First of all, the words “Apostolic Church” are NOT found in the Apostles’ Creed. The Apostles’ Creed reads as follows:

“I believe in God the Father Almighty, the Creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord: Who was conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. HE DESCENDED INTO HELL. The third day He arose from the dead; He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from whence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.”

Regarding “the holy catholic church,” this does NOT refer to the “Roman Catholic Church.” The word “catholic” means “universal” and thus when one says, “I believe in…the holy catholic church” they are expressing their belief in the truth that “all those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ are members of the ‘universal church,’ which is the ‘body of Christ.’ Jesus spoke of this universal church in Matthew 16:18, “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH.” Peter had just confessed that Jesus was “the Christ, the Son of the living God” (in verse 16) and this belief in Christ IS THE ROCK upon which the church is being built. In Acts chapter two the church was born when the Holy Spirit came down from heaven to form all believers in Jesus Christ into the church. Since then every time one believes on Christ for salvation they are instantly added to the universal church. We see this truth in Acts 2:47, “And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.” So, “the holy catholic church” had its beginning on the Day of Pentecost and is continuing to grow as sinners are being saved.

Before we end this meditation, I feel compelled to address an error that is found in the Apostles’ Creed. I capitalized the words that form this error, for it is NOT true that Jesus “descended into hell” between the time He died and arose from the dead. Scripture is clear that Jesus’ BODY went into the grave of Joseph of Arimathea (see John 19:38-42) and His SPIRIT went to Paradise to be with His Father (see Luke 23:43-46). Three days later the body of Jesus rose from the dead (and was reunited with His spirit) and 40 days later He ascended into heaven (see 1st Corinthians 15:3-4 and Acts 1:1-3, 9-11).

This teaches us that we need to be extremely careful in adopting a creed, which is a “statement of faith” (a list of what one believes to be the most important doctrines of the Christian faith). One had best be absolutely certain that his “creed” is based on the truth of Scripture, for if there is but one error contained in their creed it casts doubt on the whole, and at the very least it can lead a soul into confusion and to misinterpreting other portions of Scripture. (289.1) (DO)