Heidelcast 186: What Must A Christian Believe? (4)—A Summary Of The Creed

The question for this series comes from Heidelberg Catechism 22. The answer is that a Christian must believe “all that is promised us in the gospel, which the articles of our catholic, undoubted Christian faith teach us in sum.” We’ve traced the Apostles’ Creed to its biblical roots, to the earliest Christian creed, which the fathers called The Rule of Faith, and we’ve discussed what it means to say, “Credo,” I believe, which is the first word of the Apostles’ Creed. Thus, so far, we have talked about when the rule of faith (Apostles’ Creed) came about and how we believe. In this episode we’re talking about the what. What do Christians believe? The question often arises, “How much must a Christian believe to be saved?” Most often the broad evangelical answer is “not much.” The tendency is toward minimalism in doctrine and practice. In some circles it is enough to say that one came forward at a rally, prayed a prayer, and signed a card (or clicked yes on a website). The Reformed Churches, however, confess a different answer to that question for good reason and in this episode I will explain.



Call the Heidelphone anytime at (760) 618-1563. Leave a message or email us us a voice memo from your phone and we may use it in a future podcast. Record it and email it to Heidelcast at heidelcast dot net.

If you benefit from the Heidelcast please leave a five-star review on Apple Podcasts so that others can find it.

Please do not forget to make the coffer clink (see the donate button below).

© R. Scott Clark. All Rights Reserved.

Show Notes

Subscribe to the Heidelblog today!


  1. Dr Clark,

    Thank you for the series. I have always considered the Apostles’ Creed to represent a fundamentals of the faith. But theology arises out of a historical context. As such, justification by faith alone is not explicit in the Apostles’ Creed. Can’t a Roman Catholic subscribe to the Apostles’ Creed? But isn’t justification by faith alone the article on which the church stands or falls? Could you address why the Creed doesn’t address justification by faith alone, and why we can still consider the Apostles’ Creed to contain the fundamentals of what one must believe.


    • Dan,

      The early fathers did teach the essence of justification sola fide but they weren’t arguing with those in the church who were teaching justification by grace and cooperation with grace so they were not as pointed as the Reformers. They were also not as specific on the Trinity in the 2nd and 3rd centuries as we were in the 4th and 5th centuries, because we weren’t facing the same challenges.

      Justification In The Earliest Christian Fathers

      More to come in the series. For now: avoid anachronism.

  2. It is a pity that english translations use ‘catholic’ for ‘general’ concerning the church. In other languages one doesn’t have that problem eg German, Afrikaans, French and Dutch. Many people are put off by the word ‘catholic’ and avoid the creed for that reason. You always have to explain the already very biased the fact that catholic is not Catholic.

Comments are closed.