Sunday, 13 May 2018

Faith of Our Fathers – Part 2

The local historian G.R. Balleine was also a clergyman, and in 1940, at the outbreak of the Second World War, he penned a series of 52 lessons around the Apostle’s Creed. Balleine being first a foremost a historian, there’s a lot of history there that I’ve never come across before, and I have studied church history quite a lot.

He’s also master of the pithy anecdote or illustration to bring something to life, which is why Frank Falle says the original history, flowing freely, is a better book to read that its more worthy revisions. Joan Stevens was a fair historian, but she could not write nearly as well as Balleine, who has an almost intimate chatty style.

I’m hoping to put some or all of this book online on Sundays.

Faith of Our Fathers – Part 2
By GR Balleine

How to use the Creed

(a) When we have digested these three warnings it still remains true that in the Creed we possess a brief statement of the historic Christian Faith of immense value and authority. The very fact that its growth has been so gradual, that it has been so often revised, gives us confidence that what remains is a survival of the fittest. We should use it to test our own beliefs, to find out whether we have wandered unconsciously from the historic faith of Christendom. Have we so added to the Faith, or perhaps subtracted from it, that the saints and martyrs would have difficulty in recognizing us as follow-Christians ?

In this Creed at any rate we are free from passing crazes of the moment, and tread on solid ground, the truths which Christians for fifteen centuries have been able to hold in common. When enthusiasts offer us some shibboleth of their own as necessary to our soul's salvation, it is sometimes sufficient answer to reply, " I do not find this in the Creed."

(b) It has also another use. The Catechism bids us, " Rehearse the Articles of thy Belief," and the old meaning of the word " rehearse " is worth remembering. " Herse " was the name for what farmers now call a " harrow," the toothed implement that turns over the soil to break it up and keep it fruitful. To herse a field meant to harrow it : to re-herse it, to harrow it again. "

Rehearse the Articles of thy Belief " means turn over again and again in your mind all that you believe so that nothing remains buried lifeless and inactive. The Creed is the harrow that rakes up in our memories one by one each separate article of the Christian Faith :-

The world new-framed, the Christ new-born,
The Mother Maid, the cross, the grave,
The rising Sun on Easter morn,
The fiery tongues sent down to save.

Truths need constantly turning over, if they are to be productive, and this we are intended to do every time we rehearse the Creed.

(c) In our own Church we put the Creed to yet another use. In the Middle Ages most of the Creed was repeated in silence, and only the last two clauses were spoken audibly. Our English Prayer Book orders it all to be " sung or said " aloud as a public proclamation to every one of what we believe. "Sung" is even put before "said." Where possible, it is suggested that we set it to joyful music. We must not be ashamed to tell out to others the faith that is in us. The Creed is our battle-cry, that we shout aloud for all to hear.

(d) We say the Creed to ourselves, to test our opinions and to turn over again in our minds truths that might other- wise remain half-forgotten. We say the Creed to our fellows, making open confession of what we believe to be the Truth. But above all we recite the Creed in the Presence of God, and so we make it an Act of Faith. " Lord, I believe. Help Thou my unbelief."

(e) For a whole year this course of lessons will keep us close to the greatest and most central truths of our Religion. May our own faith grow stronger and clearer. May we help our children, not merely to recite the Creed like parrots, but to understand it and believe it like Saints.

Metrical Version of the Creed.

In the Old Version of the Psalms. 1556.

Lo, my beloife and confidence is in the Lord of might,
The Father which all things hath made, the day and eke the night,
The heavens and the firmament and also many a starre,
The earth and all that is therein, which passe man's reason farce.
And in like manner I believe in Christ, our Lord, His Bonne,
Coequal with the Deity, yet Man in flesh and bone,
Conceived by the Holy Ghost His Word doth me assure
And of His Mother Mary borne, yet she a virgin pure.
Because mankind to Sathan was for sinne in bond and thrall,
He came and offered up Himself to death to save us all,
And suffering most grievous paine then, Pilate being judge,
Was crucified on the crease, and thereat did not grudge.
And so He died in the flesh ; but quickened in the spirite,
His body;, then was buried as is our use and rite.
His souls did after this descend into the lower parts,
A dread unto the wicked sprites, but joy to faithfull hearts
And in the third day of his death he rose to life againe,
To th'end He might be glorified out of all griefe and pains.
Ascending to the heavens hie, to sit in glory still
On God's right hand, His Father deare, according to His will.
Until the Day of Judgement come, when He shall come againe
With angels' power (yet of that day we all be uncertain)
To judge all people righteously, whom He bath dearly bought,
The living and the dead also, which He hath made of naught,
And in the Holy Spirit of God, my faith to satisfy,
The Third Person in Trinitie, believe I steadfastly.
The Holy and Catholike Church, that God's Word doth maintain,
And Holy Scripture doth allow, which Sathan doth disdain.
And also I do trust to have by Jesu Christ, His death,
Release and pardon for my sinnes, and that onely by faith
What time all flesh shall rise again before the Lord of might,
And see Him with their bodily eyes, which now do give them light.
And then shall Christ our Saviour the Sheepe and Goates divide
And give life everlastingly to those whom He bath tride.
Within His Realme Colestiall in Glory for to rest
With all the holy company of Saintes and Angels blest.
Books for Further Reading


B. F. Westcott. The Historic Faith.
G. A. Studdert Kennedy. Food for the Fed-up.
E A. E. Burn. The Apostles' Creed (Oxford Church Text Books).
E.C. S. Gibson. The Three Creeds (Oxford Library of Practical Theology).
A. A. McGiffert. The Apostles' Creed : its Origin and Historical Interpretation.
A. Boyd Scott. Nevertheless We Believe.


C. Gore. Belief in God.
J. M. Wilson. Christ's Thought of God.


C. Gore. Belief in Christ.
T. R. Glover. The Jesus of History.
J. H. B. Masterman Was Jesus Christ Divine ?

C. H. Robinson. Studies in the Resurrection.
J. Orr. Resurrection of Jesus.


E. H. Plumptre. Spirits in Prison.


H. B. Swete. Life of the World to Come.
J. P. Smyth. Gospel of the Hereafter.
H. E. Fosdick. Assurance of Immortality.
A. G. James. Personal Immortality.


H. B. Swote. The Ascended Christ.


H A. L. Humphries. The Holy Spirit in Faith and Experience.


B. Swote. The Holy Spirit in the New Testament.
 F. J. Hall. The Trinity.


F. Ballard. Father of All.


J. Clifford. Gospel of World Brotherhood.
T. Sykes. Challenge of Brotherhood.
A. S. Peake. Brotherhood in the Old Testament.


C. R. Gibson. The Stars and their Mysteries.
A. Giberno. This Wonderful Universe.


C. R. Gibson. The Great Ball on which we Live.
F. A. Kummer. The First Days of Man.


J. Paterson Smith. Our Bible in the Making.


H. B. Swete. The Holy Catholic Church.
C. Gore. The Mission of the Church.
Students and the Church (Student Christian Movement).

E. J. Bicknell. The Christian Idea of Sin.
J. Orr. Sin as a Problem of To-day.
H. B. Swete. The Forgiveness of Sins.

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