Archive for Liturgy

10 Reasons Why I Love the Nicene Creed

Posted in Church with tags , , , on May 28, 2009 by stephengardner

I have not always had a deep love for the creeds, even now I’m not sure I would call it a deep love, in the same way I think about my wife, or Jesus…But, I have come to appreciate the richness of liturgy and in particular, the Nicene Creed…At the moment, here’s why I love it…

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1. It is thoroughly Trinitarian
2. Scripture points to it and it points to Scripture
3. As the Church continues to proclaim it, I like to think we honour our dead brothers and sisters who fought for it
4. It guards the doctrine of God
5. I feel like I’m joining in with the saints throughout the ages when I say it at Church
6. It reminds me that I worship the Spirit as well
7. Sometimes, I think in my head as I say it; ‘yeah, I do believe in the Church’
8. It has stood the test of time
9. It is something all Christians can declare. I love that it therefore, promotes true unity
10. It just sounds awesome when a full congregation bellows it out…

Love it or hate it, why?

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Why we don’t need new creeds

Posted in Church with tags , , , , on May 26, 2009 by stephengardner

I recently heard a Christian, in fulltime ministry, dismiss the need for ‘old creeds’ on the basis that today’s church should look to produce new creeds, defending the faith from modern errors. True, there are lots of errors out there today, but the comment shows a naivety of the richness, timelessness and dare I say it, authority of the Creed.

While it is a defence against the errors of Arianism, at its core, the Nicene Creed is a positive declaration about the being of God. It is a powerful proclamation that God is the Triune creator of all.
Get it wrong and you get Him wrong. It seems to me that while there are always an abundance of errors coming left, right and centre, few have challenged the Church like those that led to the formulation of the Creed. And not all challenge the very being of God.

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Of the contribution the Nicene Creed has made to our understanding of the doctrine of God, T. F. Torrance has this to say:

It was a turning-point of far-reaching significance, with conceptual irreversibility. When the conception of the oneness in being between the incarnate Son and the Father was formed and given explicit expression in the clause homoousios to patri, a giant step forward was taken in grasping the inner ontological coherence of the Gospel as it had been mediated through the apostolic Scriptures. Once that insight had been reached, the Church could not go back upon it, because the evangelical substance of the faith, with its distinctively Christian doctrine of God, had been secured in its mind and understanding in a permanent way. ‘The Word of God which came through the Ecumenical Synod at Nicaea abides forever.’

(Torrance, The Trinitarian Faith. T&T Clark 1991)

If we get our doctrine of God wrong everything falls apart, and what we have in the Nicene Creed is a thoroughly relevant, thoroughly positive declaration to the world about who God is in His being.
I think, that to throw out the Nicene Creed for more ‘relevant’ declarations shows a great deal of arrogance…What do you think?