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The “Nicene Creed is an excellent starting point for Christology and is accepted as authoritative by Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, and major Protestant churches,” wrote Alyssa Roat in her article “What Is Christology?”. Con- sequently I will be asking through the course of this paper: what are we doing when we read the Nicene Creed in worship? Additionally, the creed goes on to express our future hope, the purpose of living the Christian life. The most important Christian creed, the Nicene Creed, begins with the words "I believe in one God," which of course is the statement of the Shema. Many of the men who gathered to argue for or against Christ’s eternal nature had endured torture for their beliefs. I recommend R. P. C. Hanson’s The Search for the Christian Doctrine of God which is helpful for tracking down primary source material. The first ecumenical council is the First Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D. and the second is the Council of Constantinople in 381 A.D. • The ‘Nicene Creed’ was written in Nicea (today this is the city of Iznick in Turkey) in AD 325 to state the main doctrines (principles) of the Christian Church. In fact, they were winking and snickering at one another, as if to say, “This is fine. My site. Dr. Holcolmb: The Apostles’ Creed was developed around 140, the Nicene Creed was written in 325, and the Athanasian Creed was created in the later 400s to early 500s. Constantine was himself a recent convert to Christianity, having (temporarily) ended all persecution by decree in AD 313 after he claimed that he won a battle by calling out to the Christian God. For example, the Nicene Creed was written to counteract the dangerous Arian heresy. The Nicene Creed is strictly speaking the “Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed” and was first developed following the First Council of Nicaea in 325. In Alexandria in AD 318, a presbyter named Arius began publicly proclaiming his theory that Jesus was not God at all, only a celestial servant of the true Most High God, who alone was almighty, transcendent, the creator and first cause of all things. 3. About Us . Some of my traditionalist friends, knowing I don't literally believe all the assertions of this creed, ask how I can still recite it in good conscience. This means two things: first, since it’s not possible to be a father without also having offspring, the fact that God is eternally a father means that he eternally has a son. Asked the Council of Nicea). Amen. What we call the Nicene Creed is actually the product of two ecumenical councils—one in Nicaea (present-day Iznik, Turkey) in AD 325, and one in Constantinople (now Istanbul) in AD 381—and a century of debate over the nature of the relationship between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Something was needed that would settle once and for all that the divinity of Jesus is the divinity of the Father, one and the same. Like the Apostles’ Creed, it encapsulates the entire good news of the gospel into a short and rich summary. Jesus’ nature as both wholly man and wholly God is a mystery, but we don’t have to fully understand it to see the evidence. “We believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten from the Father, only begotten, that is from the Father's substance, light from light, true God from true God, begotten not made.” This statement, part of the Nicene Creed, is central to Christianity. Neither can the Father and the Son be separated. (This was a traditional example in early Christian writings, usually concerning the ray of the sun and the sun itself.) At its core, it is the statement of faith of a community of believers. The Nicene Creed, simply referred to as the Creed or the Symbol of the Faith, is a doctrinal formula that was developed by the Holy Fathers at the First and Second Ecumenical Councils (in 325 and 381, respectively) to counter the heresies of Arianism, Apollinarianism, Macedonianism and Chiliasm. ” that “Christians must return to historic Christianity, which emerged from the rich doctrinal commitments and evangelical fervor of the apostles” who “attempted to construct a worldview and theology based upon the teachings of the Bible.”, The Nicene Creed is essential to the Christian faith. Athanasius was at the council as a deacon in the service of Alexander. To the Holy Spirit, and to his activity, belong the holy catholic and apostolic church, its teaching, its confession, its sacraments, and its ultimate new birth into the resurrection of everlasting life. How can you separate light from light? Still, in its final form, the creed tells us that Christ’s mission for our salvation included coming down out of heaven and taking on flesh from the Virgin Mary (the incarnation), carrying that flesh in suffering through life and into death on the cross. Furthermore, Alexander pointed out, God is perfect and not subject to change, so how could God change from not being a father to being a father? (Many people today, such as Muslims, have particular trouble with this idea.). The Nicene creed is, simply put, a statement of faith. Bobby explains the purpose of this ancient creed and how it came to be. Descriptions of the Assembly from which the document emerged demonstrate that two opinions were presented and debated; this wasn’t one leader charismatically manipulating an audience to accept the doctrine. … Article Images Copyright ©. This post is adapted from material found in the Know the Creeds and Councils online course, taught by Justin Holcomb. Why the Nicene Creed matters. The council consisted of bishops from both the Latin-speaking West and the Greek-speaking East and was formed in order to settle a dispute about the divinity of Jesus. It helps to establish the historicity of Christ. Christianity Did Not Begin When We Were Born — An Excerpt from "Know the Creeds and Councils". In Isaiah 1:18 he invites us: “come, let us reason together.” We are reminded by the history of the Nicene Creed that the Christian faith is not blind; we must educate ourselves about what we believe and why by rereading areas of the Bible that flesh out the Triune nature of God. So it’s not a … It is best to read the Nicene Creed as three articles. At the time the church was struggling with the Arian heresy, which denied that Christ was truly God, but rather that he was a created being. The “record keepers of Imperial Roman culture” left a trail of intellectual breadcrumbs that lead empirical thinkers to Christ. He later recounted that up to this point, the Arians were still on board. Basics of our Faith: The Nicene Creed Why is a Creed so important? The Nicene Creed was established to identify conformity of beliefs among Christians, as a means of recognizing heresy or deviations from orthodox biblical doctrines, and as a public profession of faith. Because it is recited in many churches every Sunday, the Nicene Creed is familiar to many Christians. Nicene Creed, also called Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed, a Christian statement of faith that is the only ecumenical creed because it is accepted as authoritative by the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, and major Protestant churches. SourcesChristianity.com, ‘What Is Christology?’ ‘Is Jesus God? The Nicene Creed is one of the most important documents in the history of Christianity. This heresy denied the full and unqualified deity of Christ. By signing up, you'll get thousands of step-by-step solutions to your homework questions. The Assembly itself is a testimony of faith. He said so himself. You may unsubscribe from these email communications at any time. 12:3). Because the council was primarily interested in discussing Jesus, the original form of the creed did not have much to say about the Holy Spirit. Pursue a deeper knowledge of God through self-paced college- and seminary-level online courses in Old and New Testament studies, theology, biblical Greek, and more. It was agreed to make it clear that this Jesus is forever and eternally “of one substance with the Father.” By insisting that the Son is “of one substance” with the Father, the Arian view was rejected and the council affirmed that the Father is not “more God” than the Son. Later revised at the council of Constantinople in 381, the creed was originally formulated in 325 at the council of Nicea. It instructs, guides, defends and enshrines the most important question of all: “What must I do to be saved?” The most important class assignment I ever received was to memorize that 2,000-year-old text. The Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed is also the creed of Eastern Catholics. Scripture makes it plain. Significant events such as baptisms and marriages are performed in the name of the Trinity. Get updates from Zondervan Academic directly in your inbox. The Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, which Latin-rite Catholics profess each Sunday and solemnity at Mass, is an ancient document from the late fourth century. This course will introduce you to the church’s most important statements of faith over the centuries and explain why those statements still matter today. No mere man, nor half god, could possibly intervene to save fallen and sinful humanity, let alone restore all of creation. 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