A creed is a religion in a public expression of personal and collective belief to which the speaker or the profess.

A creed has several functions:

  • There is recognition and expression of communion, which is given by this belief ( for example, when joint recitation as part of a church service).
  • It summarizes the main points of their doctrine together.
  • It includes a commitment to live according to that belief (eg, at the ordination of a church minister ).
  • It marks the central beliefs that divide a religion or belief against other religions or denominations.
  • It indicates the direction in which these beliefs, often set forth in the Holy Scriptures be understood (to be).
  • There may be others in certain combat situations to express the ultimate decision for your own, against the faith.

The word creed is a translation of Philip of Zesen from the word confession.


The explicit confession of their faith before God and the folk- community is central in Judaism since its inception. An old biblical credo of the Israelites is:

" A wandering Aramean was my father; he went down into Egypt, and remained there as a stranger with a few relatives on; but he was there to a big, strong, and populous. But the Egyptians mistreated us; they tortured us, and laid upon us hard drudgery on. When we cried to YHWH, the God of our fathers. YHWH heard our cry and saw our anguish, our toil and hardship. And YHWH brought us out with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with large, fearsome deeds, with signs and wonders. He brought us to this place and gave us this land; a land flowing with milk and honey. "(Deuteronomy 26.5 to 9 EU)

The commitment to the liberating historical acts of God became the common faith of Israel, who united the twelve tribes of Israel to be the chosen people of God, who knew only one God and worshiped (Joshua 24,18 EU). Much of the biblical historical tradition therefore has the character of confession and contains credo -like texts.

The " Shema Yisrael " ( Hear, O Israel ) became the main creed of our people, the liberation deeds of YHWH owes its existence in history:

" Hear, O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord alone! And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. "(Deuteronomy 6:4-5 EU)

This commitment includes the address to the congregation out the promise of God's covenant with his people: " YHWH is our God! ", Followed by the all members of the people Impounding commandment: " And thou shalt ... " This commitment responds to the first of the Ten Commandments which reads:

"I am YHWH your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of slavery. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. "(Ex 20:2-3 and Deuteronomy 5.6 to 7 EU EU)

This particular, collaborative and focused response of faith to the only God, who reveals himself to his people, has Judaism to Christianity and Islam "inherited".


New Testament

In the New Testament quotes Jesus Christ the Israelite Shema as his own creed, and indeed already in the form in which it is prayed in Judaism to this day by placing equal importance on the page the first commandment to love God the commandment of charity ( Mk 12 0.29 to 31 EU). Thus, the God of Israel is the only God they have to love with all his strength as himself confessing, praying and successions are Christian and the Jewish faith one for all Christians.

The early Christian confession is also proclaimed as a review of God's saving deeds and praise as his actions:

" This Jesus hath God raised up; for this we are all witnesses! So ... let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God, this Jesus whom you crucified, has made ​​the Kyrios and Christ. "(Acts 2.14 to 36 EU)

One of the earliest Christian creeds can be found in Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:3 ff EU:

"Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and was buried. He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve. "

Old Church confessions

Already from the second century are known Taufbekenntnisse. From these developed in the Western tradition, the ancient Roman and the Apostles' Creed in Latin, different in the Eastern tradition Greek-speaking variants, from which 325 emerged the Nicene Creed and the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed 381.

The Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed is accepted by virtually all Christian traditions as a binding creed, the Apostles' Creed by virtually all Western traditions.

Another in the Western churches widespread commitment is the Athanasian Creed, the Apostles' Creed and next Nicaeno - Constantinopolitanum is one of the three basic beliefs, for example, in the Evangelical Church in the Rhineland.

Denominational Confessions and Catechisms

In addition to the creeds for liturgical use, there are still Confessions of different denominations that are caught and delivered more in the form of dogmatic tenets, such as the Augsburg Confession and the Concord of the Evangelical Lutheran Churches, the Second Helvetic Confession and the Heidelberg Catechism of Reformed Churches, Catholic Tridentine creed, the confessions of the Baptist, the Dordrecht confession of the Mennonites, the confession Barmen Declaration of the Confessing Church, the Westminster Confession of Puritan communities, the account of the faith of the Federation of Evangelical free Churches in Germany, the creed of the Baptists of Johann Ludwig Hinrichs 1840 ( see figure) and the New Apostolic creed.

The first for the Catholic Church generally binding creed was in 1215 in the framework of the IV Lateran Council under Pope Innocent III. adopted. Another Roman Catholic creed is the creed of the people of God by Pope Paul VI ..

According to Lutheran understanding are creeds as guidelines of faith ( norma normata ) understood: They are indeed authentic, but are self- normalized by something else, namely by the Bible as norma normans ( = normative standard). You can only be legitimized so that they are covered by the self- proclamation of the Bible and preserve it. Reformed Confessions may also possibly lose their normative character contrast again. In many free churches confessions are not perceived as " standard ", but as currently valid expression of faith. A relevance for teaching decisions can get them with such determination hardly.