Modern Christians have often hesitated to embrace the ancient creeds because of our “nothing but the Bible” tradition. In What Christians Ought to Believe Michael Bird opens our eyes to the possibilities of the Apostle’s Creed as a way to explore and understand the basic teachings of the Christian faith.
Bringing together theological commentary, tips for application, and memorable illustrations, What Christians Ought to Believe summarizes the basic tenets of the Christian faith using the Apostle’s Creed as its entryway. After first emphasizing the importance of creeds for the formation of the Christian faith, each chapter, following the Creed’s outline, introduces the Father, the Son, and the Spirit and the Church. An appendix includes the Apostles’ Creed in the original Latin and Greek.
What Christians Ought to Believe is ideally suited for both the classroom and the church setting to teach beginning students and laypersons the basics of what Christians ought to affirm if they are to be called Christians.
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About the Author
Michael F. Bird is Academic Dean and lecturer in theology at Ridley College in Melbourne, Australia. He is the author of Jesus and the Origins of the Gentile Mission, The Saving Righteousness of God, Evangelical Theology, Romans (Story of God Bible Commentary Series), The Gospel of the Lord: How the Early Church Wrote the Story of Jesus, and editor of The Apostle Paul: Four Views. He also runs a popular theological studies blog called “Euangelion” and can be followed on twitter @mbird12.
Table of ContentsChapter 1: The Creedal Imperative for Bible Believers * Why Creeds? * The Ecumenical Creeds * Canon and Creed * Do We Need Creeds? Chapter 2: Believing in the Father * Faith * God the Father * Creator and Creation Chapter 3: Believing in the Son * Jesus Christ, the Son of God * The Virgin Conception * Suffered under Pontius Pilate * The Death of Jesus * The Descent of Jesus * The Resurrection of Jesus * The Ascension of Jesus * The Session of Jesus * The Return of Jesus Chapter 4: Believing in the Spirit and Belonging to the Church * The Holy Spirit * The Church Communion * The Forgiveness of Sins * The Resurrection and Eternal Life Appendix: Apostles’ Creed Synopsis
What People are Saying About This
The Apostles’ Creed is chiseled in stone in the chapel of Beeson Divinity School, and every candidate for admission is asked to write an essay on it. Thank you, Michael Bird, for a fresh exposition of this classic expression of our Christian faith. Thank you for reminding us of what too many Protestants, evangelicals no less than liberals, have forgotten: Creeds matter! Timothy George, founding dean of Beeson Divinity School of Samford University and general editor of the Reformation Commentary on Scripture
You know what I love about Michael? He writes in a colorful, accessible, and engaging way even though he is a scholar of epic proportions; he writes to regular people like me. I’m going to take the Staff of Transformation Church through What Christians Ought To Believe and I will use it introduce new Christians to the faith. Derwin L. Gray, Lead Pastor Transformation Church, author of The High Definition Leader
We all have a tradition through which we read Scripture, and Michael Bird argues that the Apostle’s Creed ought to be that tradition. Far from competing with the Bible, this ancient summary of the faith is an aid in rightly understanding the Bible. Bird approaches the creed as a syllabus for teaching basic Christian belief, and like the experienced professor that he is, guides his readers through the creed by highlighting the contours of the narrative and the convictions of the faith. Mike’s books have been a constant source of encouragement for me, and in this one, the Bird soars high in showing the sweeping narrative of Scripture and the core beliefs that emerge from it. I’m grateful that because of this book many will be able to say with more conviction and clarity: 'I believe.' Jeremy Treat, Pastor at Reality LA; professor at Biola University; author of The Crucified King
The genius of this book is the way in which it makes profound truth a pleasure to read. The general reader will be both engaged and richly encouraged by Bird’s winsome exploration of the Apostle’s Creed. His direct and even chatty style makes you feel as if you are visiting an ancient Cathedral in the company of a friendly and yet knowledgeable tour guide. I would commend What Christians Ought to Believe to study groups and to individual Christians looking to deepen not just their knowledge of the Christian faith but their knowledge of the Triune God. Rev Dr. Michael P Jensen, St Mark’s Anglican Church, Sydney
Michael Bird has done a huge favor for those whose traditions need to be reacquainted with the Apostles’ Creed as more than a pedantic statement. He uses the creed as it was intended to be used – to teach and form Christians in the living way of Jesus! Well-researched and engagingly written, Bird’s volume will prove valuable in both church and academy, for those considering Christian faith as well as seasoned saints. His wit, clarity, and scholarship reflect the inherent winsomeness of the theological task and of a creed-contoured faith. I’m already looking for ways to use it. Don J. Payne, Associate Professor of Theology and Christian Formation, Denver Seminary
What Christians Ought to Believe is more than a clear, concise exposition of the essential tenets of faith informed by the very best of biblical and theological scholarship. With deep-rooted evangelical conviction and his trademark wit, Professor Bird also makes a compelling case that even committed biblicists can appreciate the beauty, instructional value, and fidelity to Scripture found in the ancient creed. Rhyne R. Putman, Assistant Professor of Theology and Culture, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary