Photo credits

The Embalse de Riano in northern Spain. The picture was taken by .... me!

Tuesday, August 2

The creed

I like this creed in latin gregorian chant.

But do I believe it?

I do, but probably not as originally intended.

... one holy catholic and apostolic church ...Well I think that is intended to mean the Roman Catholic (one excluding the others), and I feel Rome has lost the plot in key areas over the centuries. (One man's tradition being another man's chinese whispers)

... Filioque... I do believe this, but it's addition without the consent of the Orthodox churches casued the great schism, and it's not sufficiently important to impose its addition. I'd rather keep the Orthodox on board.

... One baptism ... yes, but not infant baptism - rather I believe in the baptism described in the Bible where people were baptised after coming to faith (yes, if you read the story of the Philipian jailor to the end they all believed, ie they were all old enough to believe, hence they were baptised. The story tells you there were no infants.)

... and not the sprinkle they have in mind either. It's immersion. Perferably in a flowig river.

... for the remission of sins... no. Baptims is a sign of our faith and more but not for the remission of sins, but the rituals we do don't proide remission from sins: it is faith in Christ's death on our behalf that takes hold of the free remission for sins that he offers.

And then there's the communion of saints. Evangelicals like me say this happily meaning that we (the living believers who are all saints) are a big happy christian family together. But I don't think that's what it means. What it was intended to mean is the surrounding presence of certain deceased individuals elevated by the institution to a non-biblical special status equivalent to that of a minor deity in a pagan pantheon, able to omnipresently hear prayers from all over the world and answer them when God is too busy, especially if you have a macabre bit of his/her body or failing that a picture or idol (I mean statue) with you. This breaches the first comandment.

What I am saying is this:

1) we rattle off the creed without thinking about it
2) It's not such a uniting document as was intended and really is quite specifically Roman Catholic.
3) I don't believe key parts of it (unless I twist its intended meaning which is how I get by each Sunday), but I am still fully confident that I am a true Christian.


  1. I've recently come across your blog. I have to say that I find this writing really quite astonishing. The Nicene Creed is the statement of faith of the Christian Church. It's fully grounded in scripture and is our inheritance of faith "as the Church of England has received it". You cannot be a member of the Catholic Church if you do not believe it. And there is another astonishing thing - that as a Lay Reader licensed by your Bishop to take part in the pastoral care and teaching ministry entrusted to your parish priest you don't know the the word 'Catholic' derives from the Greek καθολικός (katholikos) meaning 'Universal'. The creed has never pertained solely to the Church of Rome. What we are doing when we say 'We believe in one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church' is that we are part of the Universal Body of Christ committed to the care of Bishops as successors to His Apostles. If it meant allegiance to Bishop of Rome, I'd probably choke!

  2. Come on Simon, read this and give a bit of a review please.

    God Bless

  3. Sorry I am only repodning to these comments now, in March 2011. I've not been on top of my blog at all!

    Sanctus Jacobus:

    The Nicene Creed is a statement designed to define the church in the context of the polemics of the day. It ceased to be for the WHOLE church on the day Rome unilaterally added Filioque.
    It is fully grounded in ONE INTERPRETATION of Scripture, one which was made many years ago in the context of church-state politics and scholarship of the day. We now know more. It is unscriptural to say baptism is for the forgiveness of sins - it is the sign of faith that they have already been forgiven.
    Similary it is factually incorrect to say I cannot be a member of the universal church if I disagree with points on the creed. I am a member of the universal church through my faith in the death and resurrection of the divine man Jesus on my behalf. My faith is in Him alone, and it is largely coincidence that my faith is mostly congruent with a creed used by some but not all of the body of Christ.

    Patrick - sorry but the link you gave was broken.