Posted April 24, 2019
An overture appeared at our last Synod that there be included in our Psalter "the three early-church Trinitarian Creeds: the Apostles' Creed, the Nicene Creed, the Athanasian Creed; with a brief historical introduction to each creed." The first and chief ground of the overture was that although we do receive these creeds according to Article 9 of the Belgic Confession, yet the Nicene and Athanasian Creeds are not easily accessible to our people and are thus also unfamiliar.
This overture was not treated at our last Synod because it did not come to the floor of Synod in the proper way. Whether it will appear at our next Synod remains to be seen. This overture shows a concern that the Nicene and Athanasian Creeds be better understood by our people and be more used by them, even as is the Apostles' Creed. This is certainly a legitimate concern. If we receive these three creeds as we acknowledge in the Belgic Confession, then we certainly ought to be familiar with them and use them. With the Apostles' Creed we are quite familiar. It is recited every Sunday in our worship service. It is incorporated in our Heidelberg Catechism and explained. We also find it in our Lord's Supper form. But concerning the Nicene and Athanasian Creeds we probably know very little. Perhaps we have never even read them. It is with a view to correcting this situation that we make a study of the Nicene Creed. Our purpose is to become more familiar with this creed that we may truly receive it as we confess.
The Nicene Creed is as follows:
I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by Whom all things were made.
Who, for us men for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary, and was made Man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered and was buried; and the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again, with glory, to judge the quick and the dead; Whose kingdom shall have no end.
And I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of Life; Who proceedeth from the Father and the Son; Who with the Father and Son together is worshipped and glorified; Who spake by the prophets.
And I believe one holy catholic and apostolic Church. I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins; and I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.
Before we turn our attention exclusively to the Nicene Creed we ought perhaps to say several things yet about the Apostles', Nicene, and Athanasian Creeds in general.