Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.

Faith in the Faith: Using the Apostles’ Creed as an Outline for Discipleship

A Live Online Course with Stan Gale

Wednesdays, April 20 – June 29, 3pm – 4pm

Preview

Summary
Christ’s shepherds are instructed to equip the saints toward “unity in the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God” (Eph. 4:12-13). Elsewhere, Paul describes the mandate as rooting and building up in Christ, establishing in the faith (Col. 2:7). In both places, the goal is to protect Christ’s disciples from spiritual harm (Eph. 4:14; Col. 2:8) and foster their spiritual maturity. A syllabus for this basic instruction in the faith can be found in the Apostles’ Creed.

Registration
Please fill out the form at the bottom of this page if you are interested in joining the class.

Rationale
Children display a wonderful naivety to life – trusting, unassuming, authentic. Jesus held up childlike faith as the posture for entrance into the kingdom of God. Challenging worldly conceptions of greatness, Jesus beckoned a child to Himself and said: “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 18:3–4).

While a child’s naivety can be endearing, it can also be endangering. Children can be unguarded and easily led astray.

The same is true of God’s children. Disciples are to be trained to be discerning, to watch their step and guard their ways. They are to be taught not to follow strangers but to listen to the voice of their Shepherd and follow Him. They are not to believe everything that sounds pious but to test the teaching to see if it is of God. With the milk and meat of God’s Word they become skilled in righteousness through constant practice.

That God’s children may not be deceived with “persuasive words” (Col. 2:4), they are to be rooted and built up in Christ and established in the faith (Col. 2:6). Paul describes the goal of such teaching as mature manhood, defined as the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ (Eph. 4:11-14; cf. Eph. 2:20-22).

The faith of which Paul speaks is the body of teaching that promotes knowledge of the Son of God. The reference is not faith but the faith, the good deposit entrusted to the church. The apostle assigns this training responsibility to those Christ raises up to shepherd the flock under their care (Acts 20:28).

A syllabus for introduction to the rudiments of the Christian faith can be found in the Apostles’ Creed. The Creed outlines the Bible’s teaching. The subject is the faith and the centerpiece is the Christ.

The Apostles’ Creed divides into three sections, addressing the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit respectively. But its emphasis is not so much the Trinity as it is that salvation is Trinitarian – grounded in the saving purpose of God the Father, gained through Christ His Son, and granted by the Spirit of the risen Christ. The Creed lays all the glory of salvation at the feet of God alone.

The core of the Creed is unfurled in the center section that addresses the person and work of Jesus Christ, commanding more lines than the other two sections combined. The Creed begins by holding up the true and eternal God. Jesus is the Son given by the Father. The Spirit is the conveyor of Christ’s accomplished work for the church. But the beating heart, the engine of salvation is Jesus Christ, God incarnate to save. The Creed serves as a primer to the gospel of the Kingdom.

Course Description

This course is intended for pastors and ministry leaders to introduce them to the design and declarations of the Apostles’ Creed as basic to the faith, with an eye to establishing others on its firm biblical foundation.

Format
This course will be limited to 12 participants and held over Zoom for a period of six biweekly, one hour sessions (April 20, May 4 & 18, June 1, 15 & 29). Each session will include guided discussion from reading assignments and workbook preparation.

Materials
Required for the course will be The Christian’s Creed: Embracing the Apostolic Faith (Reformation Heritage Books, 2018) and The Christian’s Creed Workbook (Waxed Tablet Publications, 2020). Both books are by Stanley D. Gale and can be purchased through Amazon.

Outline

Session One: Confessing the Faith (April 20
This session explores the structure and flow of the Apostles’ Creed as an expression of basic Christian faith

  • Read The Christian’s Creed Introduction and Chapter One (pages 1-22)
  • Complete the Workbook pages 6-12

Session Two: I Believe in God (May 4)
This session examines the biblical God confessed in the Creed.

  • Read The Christian’s Creed Chapter Two and Chapter Three (pages 23-52)
  • Complete the Workbook pages 18-28

Session Three: Who Do You Say I Am? (May 18)
This session examines the person and humiliation of Christ.

  • Read The Christian’s Creed Chapter Four and Chapter Five (pages 53-86)
  • Complete the Workbook pages 29-40

Session Four: The Spirit of the Risen Christ (June 1)
This session examines the resurrection, reign, and return of Christ, as well as the role of the Holy Spirit in Christ’s mission.

  • Read The Christian’s Creed pages Chapter Six and Chapter Seven (87-122)
  • Complete the Workbook pages 41-51

Session Five: Forgive One Another as I Have Forgiven You (June 15)
The session examines Christ’s church as an incubator and outpost of His Kingdom for making disciples.

  • Read The Christian’s Creed Chapter Eight and Chapter Nine (pages 123-157)
  • Complete the Workbook pages 52-61 

Session Six: The Christian Hope (June 29)
This Session examines the crescendo of the Creed and practical implications for daily living as we await the Blessed Hope.

  • Read The Christian’s Creed Chapter Ten and Conclusion (pages 158-177)
  • Complete the Workbook pages 62-68

Missed Class Policy. For the session you miss, read the assigned pages in The Christian’s Creed and complete the respective sections in the Workbook on your own. If you have any questions, you’re welcome to connect with me to discuss them. Come prepared by doing the assignments for the next session.

Outcomes

  • Each participant will become acquainted with the biblical underpinnings for the declarations of the Apostles’ Creed.
  • Each participant will become familiar with the Apostles’ Creed as a template for rooting and building up others in Christ and establishing them in the faith.
  • Each participant will be equipped to use the course materials with the intention of taking others through them.

Stan Gale is a member of the Board of Overseers for the Fellowship of Ailbe, writer of “Rooted in Christ,” a weekly column on the Ailbe website, a pastor for over 30 years, and author of several books on the Christian faith.

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