Friday, 3 May 2013

Credo - Christianity's Baseline

One of the biggest problems we mere mortals have to deal with is that of people trying so hard to cover all the bases when a conflict occurs to the extent that the solution becomes so unwieldy as to be almost useless. As we (and most of the Church) celebrated Athanasius yesterday it was only a matter of time before someone asked me whether we'd do the 'Athanasian Creed'; It was was I expected and I was not to be disappointed! Fo me, the Athanasian Creed ticks all the boxes and make so many things clear that it is a splendidly difficult piece of work.

The whole point of the Creed is that it, in its simplest form, provided for us a baseline or minima for possession of the label 'Christian'. The 'I believes', for that is, of course what the word 'credo' means, provide us with a tick list that, once all the ticks are in place, give others a confidence regarding our orthodoxy (right thinking).

From where I recline we have three Creeds before us:

The Apostle's - Used as a basic statement of Christian beliefs for those being baptised. Date somewhere around the early 200 AD mark (210 -225 if memory serves me right). A simple, first person profession of faith (I believe - so baptise me!).

The Nicene - came out of what was to be the very first ecumenical council held in Nicea in 325 AD which was convened to address various heresies and errors and bring about unity (hence the third person - 'We believe' and so there is unity) in thought, practice and theology; providing a baseline for what defined a Christian. It is simple and this is where its beauty lies.

The Athanasian - Although after Athanasius, he had nothing to do with this creed! The association more than likely comes about because he was active involved in addressing all things heretical and, unlike the other two creeds, this one is not widely accepted (finding no favour with the Eastern Orthodox geezers). Not a basic statement of belief but a remedy for those with struggles regarding the Trinity, the Incarnation and the 'two natures' (man and divine) debate,

Discounting completely the Athanasian from the discussion, we can create from the creeds a basic checklist (old pilot habit - sorry) to ensure that, in terms of Christian faith, all is well. (something I'm going off to do a bit later) but for now, have a go at comparing them for yourself:

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