Apostles’ Creed: Jesus’ descent into hell

Awhile back I changed one line in the Apostles’ Creed my congregation professes together almost every Sunday. It was the one that reads: He descended into hell. I changed it to the alternate reading he descended to the dead because it states more clearly the meaning behind this phrase.

Recently, I heard some flack about this change. So to help people better understand the background of this line I am referring them to an article produced by Christianity Today entitled: “Did Jesus Really Descend to Hell?”

Here is the start of it and invite you to read the rest…

In the Apostles’ Creed, there is a statement about Jesus descending into hell. Did he literally go there? Each Sunday, millions of Christians around the world recite the Apostles’ Creed, including that statement:

“I believe that Jesus … descended into hell.”

Yet a few years back at one Christian college, a series of chapel messages on the Apostles’ Creed had to omit this item, because none of the 12 professors of Bible and theology believed it. Actually the statement is not found in the earliest form of the Apostles’ Creed. It echoes Acts 2:31, and seems to be there simply to make the point that Jesus’ death was real and complete. Jesus went to hades, which in the Greek signifies the world of the departed—paradise for some, pain for others. When the Apostles’ Creed took its English form in the sixteenth century, “hell” meant hades as such, rather than the final state of the lost (which Jesus called gehenna), as it always is today. So, should those who accept the Bible as their supreme authority for belief hold to the Creed’s doctrine on this point?…More

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What suffering does…

benefits_of_sufferingOkay, I admit it…I hate suffering. I don’t like it when my body hurts or when someone doesn’t like me. I am truly a suck when it comes to suffering!

On the other hand, my faith points me to the Christ who suffered for me and who calls me into a life of self-denial, death and in the package is yes, suffering.

David Brooks, in a New York Times article, offers some great reflections on suffering in the midst of a society obsessed with happiness. It’s not a Christ-centered perspective on suffering, but I believe it takes us towards the theology of the cross where God meets us in the muck of life.

As we enter this coming week of Christ’s passion we encounter the God who came to live, suffer and die that we might have forgiveness, life and salvation through faith in this suffering One.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve found myself in a bunch of conversations in which the unspoken assumption was that the main goal of life is to maximize happiness. That’s normal. When people plan for the future, they often talk about all the good times and good experiences they hope to have. We live in a culture awash in talk about happiness. In one three-month period last year, more than 1,000 books were released on Amazon on that subject.

But notice this phenomenon. When people remember the past, they don’t only talk about happiness. It is often the ordeals that seem most significant. People shoot for happiness but feel formed through suffering…(read more)

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A weird but wonderful religion

christianity-is-weirdChristianity seems to exist in a sea of contradictions and controversy today. Many people have simply written it off.

In an article published by the Herald News of Melbourne, Australia, British comedian Milton Jones offers a humourous, but personal explanation of why the Christian faith is important to him.

To give you a flavour of his story take this as an example:

Yes, there’s superstition, fear and even abuse in the name of Christianity, but not everyone who wears the shirt of Melbourne Storm actually plays for the team, do they? In fact, anyone can buy a replica one and behave how they like. They might even actually support a rival team.

Read the full article here.

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