The Huffington Post was outraged when President Trump didn’t recite the Apostles’ Creed at President George H.W. Bush’s funeral.
The Washington Post was so scandalized it published multiple stories.
Even Snopes investigated to determine if the infamy could possibly be true.
Yet, depending on the version you read, the Apostles’ Creed poses some problems for many devout Christians.
Let’s review the creed from the classic Book of Common Prayer of 1662:
I believe in God the Father Almighty,
Maker of heaven and earth:
And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord,
Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost,
Born of the Virgin Mary,
Suffered under Pontius Pilate,
Was crucified, dead, and buried:
He descended into hell;
The third day he rose again from the dead;
He ascended into heaven,
And sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Ghost;
The holy Catholic Church;
The Communion of Saints;
The Forgiveness of sins;
The Resurrection of the body,
And the Life everlasting.
- The Gospel of John opens stating that Jesus is the maker all things, including heaven and earth. The creed says the Father. Since they are One, it may not be a contradiction. But, just saying …
- Did Jesus actually descend into hell? Where do we find this in Scripture? We don’t – so many modern versions of the creed have changed the affirmation to “descended to the dead.” But is this unchallengeable on the basis of Scripture? There are certainly other interpretations of 1 Peter 3:18-20 than the idea that Jesus “descended into hell” or “descended to the dead.” Should this be a doctrine all believers must accept?
- How about the holy Catholic Church? That has fallen out of many versions over the years, sometimes just dropping the capital C in Catholic to a lower case.
- The Communion of Saints raises questions of clarity. For Catholics, this suggests prayers to and with the dead are acceptable. But this contradicts strong biblical prohibitions against necromancy.
I’m not suggesting to you that these were matters being considered by Trump during Bush’s memorial service. Maybe he didn’t have his reading glasses on. Should anyone publicly read a liturgical document simply for the purposes of public show? Did any of these investigators think about asking the president or a member of his communications team why he didn’t recite the creed? Would a lip synch have made them happy?
I think we all know why these fake news sources attempted to humiliate President Trump. And it has nothing to do with their own reverence for the Apostles’ Creed, does it?
My guess, had Trump actually read the creed, is that someone like Jim Acosta would later have followed up and quizzed the president like this:
“Mr. President: At President Bush’s funeral, you were seen reading the following words: ‘Jesus descended to the dead.’ What did you mean by that?”
In other words, President Trump was damned by these haters whether he did or didn’t recite the creed. Am I right?
Maybe it’s better if we’re all true to ourselves and our own understandings – especially when it comes to spiritual and deeply personal matters.
I’m with Michael Brown on the whole sordid issue. It doesn’t bother me one bit that President Trump didn’t recite the Apostles’ Creed. Nor would it bother me if any other Christian or non-Christian, evangelical or non-evangelical, president or non-president, recited it.
Would it matter to any of Trump’s critics if any other human being on the planet demurred from reading it? You and I both know the answer. So, what are we really talking about here?
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