Corinthian Creed

At last, my new song (hymn?) arranged for a group and performed in the worship service at church! All I could provide were the words and the basic melody, but I selected talented musicians at church who could arrange their own piano part, and who could harmonize by ear. Unfortunately, the recording doesn’t begin until we have already moved into the second verse. But that’s okay, you get to hear all the talented people who helped me, to whom I’m very grateful.

There is a saying among theologians (or at least R. C. Sproul refers to it frequently) that the orthodox owe a debt of gratitude to heretics. All of the creeds from the earliest centuries of church history involve an element of correcting the heresy that was most destructive to the faith in that generation. If you think back, even the Bible itself is largely written to correct the errors which afflicted God’s people. Nothing forces us to sharpen our focus and improve our understanding the way “competition” does.

I likewise owe a debt of gratitude to heresy in the writing of my hymn, “Corinthian Creed.” But the correction of heresy inspired my song in a different way. I was reading one of the books defending Christianity against the revisionist Da Vinci Code and noticed in a footnote that the passage in 1 Corinthians 15:3-7 was originally a creed which developed less than a decade after Christ’s crucifixion, resurrection and ascension! That really blew my mind! Growing up an anti-creedal Baptist, you tend to think creeds and Bibles are like apples and oranges. Here’s a creed in the Bible! The apostle Paul was catechized with the help of a creed! And look how well he turned out!

My way of memorizing verses frequently involves putting it to a tune. I do it quite a bit. So I did it to the “creed” in 1 Corinthians 15. This comprises the first verse of my song. Then after a short time I devised the chorus, and desired to write a couple of other verses to make it a genuine song. So it stayed in this form as I thought and prayed. Finally, it dawned on me to simply summarize the entire chapter–Paul’s great teaching on the fact of, and necessity of the resurrection of Christ and the fact of our resurrection in him. First Corinthians 15 is at once an apologetic defense (is that redundant?) of Christ’s resurrection, a thorough proclamation of the gospel, and a sermon exhorting believers to persevere in the faith in the hope of their resurrection in Christ at the last day! What better material could there be for a “modern hymn?”

In my next post, I will audioblog our performance of the song; below are the lyrics. Do any of my readers know anyone who can help me out with a four-part harmony for a choir?

Corinthian Creed
by John Douglas Chitty
 
We believe that Christ died for our sins
According to the Scriptures;
That he was buried, that he was raised
On the third day according to the Scriptures.
 
Then he was seen by Peter,
Then by all the Twelve;
After that, he was seen by
More than five hundred brothers at once as well.
 
Then he was seen by James,
Then by all the apostles;
And, last of all, he was seen by Paul,
As by one born out of due time.
 
We believe this is of first importance:
Christ died for our sins;
According to the Scriptures,
The third day, he rose again!
 
We believe in resurrection,
Because if the dead don’t rise,
Our faith is vain, we’re still in sin,
And lost is he who dies.
 
But, Christ, in fact, is risen!
The First fruits of the dead!
For as all die in Adam,
So all live in Christ, their Head!
 
Christ, our King, rose first,
So, when he comes, shall we,
For he must reign and conquer
‘Till his last foe, Death’s, defeat!
 
We believe this is of first importance:
Christ died for our sins;
According to the Scriptures,
The third day, he rose again!
  
Why, then, do we suffer,
If the dead in Christ don’t rise?
If so, let us eat and drink,
For tomorrow we will die!
 
Do not be deceived!
Wake up and do what’s right!
Do not go on sinning,
Like the ones who lack God’s light!
 
But someone will ask,
“What kind of bodies will arise?”
You, fool, no seed, when planted, will grow
Unless first it dies!
 
We believe this is of first importance:
Christ died for our sins;
According to the Scriptures,
The third day, he rose again!
  
We believe there is a nat’ral body,
And one of the Spirit;
The nat’ral body perishes,
Sin’s curse is buried with it.
 
As Christ raised the third day,
At last in all his glory,
So will those who follow him
And trust the gospel story!
 
Adam of the earth;
Jesus Christ of heaven;
As we’ve borne Adam’s image,
We will bear Christ’s image, even!
 
We believe this is of first importance:
Christ died for our sins;
According to the Scriptures,
The third day, he rose again!
 
We believe when Christ our King returns
All sleeping saints to waken,
We may not all sleep,
But all will gain a transformation.
 
So will come to pass
The saying that is written:
“Death is swallowed up in vict’ry”
Sin is fin’lly smitten!
 
But thanks be to God
Through Christ our Victory;
Be strengthened in his service
knowing death won’t end the story!
 
We believe this is of first importance:
Christ died for our sins;
According to the Scriptures,
The third day, he rose again!
 
 
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2 responses

  1. […] a further introduction, read what I wrote about it back on September 30, 2006. Above, you may enjoy a view scanning across the ruins of Ancient Corinth which I shot on my Holy […]

  2. […] on its implications for the Christian life, and source of hope of our own resurrection in Christ. The lyrics may be viewed here. Praise and glorify the risen Savior with me! no comments yet « “On” or […]

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