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Page 248

Why would a sketch similar to the one on the previous page be found on the opening pages of this Bible doctrine series?

What core difference distinguishes a Christian church from a cult?

  • Gnosticism - A heresy which developed in the early Christian church that viewed the physical creation as evil and the spiritual, as good. It denied the Trinity and the two natures of Christ.
  • The entire Christian church (all Christian church denominations) confess to believe the dogmas expressed in the following three Christian creeds:

    • Apostles' Creed
    • Nicene Creed
    • Athanasian Creed

    The following paragraphs provide brief summaries of the history and content of each of these three creeds.

    Apostles' Creed
    (or Twelve Articles of the Catholic Christian Faith)

    The Apostles' Creed receives its title from being based upon the main teachings of the apostles, the gospel; the apostles did not actually write it, nor did each of the twelve apostles write one of its twelve articles, as some have falsely claimed.

    Each local congregation in the early Christian church developed brief statements of confession of faith for those joining the church to publicly confess and to which they all expressed agreement. The confessional statement of the church in Rome can be traced back to the second century. This confession provided the basic pattern for the Apostles' Creed, which was written in its present form and became established as a standard creed in the Western church by the eighth century.

    The Apostles' Creed presents a compact but extensive statement of the dogmas, the essential truths, of the Christian faith. It was written against the error of Gnosticism which denied God as the almighty Father and Christ as His only Son. The creed's statements of scriptural truth on these matters are very clear.

    The Apostles' Creed is divided into twelve brief creedal statements or articles. Article One speaks of God the Father and His creation; Articles Two through Seven, of God the Son and nine steps in His states of humiliation and exaltation; and Articles Eight through Twelve, of the Holy Spirit and His applying work.

    The term "catholic" in the creed means "universal or worldwide." It refers to the one, holy, worldwide church of true believers in the Christian faith. It does not mean the "Roman Catholic Church" denomination.


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