GS 1989 art 144

GS 1989 ARTICLE 144

Committee II presents: Agenda Items VIII, B,1 j, kA. MATERIAL:

  • 1. Letter from the Church at Chatham
  • 2. Letter from Rev. J. Van Rietschoten


  • 1. The consistory of the Church of Chatham is proposing to Synod 1989 to insert the article “the” into article I of the Apostles’ Creed. This would make Art. I read, “I believe in God the Father the Almighty . . .”
  • 2. Rev. J. Van Rietschoten requests Synod to change the title “Apostles’ Creed to “The Apostolic Creed”.


  • I re “Almighty”
    • 1. “Omnipotentem” can be treated as an adjective to “Patrem.” If treated as an adjective the translation would indeed be “Almighty.” “Omnipotentem” can also be treated as an apposition which has the function of a noun and translates “the Almighty.”
    • 2. The Church of Chatham considers the appositional translation to be preferred. The reason for this is
      • a. the Latin has neither definite nor indefinite articles, but with its Greek background in earlier Creeds (G.N.D. Kelly, Early Christian Creeds, 3rd ed. New York, 1972 [1983] p. 181-193) it should be translated as a noun with an article, i.e. “the Almighty”
      • b. wherever in the English translation of the Holy Scripture the word “almighty” appears it is the translation of a noun and not of an adjective. Invariably “almighty” in the English versions is a translation of the name of God, “El Shaddai” or “Shaddai” and of “Pantokrator.”
    • 3. Although the word “Almighty” for “El Shaddai” is capitalized in the RSV translation, it does not include the article “the.” Thus, the RSV is not consistent in translating the noun for “Almighty” with the article.
    • 4. The present expression in Article I sufficiently denotes that the Father is Almighty, i.e., the Almighty One.
  • II re “Title for the Apostles’ Creed”
    • 1. Although the Apostles’ Creed did not originate with the Apostles but contains a summary of the teaching of the Apostles, the name “Apostles’ Creed is commonly accepted and understood.
    • 2. The name “Apostles’ Creed” is adequately explained in the text of the Book of Praise (p. 436).


Synod decide:

  • 1. not to grant the request to include the article “the”.
  • 2. not to change the title of the “Apostles’ Creed”.