Saturday, May 07, 2005

The Creed

The creed was (and is) the primary instrument used by the orthodox to insure conformity in the church. In his book,
Jesus Against Christianity
Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer has some searching things to say about the Apostles Creed, especially the phrase "born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate". On page 153 he wrote, "A life not mentioned is by implication unimportant. It's not a coincidence that a creed that ignores Jesus' life and softens imperial Rome's role in his death has given rise throughout history to many expressions of Christian faith influenced by and comfortable with stately power."

Much more could be said about the creeds. Chief among Early Christian creeds were The Three Historic Ecumenical Creeds of the Christian Church. The text of the three with considerable discussion is found in this website.

Go to The Hall of Church History for a comprehensive survey of Church History from a
fundamentalist viewpoint. They include exhaustive material on the dissenting brothers, although they're referred to here as the heretics.

Definition of heretic: one who doesn't conform to the prevailing tradition.

(Most of this post was taken from My Hypertext Bible.)

(Friend Jon has interesting things to say about the creed in a recent post.)


david said...

I feel similarly to you. I for one am (mostly) orthodox in doctrine but less so in practice. In other words I find the content of creeds less problematic than the obviously political intent on the part of the capstone of the religious pyramid.

But I think there is also a devotional aspect to creeds. It is an opportunity to make a public statement of faith -- an opportunity which some may find helpful and necessary. It is also done as an act of worship and prayer -- telling God what we believe about God. A form of praise.

david said...

I just scanned the links to websites mentioned here.

Poor Origen a heretic? But I LIKE him.

Larry said...

Thank you, David. You and I have a great deal in common and some interesting differences; I'm most apt to point out the differences:

Knowing the source of the Nicene Creed makes it impossible for me to believe that God meant it like so for our direction; you know the fruit by the tree.

Re Origen: being declared a heretic makes me admire and trust him more. Speaking in general one must agree in every particular to avoid the damnable term.

That's actually the basic problem I have with orthodoxy: the idea that everyone must believe the same thing. Makes people lemmings!

Marjorie said...

We are all heretics for daring to think on our own.

Meredith said...

These comments reminded me of this little ditty I learned in First Day school:

"Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout
He drew a circle that shut me out.
But Grace and I had the wit to win,
We drew a circle that invited him in."