Crossed The Tiber

An Evangelical Converts to Catholicism

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Location: Pennsylvania, United States

I was born into the Catholic faith. At 14, I was "born again" and found Jesus personally but lost His Church. After thirty years as an evangelical protestant, I have come full circle to find that He has been there all the time, in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I wish others to find the beauty and truth of the Catholic faith as I have found.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Did We Really Need the Creed?

At this time of year, Christians celebrate the Incarnation and focus on this particular portion of the Nicean Creed:

"for us men and for our salvation came down from the heavens, and was made flesh of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and became man."

I just had a thought. Why did the early Christians develop creeds? Was it really necessary?
The creeds were developed in response to heresy and heterodox teachings.
Some believers, including some churchmen of the early church, namely Arius, “got it wrong” in terms of the nature of who Christ was. He and his followers believed that Jesus was the son of God but not equal with God.
The Council of Nicea was convened to come to a definitive statement regarding the divinity of Christ and the nature of God . These days we would call it a “Consensus Statement of Who Jesus Is and What We as Christians Believe.” Through this council and the creed it produced, the early Church annunciated the core doctrines of Christianity. The date was around 325 AD. To this date, many Christian faiths confess belief in these creeds and there has been a resurgence in evangelicals returning to the beliefs of the ancient creeds.

So, even with the books of the New Testament in circulation (not yet formally canonized) being read from pulpits during the Mass, some folks in the early Church didn’t “get it right” and began to develop heterodoxy based on their understanding of the Scriptures. Despite the fact the books of the New Testament were readily available and being used very early in the history of the Church, it was still necessary for the Church to produce a creed (position paper, if you will) that would distill and proclaim the essential truths based in Scripture.

If all core doctrines of Christianity are readily understood from the plain reading and interpretation of Scripture, why was it necessary to develop the creeds? The Arian heresy should have been easily dealt with by a simple reproof based on a plain reading of Scripture. Come to think of it, why did the Arian heresy develop at all, if Trinitarian theology was clearly spelled out in the pages of Scripture? Did we really need the creed?


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