In more depth
The Reformed Churches of New Zealand hold to the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as the inspired and infallible word of God. We confess that these Scriptures, the Old and New Testaments, fully contain the will of God, and that whatever we ought to believe for salvation is sufficiently taught in them. Our creeds and confessions, which are summaries of biblical teaching, provide summaries of what we believe the Bible teaches so that it may be clear for all.
Creeds and confessions are useful in a number of ways. They assist in answering the question, “What do the Reformed churches believe or teach?” They provide a common standard, uniting the members of our churches in a common confession. They also provide a standard for discipline for all the office-bearers in the church, and enable the church to guard its members from false doctrine and to maintain the purity of the truth taught by its members (2 Timothy 1:13,14).
Our churches have adopted the following creeds and confessions, which are derived from and always subject to the teaching of the Bible.
This Creed is called the Apostles’ Creed, not because it is a production of the apostles themselves, but because it contains a brief summary of their teachings. It sets forth their doctrine, as has been well said, “in sublime simplicity, in unsurpassable brevity, in beautiful order, and with liturgical solemnity.” In its present form it is of no later date than the fourth century. More than any other creed of Christendom, it may justly be called an ecumenical symbol of faith.I. I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth. II. And in Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son, our Lord; III. Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary; IV. Suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, dead, and buried; He descended into hell; V. The third day He rose again from the dead; VI. He ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; VII. From thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. VIII. I believe in the Holy Spirit. IX. I believe a holy catholic Church, the communion of saints; X. The forgiveness of sins; XI. The resurrection of the body; XII. And the life everlasting.
The Nicene Creed, also called the Nicaeno-Constantinopolitan Creed, is a statement of the orthodox faith of the early Christian Church, in opposition to certain heresies, especially Arianism. These heresies disturbed the Church during the fourth century, and concerned the doctrine of the Trinity and of the person of Christ. Both the Greek, or Eastern, and the Latin, or Western, Church held this Creed in honor, though with one important difference. The Western Church insisted on the inclusion of the phrase and the Son (known as theFilioque) in the article on the procession of the Holy Spirit, which phrase to this day is repudiated by the Eastern Church. Though in its present form this Creed does not go back to the Council of Nicea (325 A.D.), nor to the Council of Constantinople (381 A.D.), as was erroneously held until recent times, it is in substance an accurate and majestic formulation of the Nicene faith.
______________________________________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 and 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 sitteth on the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again, with glory, to judge the living and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end. And I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of life; who proceedeth from the Father and the Son; who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; who spake 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.
This Creed is named after Athanasius (293-373 A.D.), the champion of orthodoxy over against Arian attacks upon the doctrine of the Trinity. Although Athanasius did not write this Creed and it is improperly named after him, the name persists because until the seventeenth century it was commonly ascribed to him. Another name for it is the Symbol Quicunque, this being its opening word in the Latin original. Its author is unknown, but in its present form it probably does not date back farther than the sixth century. It is not from Greek Eastern, but from Latin Western origin, and is not recognized by the Greek Church today. Apart from the opening and closing sentences, this symbol consists of two parts, the first setting forth the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity (3-28), and the second dealing chiefly with the incarnation and the two natures doctrine (29-43). This Creed, though more explicit and advanced theologically than the Apostles’ and the Nicene Creeds, cannot be said to possess the simplicity, spontaneity, and majesty of these. For centuries it has been the custom of the Roman and Anglican Churches to chant this Creed in public worship on certain solemn occasions.
_____________________1. Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the catholic faith; 2. Which faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly. 3. And the catholic faith is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; 4. Neither confounding the persons, nor dividing the substance. 5. For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son and another of the Holy Spirit. 6. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit is all one, the glory equal, the majesty co-eternal. 7. Such as the Father is, such is the Son and such is the Holy Spirit. 8. The Father uncreate, the Son uncreate, and the Holy Spirit uncreate. 9. The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the Holy Spirit incomprehensible. 10. The Father eternal, the Son eternal, and the Holy Spirit eternal. 11. And yet they are not three eternals, but one eternal. 12. As also there are not three uncreated nor three incomprehensibles, but one uncreated and one incomprehensible. 13. So likewise the Father is almighty, the Son almighty, and the Holy Spirit almighty; 14. And yet they are not three almighties, but one almighty. 15. So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God; 16. And yet they are not three Gods, but one God. 17. So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son Lord, and the Holy Spirit Lord; 18. And yet they are not three Lords, but one Lord. 19. For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity to acknowledge every person by himself to be God and Lord; 20. So are we forbidden by the catholic religion to say: There are three Gods or three Lords. 21. The Father is made of none, neither created nor begotten. 22. The Son is of the Father alone; not made nor created, but begotten. 23. The Holy Spirit is of the Father and of the Son; neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding. 24. So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Spirit, not three Holy Spirits. 25. And in this Trinity none is afore, nor after another; none is greater, or less than another. 26. But the whole three persons are co-eternal, and co-equal. 27. So that in all things, as aforesaid, the Unity in Trinity and the Trinity in Unity is to be worshipped. 28. He therefore that will be saved must thus think of the Trinity. 29. Furthermore it is necessary to everlasting salvation that he also believe rightly the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. 30. For the right faith is that we believe and confess that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and man. 31. God of the substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds; and made of the substance of His mother, born in the world. 32. Perfect God and perfect man, of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting. 33. Equal to the Father as touching His Godhead, and inferior to the Father as touching His manhood. 34. Who, although He is God and man, yet He is not two, but one Christ. 35. One, not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh, but by taking of the manhood into God. 36. One altogether, not by the confusion of substance, but by unity of person. 37. For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one man, so God and man is one Christ; 38. Who suffered for our salvation, descended into hell, rose again the third day from the dead; 39. He ascended into heaven, He sitteth on the right hand of the Father, God Almighty; 40. From thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. 41. At whose coming all men shall rise again with their bodies; 42. And shall give account of their own works. 43. And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting, and they that have done evil into everlasting fire. 44. This is the catholic faith, which except a man believe faithfully, he cannot be saved.