Behind the Music: This I Believe

This I believe is a song developed from what Phillip Schaff calls The Creed of all Creeds, The Apostle Creed. Hillsong masterfully keeps the essence and historical significance of the Creed intact and makes it resonate as a song in our contemporary context. Which is, of course, what great song writers set out to accomplish. 

The Apostles Creed was most likely passed down from the Old Roman Creed. Creeds, throughout history, were declaratory statements in order to ensure the orthodoxy of the church and of new converts.  Creeds are simply Statements of Faith

Creeds are also used to defend against a specific heresy. For example, if you look at our statement of faith (creed), you notice that special attention is given to the family. This is because we, as a church, are calling Christians to live in submission to the Scriptures.  In our current setting, it is very important for all Christians to be reminded that God ordered  the family and calls us to live in harmony with His design for the family. 

The most well known example of a creed used to defend against heresy is the Nicene Creed. The short version of the story goes like this:  in the late third and early fourth century, a bishop name Arius was plaguing the church. He insisted that Christ was created by the Father and therefore was in a position of being less than the Father. He held to the following heretical logics. First, Arius believed the foundation of his system was the absolute uniqueness and transcendence of God. Only the Father existed in the beginning. Only the Father was unoriginate. Second, he believed the Son must be a creature. Third, Arius believed that any thing which came into existence must be subordinate to the Creator.  Fourth, as a creature, the Son must have had a beginning. Fifth, because of this, the Son had no direct knowledge or communion with the Father because of the Father's transcendence.  Sixth and last, because the Son was created and had a beginning, he must be liable to change and even sin. 

Following his logic to the logical conclusion, Arius believed that the Son did not in any way have the same nature or essence as the Father. However, the church fought back valiantly to preserve the deity of Christ. A great man by the name of Athanasius was at the helm of the fight, and in 325 AD, the church victoriously called out Arius' heresy using the Nicene Creed.

Below you will find the Apostles Creed next to the Nicene Creed.  I place them side by side so you can see how the Nicene Creed specifically and beautifully defends the deity of Christ. 

Apostles Creed

I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth

And in Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, our Lord

Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary

Suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, dead and buried; He descended into hell

The third day he rose again from the dead

He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty

From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead

I believe in the Holy Ghost

I believe a holy catholic church; the communion of saints

The forgiveness of sins

The resurrection of the body

And the life everlasting. Amen.

Note:  The phrase descended into hell most likely originated from the Eastern Church and was a colorful way to say death. This phrase has been greatly debated.

Nicene Creed

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 sits 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 proceeds from the Father and the Son; who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; who spoke 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.

The historical references in this post were taken from Early Christian Doctrines, Early Christian Creed and Historic Creeds and Confessions. Electronic ed. Oak Harbor: Lexham Press, 1997.

Set List for March 1

Marvelous Light | Author: Charlie Hall | Copyright: 2005 songs (Admin. by EMI Christian Music Publishing) sixsteps Music (Admin. by EMI Christian Music Publishing | Amazon Link

Bound for Glory  | Authors: Eddie Hoagland, Hank Bentley, Jon Guerra © 2014 HBC Worship Music (Admin. by Sony/ATV Music Publishing) Buy it on Amazon

This I Believe | Authors: Ben Fielding & Matt Crocker  © 2014 Hillsong Music Publishing (Admin. by EMI Christian Music Publishing) Buy it on Amazon

I Will Glory in my Redeemer | Steve and Vikki Cook | Copyright © 2001 Sovereign Grace Worship (Admin. by EMI Christian Music Publishing)| Amazon

We have also put together a Resurrection playlist that you can listen to throughout the series.