Unsettled Christianity

Gloria Dei homo vivens – St Irenaeus
May 22nd, 2017 by Joel Watts

was the Creed of 325 “new?”

No. A quick survey of pre-Dan Brown literature reveals that several rules of faith existed in the early 2nd century. These gave rise to the later synodal formulas that themselves later became our great Creeds.

Although the church is dispersed throughout the world, even to the ends of the earth, it has received this common faith from the apostles and their disciples:

[We believe] in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth and the sea, and everything that is in them

And in one Christ Jesus, the Son of God, who became incarnate for our salvation

And in the Holy Spirit, who proclaimed the [divine] dispensations through the prophets, including the advents, the birth from a virgin, the passion, the resurrection from the dead and the bodily ascension into heaven of the beloved Christ Jesus our Lord, as well as his [future] coming from heaven in the glory of the Father, when he will “gather all things in one.”

And to raise up again all flesh of the whole human race, in order that “every knee should bow and every tongue confess” to Christ Jesus, our Lord and God, our Savior and king, according to the will of the invisible Father, and that he should execute righteous judgment toward all.

That he may send “the spirits of wickedness” and the angels who transgressed and became apostates, together with the ungodly and unrighteous, wicked and profane among human beings, into everlasting fire, but in the exercise of his grace may grant immortality to the righteous and holy, and to those who have kept his commandments and persevered in his love and may clothe them with everlasting glory.

As I have already observed, the church has received this preaching and this faith, even though it is scattered throughout the world, and carefully preserves it intact, as if it were living in a single house. The church believes these doctrines as if it had only one soul and one heart, and it proclaims them and hands them on in perfect harmony, as if it spoke with only one voice. The languages of the world may be dissimilar, but the message of the tradition is one and the same. . . . Just as the sun is the same wherever it shines, so is the preaching of the truth the same everywhere in the world, enlightening everyone who wants to come to a knowledge of the truth. No church leader, however gifted he may be, will teach anything different from this, because no one is greater than the Master. Nor will anyone of inferior eloquence do harm to our tradition, because our faith is always one and the same. For this reason, the gifted teacher can add nothing to it, nor can the less gifted take anything away from it. Just because some people have more or less intelligence than others, it does not follow that they should add or subtract doctrines accordingly. AGAINST HERESIES 1.10.1–3.5

 

The best resource on the Fathers and the Creed? This one by IVP, which is available on Accordance.

Joel Watts
Watts holds a MA in Theological Studies from United Theological Seminary. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians, as well as seeking an MA in Clinical Mental Health at Adams State University. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

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