Monday, June 25, 2007


Should individual churches be changing the wording of the creed, however small?

Last April, the wording of the Apostles Creed was changed during the worship service. The word “catholic” was changed to “universal." This was done in response to 3 visitors walking out of a worship service because of confusion over the word "catholic." The word “catholic” refers to the universal church, and is noted in the footnote of the hymnal.

Over the past year, when the creed is recited, about half of the church members still say "catholic" despite what is visible on the worship screens. The matter was brought up again in a recent church council meeting. It was voted on, and the word "catholic" will be used again during worship.

I must say that I agree that the word "catholic" should be used. This is simply because if individual churches begin changing words, it is not longer a catholic, universal creed. Should individual churches be changing the wording of the creed, however small?

To my knowledge there has only been one other change to the wording in recent history. It has to do with the phrase “He descended into Hell." This has been included and excluded and put into footnotes of the various Methodist Hymnals.
The change of the word “catholic” to “universal” would be a good change. The word “catholic” is outdated and confusing to modern readers. However, it should be a global change among the “universal” church and not single churches.

2 Comments:

  1. BruceA said...
    I'm not fully convinced that substituting "universal" for "catholic" is really a change, since "catholic" is just the Greek word for "universal". If it means the same thing, it's really just a translational difference.

    I'm not sure it is a matter that the universal church has decided in the first place. I attended a Lutheran college, and found that the Lutherans have a different wording for both the creed and the Lord's prayer than what the Methodists use.
    Anonymous said...
    Brett -
    I think you are overreacting. It's changing a word that no longer has the same meaning that was originally intended. It makes it better, not muddier. If it were several years ago, and I said I was gay, it meant happy. Today, it means something different. The meanings of words change over time. It is not the wording that needs to be preserved. It is the meaning. Therefore, it is a disservice to keep the original wording and allow the meaning to suffer.

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