Saturday, August 8, 2009

Why the first council of Nicea shows a non-Protestant view of the world (and why you should care), part I

Various online and in person debates have led me to think about the idea that the perspective of the Apostolic Churches, both Western and Eastern, is not anachronistic in looking to the first Christians who lived after the Apostles, and seeing a similar tune being sung by them. We are told by our Protestant friends that if we would just look at the really early Church, then all of our distinctives such as Apostolic Succession, the office of a bishop who can ordain people in parishes where he is not the pastor, an almost magical view of the sacraments, and the like, are contrivances that aren't in Nicea, but are in places like Trent. But is that true?

The Nicean Creed is something affirmed by all Trinitarian Christians (to my knowledge, at least), and this council is supposedly from a time when doctrine had not developed to the point where Protestants would take exception. Or so it would seem. Even though as a Presbyterian we would often recite these words, for various reasons I would argue that this council is not fair game for all Christians.

For now, here is the text of the Creed, as said by some Eastern Christians:

I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, the only-begotten, born of the Father before all ages.
Light of light, true God of true God, begotten, not made, of one substance with the Father, through whom all things were made.
Who for us men and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate from the Holy Spirit and Mary the Virgin, and became man.
He was also crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered and was buried.
And He rose again on the third day, according to the scriptures.
And He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of the Father.
And He will come again with glory, to judge the living and the dead, and of His kingdom there will be no end.
And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, and Giver of life, who proceeds from the Father, who together with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified, Who spoke through the prophets.
In one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.
I profess one baptism for the remission of sins.
I expect the resurrection of the dead; and the life of the world to come.



Anonymous said...


If you would like to debate with some Reformed people, they have their own dicussion group called Hoagies and Stogies that meet on a sat. night in North S.D. county.Just google the name.

contrarian 78 said...

Dear Anonymous,
I have enjoyed my experience discussing faith with my Reformed friends and online acquaintances but can't imagine getting involved in yet another avenue for dialogue. If free time ever opens up or there is a Hoagies and Stogies meeting that is specifically about Calvinists who have become Catholic, then I may be interested in pursuing such dialogue. But debates are too tit for tat and I would like to avoid them, even though I do get into them from time to time.