Remiss.  I get it.  If I told you I’ve been meeting with people to actually write a book would you forgive me?
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Read the Apostles Creed (page 30 in McGrath) and the Nicene Creed (it can be found on many online sites). They represent rare times when the entire church got together (representatively) and agreed on such a statement of belief. Do you think it is appropriate to accept them as the yardstick by which Christianity is defined? Why or why not? What would you add or delete?

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The Apostles Creed is a good and sound summary of Christian doctrine and very similar in wording to the Nicene Creed.  They both share the quality of outlining the basic tenets of the Church.  The word creed stems from the Latin “credo” which means “I believe” and emulates the purpose of both statements:  to express the beliefs of the faith in a succinct and structured manner.  To that end, regardless of the creed which is used, both serve the same purpose of pronouncing belief in the faith of the Church.
However, when the creeds originated, there were not nearly the number of divisions and denominations as there are today so I’m not entirely certain we can (or should) say as a blanket statement that “the entire Church is in agreement.”  Is the “entire Church” the same in its entirety as it was then?  Not even close. Much like the Constitution has not changed in wording since it was originally penned yet many, many individuals no longer hold to what it decrees, I feel some may argue this correlation with regard to the Apostles Creed/Nicene Creed.  That aside, both creeds absolutely can and should be utilized as the yardstick by which Christianity…at its basic premise…can be measured.
At first blush, I have always been inclined to want to remove “the holy Catholic church”; however, upon further investigation and thought, my original inclination is what should actually be removed.  The “holy Catholic church” does not refer to the Roman Catholic Church as we know it today.  The word catholic used here means “universal.”  The true “catholic” church is all those who have placed their faith in Jesus for salvation, thus both defining and unifying Christians and further cementing the acceptance of the creed(s) as an appropriate definition.  The unified Church and body of believers is where all those who are stirred by the Holy Spirit and are faithful to God come together in sacred community.  The Church is ‘catholic’ because it is all-embracing; it is not “an enclave within a profane godless world, but rather the movement, initiated by God, to communicate perfect salvation to all nations.”[1]  It is ‘holy’ when it is imbued and sanctified by the Holy Spirit.
Therefore, while I would not delete anything from the creed(s), I do think it is worth considering what has been left out, and that is, Jesus’ ministry.  There is no mention of His work or teachings in the world and instead moves straight from birth to death.  I believe it is The Liberation Theologians who made kind of a big deal about this omission.  Their view is that it leaves out the most radical and prevailing components in the life of Jesus, which has extensive (mostly political) relevance for the poor and marginalized today, as well as how we grasp what discipleship entails.  Perhaps one sentence or reference to Christian praxis would be a welcome and compelling addition to both creeds.


You will buy the book, right?  (Yeah…I’ll change names…no worries, you.  Or, (ew) you.  And…definitely not Y-O-U.)

 


[1] Urs von Balthasar, Hans. Credo: Meditations on the Apostles Creed. New York, Crossroads, 1990. p.84.
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