Saturday, April 05, 2008

"According to the Scriptures"

The church's tradition is that the Nicene creed should be used as a confession of faith at every Eucharist. It's good to remember this tradition, to keep it, and to ponder why the tradition is there.

The Apostles creed is not bad in itself, and it's useful as a personal baptismal creed, especially in western churches.

But it's not accidental that the Nicene creed has been approved by an ecumenical council. That approval means that it's a creed which has passed muster by the whole church, and not just the western churches, much less individual confessions (Roman, Lutheran, and Anglican, among others) in the west.

The Nicene creed is rooted in several senses, but one of the rootings is in the Scriptures, in an explicit way. The Scriptures are referenced twice in the creed: in the second article, on the resurrection of Christ ("He rose again according to the Scriptures," cf. I Corinthians 15.4) and in the third article on the work of the Holy Spirit, "Who spoke by the prophets."

We should not be biblicists, in the sense that we worship the faith or put our faith in it: we put our faith in God, Who spoke by the Bible. But He did speak by the Bible, and a Christianity not rooted in the Scriptures quickly becomes untethered, self-centered, and loses connections not only with the people of God in the past, but with all who live and struggle now.

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