Calvary, which will be available for free download for all churches.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church gives the following English translation of the Apostles’ Creed. In its discussion of the Creed, the Catechism maintains the traditional division into twelve articles, the numbering of which is here added to the text.
- 1. I believe in God the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
- 2. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.
- 3. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary.
- 4. Under Pontius Pilate, He was crucified, died, and was buried.
- 5. He descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again.
- 6. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
- 7. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
- 8. I believe in the Holy Spirit,
- 9. the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints,
- 10. the forgiveness of sins,
- 11. the resurrection of the body,
- 12. and the life everlasting.
- I add the following presentation that shows the contrast between ‘We Believe’ and the powerful statements made in the Apostles Creed.
- It’s not what we believe, but who the Lord Jesus is that matters!!