A creed is a statement of the shared beliefs of community in the form of a fixed formula summarizing core tenets.
The earliest creed in Christianity, "Jesus is Lord", originated in the writings of Saint Paul. One of the most widely used Christian creeds is the Nicene Creed, first formulated in AD 325 at the First Council of Nicaea. It was based on Christian understanding of the canonical gospels, the letters of the New Testament and, to a lesser extent, the Old Testament. Affirmation of this creed, which describes the Trinity, is generally taken as a fundamental test of orthodoxy for most Christian denominations. The Apostles' Creed is also broadly accepted. Some Christian denominations and other groups have rejected the [|authority of those creeds].
Muslims declare the shahada, or testimony: "I bear witness that there is no god but God , and I bear witness that Muhammad is God's messenger."
Whether Judaism is creedal has been a point of some controversy. Although some say Judaism is noncreedal in nature, others say it recognizes a single creed, the Shema Yisrael, which begins: "Hear, O Israel: the our God, the is one."
TerminologyThe word creed is particularly used for a concise statement which is recited as part of liturgy. The term is anglicized from Latin credo "I believe", the incipit of the Latin texts of the Apostles' Creed and the Nicene Creed. A creed is sometimes referred to as a symbol in a specialized meaning of that word, after Latin symbolum "creed", after Greek symbolon "token, watchword".
Some longer statements of faith in the Protestant tradition are instead called "confessions of faith", or simply "confession".
Within Evangelicalism, the terms "doctrinal statement" or "doctrinal basis" tend to be preferred. Doctrinal statements may include positions on lectionary and translations of the Bible, particularly in fundamentalist churches of the King James Only movement.
The term creed is sometimes extended to comparable concepts in non-Christian theologies; thus the Islamic concept of ʿaqīdah is often rendered as "creed".
Christian creedsSeveral creeds have originated in Christianity.
- 1 Corinthians 15:3–7 includes an early creed about Jesus' death and resurrection which was probably received by Paul. The antiquity of the creed has been located by most biblical scholars to no more than five years after Jesus' death, probably originating from the Jerusalem apostolic community.
- The Old Roman Creed is an earlier and shorter version of the Apostles' Creed. It was based on the 2nd century Rules of Faith and the interrogatory declaration of faith for those receiving baptism, which by the 4th century was everywhere tripartite in structure, following Matthew 28:19.
- The Apostles' Creed is widely used by most Christian denominations for both liturgical and catechetical purposes.
- The Nicene Creed reflects the concerns of the First Council of Nicaea in 325 which had as their chief purpose to establish what Christians believed.
- The Chalcedonian Creed was adopted at the Council of Chalcedon in 451 in Asia Minor. It defines that Christ is 'acknowledged in two natures', which 'come together into one person and hypostasis'.
- The Athanasian Creed is a Christian statement of belief focusing on Trinitarian doctrine and Christology. It is the first creed in which the equality of the three persons of the Trinity is explicitly stated and differs from the Nicene and Apostles' Creeds in the inclusion of anathemas, or condemnations of those who disagree with the Creed.
- The Tridentine Creed was initially contained in the papal bull Iniunctum Nobis, issued by Pope Pius IV on November 13, 1565. The creed was intended to summarize the teaching of the Council of Trent.
- The Maasai Creed is a creed composed in 1960 by the Maasai people of East Africa in collaboration with missionaries from the Congregation of the Holy Ghost. The creed attempts to express the essentials of the Christian faith within the Maasai culture.
- The Credo of the People of God is a profession of faith that Pope Paul VI published with the motu proprio Solemni hac liturgia of 30 June 1968. Pope Paul VI spoke of it as "a profession of faith,... a creed which, without being strictly speaking a dogmatic definition, repeats in substance, with some developments called for by the spiritual condition of our time, the creed of Nicea, the creed of the immortal tradition of the holy Church of God."
Christian confessions of faith
- The Sixty-seven Articles of the Swiss reformers, drawn up by Zwingli in 1523;
- The Schleitheim Confession of the Anabaptist Swiss Brethren in 1527;
- The Augsburg Confession of 1530, the work of Martin Luther and Philip Melanchthon, which marked the breach with Rome;
- The Tetrapolitan Confession of the German Reformed Church, 1530;
- The Smalcald Articles of Martin Luther, 1537
- The Guanabara Confession of Faith, 1558;
- The Gallic Confession, 1559;
- The Scots Confession, drawn up by John Knox in 1560;
- The Belgic Confession drawn up by Guido de Bres in 1561;
- The Thirty-nine Articles of the Church of England in 1562;
- The Formula of Concord and its Epitome in 1577;
- The Irish Articles in 1615;
- The Remonstrant Confession in 1621;
- The Baptist Confession of Faith in 1644
- The Westminster Confession of Faith in 1647 was the work of the Westminster Assembly of Divines and has commended itself to the Presbyterian Churches of all English-speaking peoples, and also in other languages.
- The Savoy Declaration of 1658 which was a modification of the Westminster Confession to suit Congregationalist polity;
- The Standard Confession in 1660 ;
- The Orthodox Creed in 1678 ;
- The Baptist Confession in 1689 ;
- The Confession of Faith of the Calvinistic Methodists of Wales of 1823;
- The Assemblies of God Statement of Fundamental Truths in 1916; and
- The Confession of Faith of the United Methodist Church, adopted in 1968
Christians without creeds
Many evangelical Protestants similarly reject creeds as definitive statements of faith, even while agreeing with some creeds' substance. The Baptists have been non-creedal "in that they have not sought to establish binding authoritative confessions of faith on one another". While many Baptists are not opposed to the ancient creeds, they regard them as "not so final that they cannot be revised and re-expressed. At best, creeds have a penultimacy about them and, of themselves, could never be the basis of Christian fellowship". Moreover, Baptist "confessions of faith" have often had a clause such as this from the First London Baptist Confession :
Similar reservations about the use of creeds can be found in the Restoration Movement and its descendants, the Christian Church, the Churches of Christ, and the Christian churches and churches of Christ. Restorationists profess "no creed but Christ".
Bishop John Shelby Spong, retired Episcopal Bishop of Newark, has written that dogmas and creeds were merely "a stage in our development" and "part of our religious childhood." In his book, Sins of the Scripture, Spong wrote that "Jesus seemed to understand that no one can finally fit the holy God into his or her creeds or doctrines. That is idolatry."
In the Swiss Reformed Churches, there was a quarrel about the Apostles' Creed in the mid-19th century. As a result, most cantonal reformed churches stopped prescribing any particular creed.sects of the Latter Day Saint movement, the Articles of Faith are a list composed by Joseph Smith as part of an 1842 letter sent to "Long" John Wentworth, editor of the Chicago Democrat. It is canonized with the "Bible", the "Book of Mormon", the "Doctrine & Covenants" and Pearl of Great Price, as part of the standard works of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Creedal works include:
- "Address" by Oliver Cowdery
- Wentworth letter
- Articles of Faith
- 1890 Manifesto
- Second Manifesto
- 1978 Revelation on Priesthood
- God Loveth His Children
- Handbook - a work unifying scripture and creed with ecclesiology and polity
- For the Strength of Youth
Others, however, characterize the Shema Yisrael as a creedal statement in strict monotheism embodied in a single prayer: "Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One".
A notable statement of Jewish principles of faith was drawn up by Maimonides as his 13 Principles of Faith.
Islamic creedThe shahada, the two-part statement that "There is no god but Allah; Muhammad is the messenger of God" is often popularly called "the Islamic creed" and its utterance is one of the "five pillars".
In Islamic theology, the term most closely corresponding to "creed" is ʿaqīdah
The first such creed was written as "a short answer to the pressing heresies of the time" is known as Al-Fiqh Al-Akbar and ascribed to Abū Ḥanīfa. Two well known creeds were the Fiqh Akbar II "representative" of the al-Ash'ari, and Fiqh Akbar III, "representative" of the Ash-Shafi'i.
Iman in Islamic theology denotes a believer's religious faith. Its most simple definition is the belief in the six articles of faith, known as arkān al-īmān.
- Belief in God
- Belief in the Angels
- Belief in Divine Books
- Belief in the Prophets
- Belief in the Day of Judgment
- Belief in God's predestination