The orthodox Christian theology of Hadley Robinson

The Nicene Creed

Notes by Hadley Robinson

This Creed is the touchstone of the Christian faith though not a complete expression of it. The original creed given here does not include "...proceeds from the Father and the Son." The "and the Son" was added by the Latin church in the late 6th century. The Greeks, rightfully, did not like it and it became known as the Filioque controversy which, along with other things, split the Church.

Was this something good in the LORD's eyes? As time progressed, theologians morphed into more and more of a professional class with enough time and money to nit-pick (lacking a better expression).

The Apostolic Church Fathers, on the other hand, were often being hunted down by the LORD's enemies and did not have the luxury of wasting time on matters that were not vital to the Church. What happened to love, obedience, forgiveness, and holiness? Intelligent and thoughtful heathen have pointed this out over the centuries – to our embarrassment.

The creeds from then to now are an effort to separate the sheep and wolves in the visible church. All they seem to have done is to chase off the honest wolves – and little more. Do they have any other use? True Christians can easily confirm the content of the early creeds (the Nicene and the so-called Apostolic), but things get complicated after that.

Suffice it to say, Jesus unequivocally said that His Kingdom was not of this world. The heathen have also pointed this out for centuries, also to our shame. The true Christian is able to affirm the Nicene creed. The phony says it anyway, either unawares of what it means or deliberately convinced that lying to himself is acceptable. It may help us to sum up some core Biblical teaching of who the Christ is, but it is not essential. Martyrs like Perpetua (3rd century A.D.) may have known little more than the truth that Jesus is the Creator-God who saves from sin by His own death and resurrection, not Caesar. That was quite sufficient to get one torn to pieces by wild beasts in the arenas. For a history of the Creed, go here.

We believe in one God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, And of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten son of God, Begotten of his Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, Very God of very God, Begotten, not made, Being of one substance with the Father, By whom all things were made: Who for us men, and for our salvation came down from heaven, And was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, And was made man, And was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate. He suffered and was buried, And the third day he rose again according to the Scriptures, And ascended into heaven, And sitteth on the right hand of the Father. And he shall come again with glory to judge both the quick and the dead: Whose kingdom shall have no end.

And we believe in the Holy Ghost, The Lord and giver of life, Who proceeds from the Father, Who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified, Who spoke by the Prophets. And we believe one Catholic and Apostolic Church. We acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins. And we look for the Resurrection of the dead, And the life of the world to come. Amen.
 For the creed in the original Greek of the Nicene period, go here (Adobe Reader required).