Every once in a while I do a Week of… series of posts which highlight something on my mind. (Previously I have covered such topics as Polycarp, Mormonism, and Messianic Judaism.) Due to a recent classification at the Biblioblog List, I have decided to spend a week on early Christian creeds, cumulating with 381. I will start with the eyewitness confessions in the bible, and move to the creed of Athanasius. I hope you enjoy.
My interest in early Church history has grown tremendously since I started this blog, and I think that I am finding a voice and a direction for this blog. (I will continue to bring you all the news that you might need on certain topics) I would like to focus more on early Church history – by early, I mean until 381, but in doing so, I find many parallels to modern movements (Montanists with the Charismatics).
The Creeds played an important part in the early Church developing from short sayings, such as ‘Jesus is Lord’ to the long canons of Nicaea and Constantinople. When describing myself, I use the term ‘non-creedal’ but that is a misunderstanding of what creeds and confessions actually were/are. I do not believe that creeds and other statements hold any particular doctrinal weight, but in the times when the Scriptures were not readily available, it become important that those seeking baptism to know the main points about the Gospel. Even today, I would want some sort of confession of faith made so as to ‘count the cost’ so to speak.
Simple confessions become the Rule of Faith which then became the great Creeds of the 4th century. The Rule of Faith was starting points for both sides of the Arianist issue surrounding Nicaea, but it was their interpretation that differed, and indeed their application.
I hope that you enjoy the Week of Creeds, and as always, please free to discuss. For the most part, we will follow the timeline of creeds presented in Leith’s Creeds of the Churches.