Today we Christians are a part of a family whose roots extend back to the time of Christ. So often we modern Christians forget that there has been 2000 years of Christian church history. Since the time of Christ, there has been teaching, preaching and discussion, clarifying and distilling the elements of what the Christian Church believes into clear, concise statements. Those statements have been assembled into what are now known as the three ecumenical (universal) creeds: The Apostles’ Creed, The Nicene Creed, and The Athanasian Creed.
Even though it can seem like reciting the creeds together in worship is something old and out-of-touch, it really is a relevant practice for us today. The creeds are important because they help us navigate our way through the larger story of God. They provide a summary of what Christians should know and believe from the Bible. Theologian J. I. Packer says, “The hundred word Apostles’ Creed is the simplified road map, ignoring much but enabling you to see at a glance the main points of Christian belief.”
The essentials give us a foundation to build our life upon. What we believe about God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit shapes and influences how we live and how we see the rest of the world:
- God is the Creator of all things, so I should care for his creation.
- Jesus died for my sin, so I must live for Him and share my faith with others.
- God created us to live in community, so I need the church.
Creeds in Modern Worship
Along with using the creeds as they are and speaking them together in unison, songs can fill in for the creed. There are several hymns that are simply the creed set to verse and can fully replace the creeds in the service. Modern worship songs tend to be less complete in their content of the whole creed, but there are songs that highlight elements of what we believe about God. Modern worship songs are less of a replacement for the creed and more of an exploration of various parts of the creeds.
Confession of Faith Hymns
- We All Believe in One True God
- Holy God We Praise Thy Name
- Te Deum – This is sung as a part of the order of Matins. This version isn’t a hymn, but a chant. “We all believe in One True God” is based on the Te Teum.
Modern Worship Songs
Strong Confession of Faith songs
- All Because of Jesus – While at first glance, its focus is the second article of the creed, it has references to the first article/God the Father as well (“Maker of Heaven and of Earth,” “Author of all eternity,” and others)
- Glorious Day – Actually, it should be listed as a hymn because the text is straight from the hymn “One Day.” However, since Casting Crowns recorded it with a new melody, it has gained in popularity. It covers the second article of the Apostles’ Creed (about Jesus) quite thoroughly.
- Bless the Lord: God the Father, Son and Spirit
- Famous One: Creation, God the Father
- Glory to God Forever: Creation, God’s Sovereignty
- How Deep the Father’s Love for Us: Sacrifice, God’s Love
- Our God: Jesus, Power of God
- What a Savior: Sacrifice, Atonement
- Wonderful Maker: Creation, God the Father
What have you used?
What songs, resources and tools have you used as a confession of faith? Share them in the comments!