Monday, March 31, 2008

Creeds


I started thinking about the creeds, Apostle's and Nicene, and why they were created. The Nicene Creed was created to combat the heresy of Apollinarianism in the church. To make a long story short, Emperor Constantine convened an Ecumenical Council to deal with the issue. And one of the results of the Council of Constantinople was the Nicene Creed, which is still used in Eastern Orthodox and some western church liturgies. The Creed is below:

We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father.
Through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven:
by the power of the Holy Spirit
he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary,
and was made man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son.
With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified.
He has spoken through the Prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. Amen.


I say this not to provide an interesting history lesson into the decision-making process of the ancient church. Nor to provide info on ancient heresies. But rather, I wonder if an Ecumenical Council is needed today to deal with heresies in the church? Could the church, as a global body, even get together to talk right now? That is a good question and a source of amusement to the enemies of our souls.

There are some seriously flawed teachings in the church that could use a good hearing in front of the Global Church. Marxist Liberation Theology is one of them. I would like to see a good review of the Prosperity Gospel by the ecclesiastical authorities. The idea of lavish lifestyles for pastors seems to fly in the face of the New Testament church, the Apostolic Tradition, and church history. True, God does bless people. But I don't think we can build a theology on that.

I wonder if the individualism that is so prevalent in the Western Church would prevent this from happening. I imagine those whose theology is being attacked would just use the "Who are you to judge me" line and just keep doing what they are doing.

But let's pretend that they would play nice and allow themselves to fall under the discipline of the Church of Jesus Christ. What other heresies/teachings do you see out there that could be investigated? Share them as comments and I'll send a note to the Pope and the Eastern Orthodox leaders.

3 comments:

Andrew said...

Regretfully we do not have a king (Constantiniple) to tell us that we need to come up with a new creed. So, while I am certain that this is a great idea the infighting among theologians would never allow for a widespread adoption of any new statement of faith.

Roy said...

Not all of them were called by the king. Some happened prior to Constantine. But I suspect you are correct about the infighting among the theologians.

john rister said...

I do not know about the heresy of appollinarianism but I suspect it was one of the heresies of the early church. One of the main contributers of the writings of the Nicene creed was a result of Arius from Alexandria and his teachings. It is interesting as you start reading about some of the theological debates in the early church. Thank God for people like Anthanasius who wrote about the incarnation which was a big influence on the development of the nicene creed in 325 AD.
I agree with your thought on getting the church together and holding theologies and false teachings accountable to the body of the living church.