Maker of…wait.

“Good morning. Let’s read together this affirmation of our faith.

“I believe in God the Father almighty.
and in Jesus Christ his only-begotten son”

If you are an Apostles Creed person, you were slowly repeating, “I believe in God the Father almighty” and in your head you said, “maker of heaven and earth.” Unless you are Catholic, in which case you said “creator of heaven and earth.”

And so when I was leading us along and went from “almighty” to “and in Jesus Christ” you kind of stumbled. You looked from side to side to see who heard you. You wondered if anyone noticed.

No one did. We are only virtually a gathering community. But it made you think, didn’t it? The change in phrasing?

I’ve spent a bit of time looking for the reason of the appearance of “the maker clause.” I’m waiting for my big book of creeds (Pelikan, Credo, affiliate link) to help with that research. It interests me as a student of communication. I wonder what question called for that phrase to be added as an affirmation of belief.

Creeds are answers to questions. When faced with accusations of teaching what a group calls heresy, a person can say, ‘I believe…” and it helps. It affirms what that group holds in common.

Often we don’t think about what we hold in common. Even when we repeat the words – a pledge, a vow, a creed – we don’t think through what we are saying.

That’s why I’m using a creed that is an early form of the Apostles Creed. It makes those who are familiar stop and think. It takes the rest of us way back to core ideas.

Now.  Where were we? Right.

“I believe in God the Father almighty.
and in Jesus Christ his only-begotten son”

This is part five of my Creed series.

In case you’ve been wondering, Rich and Becky and Monte made it to the end of Rich’s ride last Friday.

4 thoughts on “Maker of…wait.

  1. Lois Foote

    Thanks, Jon. Amusing related anecdote: the young man under 23 whom I love the most attended a Catholic wedding a couple of months ago, & when the Lord’s Prayer was recited, he began the conclusion, “for Thine is the kingdom . . .” all by himself–pretty loudly. (at least he thought he was the only one) Embarassing, but completely understandable! No deep theological comment . . . sorry.


    1. Jon Swanson

      it’s funny, Lois, debts, trespasses. Luke’s version, Matthew’s version. Protestant, Catholic.

      That prayer has been pulled out and dressed up and then trips us when we don’t know the local customs. When it actually was a pretty good Jewish prayer.



  2. bill

    I’m curious if this is because if “God” is the maker/creator of Heaven and Earth, but the creed is also mentioning Jesus Christ separately – then there would be an issue of the concept of the trinity to deal with. I’m still trying to figure out where I stand on the issue, is Jesus God or is he a flawless version of what men should be? I’ve seen lots of heated debates on both sides of that fence, but if you’ve got a prayer where you’re separated “the God-Head” by talking about “God” and “Jesus” on two separate lines, then you’d have to make sure you give credit to who created things correctly. If you mess that up I’m sure there would be scriptures somewhere that folks from one side of the argument or the other would jump on like white on rice to let you know you’re wrong.

    Dueling Christians – one of the most entertaining facets of Christianity.

    ps – for what it’s worth, I am a creationist. Unitarian vs. Trinitarian, I’m not entirely sure quite yet, I’ve seen compelling arguments for both. But the danger of creeds is they can be a clever instrument that take our focus off preaching the Gospel to the lost and put it on fine tuning the specifics of our faith. I’m very much okay working this one out over time while still sharing the love and redemption of Christ to my family and friends who don’t have it in their lives yet.


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