Supports the Bible for priests and confessions

Confession

With a confession, Christians say what they believe.

Christians should profess their faith. They do that with creeds. The best-known creed is the “Apostolic Creed” or “Apostolicum”, which is spoken on Sundays in the service.

The apostolic is spoken in both the Protestant and the Catholic Church. In the Orthodox churches one speaks the "Nicäno-Constantinopolitan Creed" or "Nicänum". In the Protestant and Catholic Churches, the Niceneum is often spoken on major holidays.

The Nicänum, more precisely the Nicano-Constantinopolitanum, was the first great Christian creed. The basis was a text that was adopted at the Council of Nicaea in AD 325 and revised again in 381 at the Council of Constantinople. It is the creed that is still most widespread among the most diverse Christian churches around the world. The text of the apostolic or apostolic creed is shorter overall. It probably came into being later and was particularly prevalent in Gaul and spread from there. This is how it came to today's Germany and has established itself here.

In addition to these general Christian creeds, there are also special denominations. So it happens that one says in abbreviated form that someone is, for example, a “Lutheran” or “Reformed” denomination.

The Confessio Augustana, the Augsburg Confession, is one of the Lutheran confessional writings. This is, so to speak, the founding document of the Evangelical Church, because with it the reformers around Martin Luther applied to the Kaiser for recognition as an independent church. The catechisms of Martin Luther, the Great and the Small Catechism, are also part of it. Luther wrote the Great Catechism for pastors in order to support them in their teaching. Luther wrote the Small Catechism for private individuals, especially for schoolchildren. In the Reformed Church, the Heidelberg Catechism is particularly important, as it recorded the specifically Reformed doctrine in the 16th century. The Barmen Theological Declaration opposed the threat of seizure of the church by the Nazis.

Which confessions are valid in which regional churches in the Evangelical Church in Germany is different.

Further content and links

  • ask

    How do you deal with when you have difficulty with some formulations of the Creed?

    Answer: Many people today have difficulty with certain aspects of the Apostles' Creed, such as the virgin birth or the resurrection. It is important to consider whether you have difficulty with the specific formulation in the creed or with the teaching behind it. With the terms of the virgin birth and the resurrection, an attempt is made to make complicated connections in the Christian faith clear. The virgin birth illustrates how Christ can be “true man” and “true God” at the same time: He is therefore “begotten” by the Holy Spirit and born of a woman. The resurrection explains that Jesus, the righteous, did not simply die a senseless death on the cross, but that God raised him and made him right and that Christians can have fellowship with him. These two doctrines are part of the Christian faith.

    In order to gain access to this, one can reformulate these teachings, as confirmands often do in confirmation class. At baptism and confirmation, however, speaking the old words of the creed is part of it. It summarizes the Christian belief in the Triune God as it has been known for generations and generations. At the same time, the following applies: Nobody is excluded from the church if, after being baptized or confirmed, they no longer wish to speak the creed in certain situations. Every Christian is obliged to God alone with his conscience. Many Christians go through crises in which they quarrel with their faith.

  • discussion

    The dispute over the virgin birth has existed since the 19th century. During the "apostolic dispute" some pastors in Berlin refused to speak the apostolic on baptisms and other occasions. The theologian Adolf Harnack expressed understanding: An “educated” Christian would have to take offense at several sentences in the Apostolicum. He called for the formulation of a contemporary commitment. The Evangelical Upper Church Council, the governing body of the Evangelical Church in Prussia, decided to adhere to the Apostolicum, but not to want to turn “every single item” into a “rigid doctrinal law”. Since then there have been repeated calls for a new commitment to be formulated. However, there is no new creed for regular use in divine services, here the Evangelical Church in Germany is adhering to the Apostles' Creed.

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