The Apostles Creed: I believe in the holy catholic church: the communion of saints
by Mark Grilus
The statement, holy catholic church must be understood in its original frame of reference. The church is holy because Jesus Christ is holy and we are His body. “Catholic” simply means universal, so when one believes in a holy catholic church, they mean a church that is part of the body of Christ through all time and in all places. We understand that Christians can exist in different denominations and they are still our brothers and sisters in Christ. They are one body because it is the Holy Spirit who draws men to Jesus Christ. (John 16: 13,14).
This holy catholic, or as some prefer to use the term “Christian” will be comprised of those who have confessed Jesus as Lord; those who have been born of His Spirit and openly agree with the Spirit, submitting to Him in all areas of their lives. It is a knowledge as well as an intimate, restored relationship of the heart. This church will not be perfect, as the church is a mixture of true believers and false ones. Just as in the parable of the wheat and the tares. (Matthew 13:24-30). Creeds such as the Apostles Creed were formulated to show what the church was to believe, as well as act as filters to separate the true from the false believer.
The Protestants during the Reformation understood that the church could not be extinguished. They held that they were a holy catholic church. One of their creeds states: That the Son of God, out of the whole human race, from the beginning to the end of the world, gathers, defends, and preserves for Himself, by His Spirit and Word, in the unity of the true faith, a Church chosen to everlasting life; and that I am, and forever shall remain, a living member thereof.