Thursday, April 03, 2008

Creed? Which creed?

"Creed," of course, comes from "credo" the Latin beginning meaning "I believe," and while we in English say "I believe" in a variety of senses: ("I believe ground beef is on sale," "I believe he's going to be elected," "I believe I'll have a pastry") the biblical meaning of "believe" is to trust, to put one's fate in the hands of, to ultimately see the object of trust as one's God. That's why God invites and commands us to trust Him, because the object of our ultimate trust is the one we are worshiping, the one are obeying or disobeying with regard to the first commandment.

When I say "creed" without qualification, I'm meaning the Nicene creed. The so-called Apostles creed is fine as long as we view it as a condensation of the Nicene creed. The Apostles creed is a more "personal," perhaps less churchly creed, and while fine as it is, was never approved by an ecumenical council. It is, of course, approved by any number of western church bodies, but it's ultimately not a creed of the whole, undivided church.

(I'm not arguing that early versions of what came to be the Apostles creed weren't floating around in the churches prior to the consensus on the Nicene creed. This isn't ultimately about history or the development of doctrine statements, but about what we are taught in the creed now).

As noted yesterday, the creed is ultimately about God. It is not about us, and one of my complaints with the use some make of the Apostles creed is that it's made into a man-centered statement. For example, it's said that the creed deals with our creation (in the first article), our salvation (second), and our sanctification (in the third).

But the creed is not about us. And if we interpret it to be about us, we miss the point of the God-centered nature of the creed, and what it tells us about the God in whom we believe.

No comments: