A creed, also known as a confession of faith, a symbol, or a statement of faith, is a statement of the shared beliefs of a community (often a religious community) in a form which is structured by subjects which summarize its core tenets.
The word creed is particularly used for a concise statement which is recited as part of liturgy. The term is anglicized from Latin credo "I believe", the incipit of the Latin texts of the Apostles' Creed and the Nicene Creed. A creed is sometimes referred to as a symbol in a specialized meaning of that word (which was first introduced to Late Middle English in this sense), after Latin symbolum "creed" (as in Symbolum Apostolorum = the "Apostles' Creed", a shorter version of the traditional Nicene Creed), after Greek symbolon "token, watchword".
Whether Judaism is creedal in character or not has generated controversies. RabbiMilton Steinberg wrote that "By its nature Judaism is averse to formal creeds which of necessity limit and restrain thought" and asserted in his book Basic Judaism (1947) that "Judaism has never arrived at a creed." The 1976 Centenary Platform of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, an organization of Reform rabbis, agrees that "Judaism emphasizes action rather than creed as the primary expression of a religious life."
Others,[who?] however, characterize the Shema Yisrael as a creedal statement in strict monotheism embodied in a single prayer: "Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One" (Hebrew: שמע ישראל אדני אלהינו אדני אחד; transliteratedShema Yisrael Adonai Eloheinu Adonai Echad).
Many Christian denominations did not try to be too exhaustive in their confessions of faith and thus allow different opinions on some secondary topics.In addition, some churches are open to revising their confession of faith when necessary. Moreover, Baptist "confessions of faith" have often had a clause such as this from the First London Baptist Confession (Revised edition, 1646):
Also we confess that we now know but in part and that are ignorant of many things which we desire to and seek to know: and if any shall do us that friendly part to show us from the Word of God that we see not, we shall have cause to be thankful to God and to them.
Some Christian denominations do not profess a creed. This stance is often referred to as "non-creedalism". The Religious Society of Friends, also known as the Quakers, consider that they have no need for creedal formulations of faith.
1 Corinthians 15:3–7 includes an early creed about Jesus' death and resurrection which was probably received by Paul. The antiquity of the creed has been located by most biblical scholars to no more than five years after Jesus' death, probably originating from the Jerusalem apostolic community.
The Old Roman Creed is an earlier and shorter version of the Apostles' Creed. It was based on the 2nd century Rules of Faith and the interrogatory declaration of faith for those receiving baptism, which by the 4th century was everywhere tripartite in structure, following Matthew 28:19.
The Chalcedonian Creed was adopted at the Council of Chalcedon in 451 in Asia Minor. It defines that Christ is 'acknowledged in two natures', which 'come together into one person and hypostasis'.
The Athanasian Creed (Quicunque vult) is a Christian statement of belief focusing on Trinitarian doctrine and Christology. It is the first creed in which the equality of the three persons of the Trinity is explicitly stated and differs from the Nicene and Apostles' Creeds in the inclusion of anathemas, or condemnations of those who disagree with the Creed.
The Credo of the People of God is a confession of faith that Pope Paul VI published with the motu proprioSolemni hac liturgia of 30 June 1968. Pope Paul VI spoke of it as "a creed which, without being strictly speaking a dogmatic definition, repeats in substance, with some developments called for by the spiritual condition of our time, the creed of Nicea, the creed of the immortal tradition of the holy Church of God."
In the Swiss Reformed Churches, there was a quarrel about the Apostles' Creed in the mid-19th century. As a result, most cantonal reformed churches stopped prescribing any particular creed.
In 2005, Bishop John Shelby Spong, retired Episcopal Bishop of Newark, has written that dogmas and creeds were merely "a stage in our development" and "part of our religious childhood." In his book, Sins of the Scripture, Spong wrote that "Jesus seemed to understand that no one can finally fit the holy God into his or her creeds or doctrines. That is idolatry."
In Islamic theology, the term most closely corresponding to "creed" is ʿaqīdah (عقيدة). The first such creed was written as "a short answer to the pressing heresies of the time" is known as Al-Fiqh Al-Akbar and ascribed to Abū Ḥanīfa. Two well known creeds were the Fiqh Akbar II "representative" of the al-Ash'ari, and Fiqh Akbar III, "representative" of the Ash-Shafi'i.
^see Wolfhart Pannenberg, Jesus—God and Man translated Lewis Wilkins and Duane Pribe (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1968) p. 90; Oscar Cullmann, The Early church: Studies in Early Christian History and Theology, ed. A. J. B. Higgins (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1966) p. 66; R. E. Brown, The Virginal Conception and Bodily Resurrection of Jesus (New York: Paulist Press, 1973) p. 81; Thomas Sheehan, First Coming: How the Kingdom of God Became Christianity (New York: Random House, 1986) pp. 110, 118; Ulrich Wilckens, Resurrection translated A. M. Stewart (Edinburgh: Saint Andrew, 1977) p. 2; Hans Grass, Ostergeschen und Osterberichte, Second Edition (Gottingen: Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht, 1962) p. 96; Grass favors the origin in Damascus.
Creeds in the Making: a Short Introduction to the History of Christian Doctrine, [by] Alan Richardson. Reissued. London: S.C.M. Press, 1979, cop. 1935. 128 p. ISBN0-334-00264-8
Ecumenical Creeds and Reformed Confessions. Grand Rapids, Mich.: C.R.C. [i.e. Christian Reformed Church] Publications, 1987. 148 p. ISBN0-930265-34-3
The Three Forms of Unity (Heidelberg Catechism, Belgic Confession, [and the] Canons of Dordrecht), and the Ecumenical Creeds (the Apostles' Creed, the Athanasian Creed, [and the] Creed of Chalcedon). Reprinted [ed.]. Mission Committee of the Protestant Reformed Churches in America, 1991. 58 p. Without ISBN