Foundation for Reformed Theology

Greetings!

Nearly eighty years ago, Karl Barth gave a series of sixteen lectures on the Apostles' Creed, which lectures were published as a book with the name Credo, which is Latin for "I believe," the opening words of the creed.

I have found this book very helpful, and it has occurred to me that perhaps it would be appropriate to share a few quotations from it.

"I Believe"

Credo ["I believe"] at the head of the symbol [that is, the creed] means first of all quite simply the act of recognition--in the shape of definite cognition won from God's revelation--of the reality of God in its bearing upon man. Faith therefore is a decision--the exclusion of unbelief in, the overcoming of opposition to, this reality, the affirmation of its existence and validity. Man believes. And therefore: man makes this decision, credo.

But what gives faith its seriousness and power is not that man makes a decision, nor even the way in which he makes it, his feelings, the movement of his will, the existential emotion generated. On the contrary, faith lives by its object. It lives by the call to which is responds. It lives by that, because and in so far as that is the call of God: credo in unum Deum ["I believe in one God"] . . . et in Jesum Christum ["and in Jesus Christ"] . . . et in Spiritum sanctum ["and in the Holy Spirit"].

The seriousness and power of faith are the seriousness and power of the truth, which is identical with God Himself, and which the believer has heard and received in the form of definite truths, in the form of articles of faith. And even the disclosure of this truth is a free gift that positively comes to meet the believing man. It is God's own revelation. In believing, man obeys by his decision the decision of God.

Karl Barth, Credo: A Presentation of the Chief Problems of Dogmatics with Reference to the Apostles' Creed, Sixteen Lectures Delivered at the University of Utrecht in February and March, 1935, translated by J. Strathearn McNab (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1936), reprint, with a foreword by Robert McAfee Brown (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1962), p. 2.

Dr. James C. Goodloe IVThank you for your interest in this excerpt. I invite you to follow this series on the Apostles' Creed.

For more readings on the creeds, see Topic 8 on the Foundation bibliographies:

Topic 8: The Apostles' and Nicene Creeds.

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Grace and Peace,

Dr. James C. Goodloe IV, Executive Director

Foundation for Reformed Theology

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