Creed

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Icon depicting Emperor Constantine (center) and the Fathers of the First Council of Nicaea (325) as holding the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed of 381 Nicaea icon.jpg
Icon depicting Emperor Constantine (center) and the Fathers of the First Council of Nicaea (325) as holding the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed of 381

A creed (also known as a confession, symbol, or statement of faith) is a statement of the shared beliefs of (an often religious) community in the form of a fixed formula summarizing core tenets.

Contents

The earliest creed in Christianity, "Jesus is Lord", originated in the writings of Saint Paul. [1] One of the most widely used creeds in Christianity is the Nicene Creed, first formulated in AD 325 at the First Council of Nicaea. It was based on Christian understanding of the Canonical Gospels, the letters of the New Testament and to a lesser extent the Old Testament. Affirmation of this creed, which describes the Trinity, is generally taken as a fundamental test of orthodoxy for most Christian denominations. [2] The Apostles' Creed is also broadly accepted. Some Christian denominations and other groups have rejected the authority of those creeds.

Jesus is Lord

"Jesus is Lord" is the shortest credal affirmation found in the New Testament, one of several slightly more elaborate variations.(Kelly:13) It serves as a statement of faith for the majority of Christians who regard Jesus as both fully man and God. It is the motto of the World Council of Churches.

Christianity is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. Its adherents, known as Christians, believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and the savior of all people, whose coming as the Messiah was prophesied in the Hebrew Bible, called the Old Testament in Christianity, and chronicled in the New Testament. It is the world's largest religion with about 2.4 billion followers.

Nicene Creed Statement of belief adopted at the First Ecumenical Council in 325

The Nicene Creed is a statement of belief widely used in Christian liturgy. It is called Nicene because it was originally adopted in the city of Nicaea by the First Council of Nicaea in 325. In 381, it was amended at the First Council of Constantinople, and the amended form is referred to as the Nicene or the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed.

Muslims declare the shahada , or testimony: "I bear witness that there is no god but (the One) God (Allah), and I bear witness that Muhammad is God's messenger." [3]

The Shahada is an Islamic creed, one of the Five Pillars of Islam, declaring belief in the oneness of God (tawhid) and the acceptance of Muhammad as God's prophet. The declaration, in its shortest form, reads :

Allah Deity of Islam

Allah is the Arabic word for God in Abrahamic religions. In the English language, the word generally refers to God in Islam. The word is thought to be derived by contraction from al-ilāh, which means "the god", and is related to El and Elah, the Hebrew and Aramaic words for God.

Muhammad in Islam Muslims consider him a master, legislator and the last prophet of the prophets in Islam

Muḥammad ibn ʿAbdullāh ibn ʿAbdul-Muṭṭalib ibn Hāshim, commonly known as Muhammad, is the seal of the Messengers and Prophets of God in all the main branches of Islam. Muslims believe that the Quran, the central religious text of Islam, was revealed to Muhammad by God, and that Muhammad was sent to restore Islam, which they believe to be the unaltered original monotheistic faith of Adam, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and other prophets. The religious, social, and political tenets that Muhammad established with the Quran became the foundation of Islam and the Muslim world.

Whether Judaism is creedal has been a point of some controversy. Although some say Judaism is noncreedal in nature, others say it recognizes a single creed, the Shema Yisrael , which begins: "Hear, O Israel: the LORD our God, the LORD is one." [4]

Shema Yisrael Jewish prayer

Shema Yisrael is a Jewish prayer, and is also the first two words of a section of the Torah, and is the title of a prayer that serves as a centerpiece of the morning and evening Jewish prayer services. The first verse encapsulates the monotheistic essence of Judaism: "Hear, O Israel: the LORD our God, the LORD is one", found in Deuteronomy 6:4. Observant Jews consider the Shema to be the most important part of the prayer service in Judaism, and its twice-daily recitation as a mitzvah. Also, it is traditional for Jews to say the Shema as their last words, and for parents to teach their children to say it before they go to sleep at night.

Terminology

The word creed is particularly used for a concise statement which is recited as part of liturgy. The term is anglicized from Latin credo "I believe", the incipit of the Latin texts of the Apostles' Creed and the Nicene Creed. A creed is sometimes referred to as a symbol in a specialized meaning of that word (which was first introduced to Late Middle English in this sense), after Latin symbolum "creed" (as in Symbolum Apostolorum = "Apostles' Creed"), after Greek symbolon "token, watchword". [5]

Liturgy is the customary public worship performed by a religious group. As a religious phenomenon, liturgy represents a communal response to and participation in the sacred through activity reflecting praise, thanksgiving, supplication or repentance. It forms a basis for establishing a relationship with a divine agency, as well as with other participants in the liturgy.

Incipit first few words of the opening line of a poem, song, or book, often used in lieu of a title

The incipit of a text is the first few words of the text, employed as an identifying label. In a musical composition, an incipit is an initial sequence of notes, having the same purpose. The word incipit comes from Latin and means "it begins". Its counterpart taken from the ending of the text is the explicit.

The Apostles' Creed, sometimes titled the Apostolic Creed or the Symbol of the Apostles, is an early statement of Christian belief—a creed or "symbol". It is widely used by a number of Christian denominations for both liturgical and catechetical purposes, most visibly by liturgical Churches of Western tradition, including the Catholic Church, Lutheranism and Anglicanism. It is also used by Presbyterians, Moravians, Methodists and Congregationalists.

Some longer statements of faith in the Protestant tradition are instead called "confessions of faith", or simply "confession" (as in e.g. Helvetic Confession). Within Evangelicalism, the terms "doctrinal statement" or "doctrinal basis" tend to be preferred. Doctrinal statements may include positions on lectionary and translations of the Bible, particularly in fundamentalist churches of the King James Only movement.

Evangelicalism, evangelical Christianity, or evangelical Protestantism, is a worldwide, trans-denominational movement within Protestant Christianity which maintains the belief that the essence of the Gospel consists of the doctrine of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus's atonement. Evangelicals believe in the centrality of the conversion or "born again" experience in receiving salvation, in the authority of the Bible as God's revelation to humanity, and in spreading the Christian message. The movement has had a long presence in the Anglosphere before spreading further afield in the 19th, 20th and early 21st centuries.

Lectionary book of scripture readings for a particular day or occasion

A lectionary is a book or listing that contains a collection of scripture readings appointed for Christian or Judaic worship on a given day or occasion. There are sub-types such as a "gospel lectionary" or evangeliary, and an epistolary with the readings from the New Testament Epistles.

Christian fundamentalism began in the late 19th and early 20th centuries among British and American Protestants as a reaction to theological liberalism and cultural modernism. Fundamentalists argued that 19th-century modernist theologians had misinterpreted or rejected certain doctrines, especially biblical inerrancy, which they considered the fundamentals of the Christian faith. Fundamentalists are almost always described as having a literal interpretation of the Bible. A few scholars label Catholics who reject modern theology in favor of more traditional doctrines fundamentalists. Scholars debate how much the terms "evangelical" and "fundamentalist" are synonymous. In keeping with traditional Christian doctrines concerning biblical interpretation, the role of Jesus in the Bible, and the role of the church in society, fundamentalists usually believe in a core of Christian beliefs which include the historical accuracy of the Bible and all of the events which are recorded in it as well as the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

The term creed is sometimes extended to comparable concepts in non-Christian theologies; thus the Islamic concept of ʿaqīdah (literally "bond, tie") is often rendered as "creed".

Christian creeds

Several creeds have originated in Christianity.

Christian confessions of faith

Protestant denominations are usually associated with confessions of faith, which are similar to creeds but usually longer.

Christians without creeds

Some Christian denominations, and particularly those descending from the Radical Reformation, do not profess a creed. This stance is often referred to as "non-creedalism". The Religious Society of Friends, also known as the Quakers, consider that they have no need for creedal formulations of faith. The Church of the Brethren and other Schwarzenau Brethren churches also espouse no creed, referring to the New Testament, as their "rule of faith and practice." [12] Jehovah's Witnesses contrast "memorizing or repeating creeds" with acting to "do what Jesus said". [13] Unitarian Universalists do not share a creed. [14]

Many evangelical Protestants similarly reject creeds as definitive statements of faith, even while agreeing with some creeds' substance. The Baptists have been non-creedal "in that they have not sought to establish binding authoritative confessions of faith on one another". [15] :111 While many Baptists are not opposed to the ancient creeds, they regard them as "not so final that they cannot be revised and re-expressed. At best, creeds have a penultimacy about them and, of themselves, could never be the basis of Christian fellowship". [15] :112 Moreover, Baptist "confessions of faith" have often had a clause such as this from the First London (Particular) Baptist Confession (Revised edition, 1646):

Also we confess that we now know but in part and that are ignorant of many things which we desire to and seek to know: and if any shall do us that friendly part to show us from the Word of God that we see not, we shall have cause to be thankful to God and to them.

Similar reservations about the use of creeds can be found in the Restoration Movement and its descendants, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the Churches of Christ, and the Christian churches and churches of Christ. Restorationists profess "no creed but Christ". [16]

Bishop John Shelby Spong, retired Episcopal Bishop of Newark, has written that dogmas and creeds were merely "a stage in our development" and "part of our religious childhood." In his book, Sins of the Scripture, Spong wrote that "Jesus seemed to understand that no one can finally fit the holy God into his or her creeds or doctrines. That is idolatry." [17]

Many people said (the Apostles Creed), but they understood what it was saying and what they meant by that quite differently. No matter how hard they tried, they could not close out this perennial debate. They cannot establish a consensus and they could not agree on the meaning of that phrase which had been once "delivered to the saints." It did not occur to these people that the task they were trying to accomplish was not a human possibility, that the mystery of God, including the God they believed they had met in Jesus, could not be reduced to human words and human concepts or captured inside human creeds. Nor did they understand that the tighter and more specific their words became, the less they would achieve the task of unifying the church. All creeds have ever done is to define those who are outside, who were not true believers; and thus their primarily achievement has been to set up eternal conflict between the "ins" and the "outs," a conflict that has repeatedly degenerated into the darkest sort of Christian behavior, including imperialism, torture, persecution, death and war. [18]

In the Swiss Reformed Churches, there was a quarrel about the Apostles' Creed in the mid-19th century. As a result, most cantonal reformed churches stopped prescribing any particular creed. [19]

Latter Day Saints

Within the sects of the Latter Day Saint movement, the Articles of Faith are a list composed by Joseph Smith as part of an 1842 letter sent to "Long" John Wentworth, editor of the Chicago Democrat . It is canonized with the "Bible", the "Book of Mormon", the "Doctrine & Covenants" and Pearl of Great Price , as part of the standard works of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Creedal works include:

Jewish creed

Whether Judaism is creedal in character has generated some controversy. Rabbi Milton Steinberg wrote that "By its nature Judaism is averse to formal creeds which of necessity limit and restrain thought" and asserted in his book Basic Judaism (1947) that "Judaism has never arrived at a creed." The 1976 Centenary Platform of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, an organization of Reform rabbis, agrees that "Judaism emphasizes action rather than creed as the primary expression of a religious life."

Others,[ who? ] however, characterize the Shema Yisrael [Deut. 6:4] as a creedal statement in strict monotheism embodied in a single prayer: "Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One" (Hebrew : שמע ישראל אדני אלהינו אדני אחד; transliterated Shema Yisrael Adonai Eloheinu Adonai Echad).

A notable statement of Jewish principles of faith was drawn up by Maimonides as his 13 Principles of Faith. [20]

Islamic creed

The shahada, the two-part statement that "There is no god but God; Muhammad is the messenger of God" is often popularly called "the Islamic creed" and its utterance is one of the "five pillars". [21]

In Islamic theology, the term most closely corresponding to "creed" is ʿaqīdah (عقيدة) The first such creed was written as "a short answer to the pressing heresies of the time" is known as Al-Fiqh Al-Akbar and ascribed to Abū Ḥanīfa. [22] [23] [23] Two well known creeds were the Fiqh Akbar II [24] "representative" of the al-Ash'ari, and Fiqh Akbar III, "representative" of the Ash-Shafi'i. [22]

Iman (Arabic : الإيمان) in Islamic theology denotes a believer's religious faith . [25] [26] Its most simple definition is the belief in the six articles of faith, known as arkān al-īmān.

  1. Belief in God
  2. Belief in the Angels
  3. Belief in Divine Books
  4. Belief in the Prophets
  5. Belief in the Day of Judgment
  6. Belief in God's predestination

See also

Related Research Articles

Arianism is a nontrinitarian Christological doctrine which asserts the belief that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who was begotten by God the Father at a point in time, a creature distinct from the Father and is therefore subordinate to him, but the Son is also God. Arian teachings were first attributed to Arius, a Christian presbyter in Alexandria of Egypt. The term "Arian" is derived from the name Arius; it was not a self-chosen designation but bestowed by hostile opponents—and never accepted by those on whom it had been imposed. The nature of Arius's teaching and his supporters were opposed to the theological views held by Homoousian Christians, regarding the nature of the Trinity and the nature of Christ. The Arian concept of Christ is based on the belief that the Son of God did not always exist but was begotten within time by God the Father.

Sola Scriptura is a theological doctrine held by some Christian denominations that the Christian scriptures are the sole source of authority for Christian faith and practice.

Christian Church Term used to refer to the whole group of people belonging to the Christian religious tradition

The Christian Church, also called the holy catholic church, is a Christian ecclesiological concept of a church invisible comprising all Christians. In this understanding, "Christian Church" or "catholic church" does not refer to a particular Christian denomination but to the "body" of all "believers", both defined in various ways. Other Christian traditions believe that these terms apply only to a specific concrete Christian institution, such as the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Oriental Orthodox Churches, or the Assyrian Church of the East; or to a group of institutions, as in the branch theory taught by some Anglicans.

Catholicity is a concept pertaining to beliefs and practices widely accepted across numerous Christian denominations, most notably those that describe themselves as Catholic in accordance with the Four Marks of the Church, as expressed in the Nicene Creed of the First Council of Constantinople in 381: "[I believe] in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church."

Free Reformed Churches of North America

The Free Reformed Churches of North America (FRCNA) is a theologically conservative federation of churches in the Dutch Calvinist tradition with congregations in the United States and Canada. It officially adopted its current name in 1974.

Ecumenical creeds umbrella term used in the Western Church to refer to the Nicene Creed, the Apostles Creed and, less commonly, the Athanasian Creed

Ecumenical creeds is an umbrella term used in Lutheran tradition to refer to three creeds: the Nicene Creed, the Apostles' Creed and the Athanasian Creed. These creeds are also known as the catholic or universal creeds.

Ordinance is a term for religious rituals whose intent is to demonstrate an adherent's faith. Typical examples include baptism and communion, as practiced in the Christian traditions such as Anabaptists, all Baptist churches, Churches of Christ groups, and Pentecostal churches. Ordinance is not to be confused with sacrament.

Four Marks of the Church four adjectives—“one, holy, catholic and apostolic”—attributed to the Church according to the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed

The Four Marks of the Church, also known as the Attributes of the Church, is a term describing four distinctive adjectives—"one, holy, catholic and apostolic"—of traditional Christian ecclesiology as expressed in the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed completed at the First Council of Constantinople in AD 381: "[We believe] in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church." This ecumenical creed is today recited in the liturgy of the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Churches, the Oriental Orthodox Churches, the Church of the East, the Moravian Church, the Lutheran Churches, the Methodist Churches, the Presbyterian Churches, the Anglican Communion and by members of many Reformed Churches.

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A number of Christian denominations assert that they alone represent the one true church – the church to which Jesus gave his authority in the Great Commission. The Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Oriental Orthodox communion and the Assyrian Church of the East each understands itself as the one and only original church. The claim to the title of the "one true church" relates to the first of the Four Marks of the Church mentioned in the Nicene Creed: "one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church". The concept of schism somewhat moderates the competing claims between some churches – one can potentially repair schism. For example, the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches each regard the other as schismatic rather than heretical.

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ECO: A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians

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The Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in the USA began to send missionaries to Mexico.

The Reformed Church of Christ in Nigeria was formed in 1973 when a split occurred in the Christian Reformed Church of Nigeria. It consists of people of the Kuteb tribe, through multi-ethnic ministry is being pursued in other areas. In 1979 the church was officially recognised by the Nigerian government. In 1993 the church changed its name from Church of Christ in Nigeria to the current name. Since 1973 the church is growing rapidly. The denomination has about 500,000 members in hundreds of congregation and house fellowships.

Evangelical Church of the River Plate

The Evangelical Church of the River Plate is a United, Protestant denomination with congregations in Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay. It is named after the Río de la Plata Basin, where the majority of its congregations are located. The IERP was affiliated with the Evangelical Church in Germany from 1934–1965, when it became independent. The church ordains women as ministers and supported civil unions and same-sex marriage. It has approximately 27,500 members.

The Reformed Calvinist Church of El Salvador is Reformed denomination in El Salvador, that adheres to the Westminster Confession of Faith, the Second Helvetic Confession, Heidelberg Catechism, Apostles Creed, Nicene Creed and the Athanasian Creed. It was organised in 1979, and maintains a Reformed Biblical Centers for lay training. In 2004 the denomination had 3,212 members and 6 congregations and 10 house fellowships. It is a member of the World Communion of Reformed Churches. The Calvinist Reformed Church is affiliated with the Christian Reformed Church in North America.

The Fellowship of Reformed Baptist Churches in New Zealand is a Reformed Baptist denomination in New Zealand. It holds to the early creeds the Apostles Creed, Athanasian Creed and Nicene Creed, and also to the Reformation distinctives, the Belgic Confession, the Canons of Dort, Heidelberg Catechism and the Westminster Confession of Faith and also to the five solae. The 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith is the Reformed Baptist Confession.

References

  1. Harn, Roger van (2004). Exploring and Proclaiming the Apostles' Creed. A&C Black. p. 58. ISBN   9780819281166.
  2. Johnson, Phillip R. "The Nicene Creed." Archived 2009-03-14 at the Wayback Machine Accessed 17 May 2009
  3. "Proclaiming the Shahada is the First Step Into Islam." Archived 2009-03-03 at the Wayback Machine Islamic Learning Materials. Accessed: 17 May 2009. See also "The Shahada, or Shahāda / kalimatu-sh-shahādah / kelime-i şehadet." A. Ismail Mohr. Accessed: 28 May 2012
  4. Deut 6:4
  5. Justo L. Gonzalez, The Story of Christianity, 2nd ed., Vol. 1, p. 77.
  6. see Wolfhart Pannenberg, Jesus—God and Man translated Lewis Wilkins and Duane Pribe (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1968) p. 90; Oscar Cullmann, The Early church: Studies in Early Christian History and Theology, ed. A. J. B. Higgins (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1966) p. 66; R. E. Brown, The Virginal Conception and Bodily Resurrection of Jesus (New York: Paulist Press, 1973) p. 81; Thomas Sheehan, First Coming: How the Kingdom of God Became Christianity (New York: Random House, 1986) pp. 110, 118; Ulrich Wilckens, Resurrection translated A. M. Stewart (Edinburgh: Saint Andrew, 1977) p. 2; Hans Grass, Ostergeschen und Osterberichte, Second Edition (Gottingen: Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht, 1962) p. 96; Grass favors the origin in Damascus.
  7. Kiefer, James E. "The Nicene Creed." Archived 2009-03-14 at the Wayback Machine Accessed 17 May 2009
  8. "The Belgic Confession". Reformed.org. Retrieved 2013-01-23.
  9. "Guido de Bres". Prca.org. 2000-04-20. Retrieved 2013-01-23.
  10. "The Savoy Declaration 1658 – Contents". Reformed.org. Retrieved 2013-01-23.
  11. "Confession of Faith of the Calvinistic Methodists or Presbyterians of Wales".
  12. Martin, Harold S.: "Forward", "Basic Beliefs Within the Church of the Brethren".
  13. "Creeds—Any Place in True Worship?", Awake!, October 8, 1985, ©Watch Tower, page 23, "The opening words of a creed invariably are, “I believe” or, “We believe.” This expression is translated from the Latin word “credo,” from which comes the word “creed.” ...What do we learn from Jesus’ words? That it is valueless in God’s eyes for one merely to repeat what one claims to believe. ...Thus, rather than memorizing or repeating creeds, we must do what Jesus said"
  14. Maxwell, Bill. "Leading the Unitarian Universalist Association, a faith without a creed." St. Petersburg Times. Apr 11, 2008
  15. 1 2 Avis, Paul (2002) The Christian Church: An Introduction to the Major Traditions, SPCK, London, ISBN   0-281-05246-8
  16. Scott, Harp. "George A. Klingman". Restoration History. Buford Church of Christ. Retrieved 2015-09-19.
  17. p. 227
  18. Spong, John S. The sins of Scripture. HarperCollins, 2005. ISBN   978-0-06-076205-6, p. 226
  19. Rudolf Gebhard:Apostolikumsstreit in German , French and Italian in the online Historical Dictionary of Switzerland ,2011-01-27.
  20. "Maimonides' Principles: The Fundamentals of Jewish Faith", in The Aryeh Kaplan Anthology, Volume I, Mesorah Publications, 1994
  21. "Islam Guide: What Are the Five Pillars of Islam?". www.islam-guide.com. Retrieved 2017-02-03.
  22. 1 2 Glasse, Cyril (2001). New Encyclopedia of Islam (Revised ed.). Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. p. 105.
  23. 1 2 Abu Hanifah An-Nu^man. "Al- Fiqh Al-Akbar" (PDF). aicp.org. Retrieved 14 March 2014.
  24. "Al-Fiqh Al-Akbar II With Commentary by Al-Ninowy". Archived from the original on 2014-03-15. Retrieved 2017-09-08.
  25. Farāhī, Majmū‘ah Tafāsīr, 2nd ed. (Faran Foundation, 1998), 347.
  26. Frederick M. Denny, An Introduction to Islam, 3rd ed., p. 405

Further reading