Wednesday, October 08, 2008

De Facto Creed: What would yours look like?

Many churches confess the Nicene Creed, the only creed ever to be agreed upon in an ecumenical council. Yet most of those churches are not in fellowship. Consider this portion of the creed: "We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic church." While the majority of Christian confess this, there are a few different takes on what it means. It seems to me the de facto creed of churches like mine (Lutheran) has something between the lines:
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic church;
what we received from the apostles we pass along,
neither adding nor taking away.
That is probably close to our de facto creed, that the church and her mission is bound closely and uniquely to the original teaching of Jesus' apostles as their witness to him. Sola Scriptura, to a Lutheran, is the practical working out of the view that the apostolic church has apostolic teachings. Scripture is seen as the deposit of teachings that came from the apostles and therefore the guarantor of apostolic faith.

I hope one of the Roman Catholics will chime in with their comments on what their de facto creed would look like. As best I can tell, it would look more like this:
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic church,
Infallible bulwark against which the gates of hell cannot prevail,
Whose authority is the Bishop of Rome.
I hope I've done that view justice, and again would be glad to hear from the Roman Catholics around.

What about your church? When it comes to what we confess together and the differences that separate us, what is your de facto creed?

3 comments:

japhy said...

The Catholic Church came up with such a document, an embellished Creed, a sort of Confessio cum tropis.

It was given by Pope Paul VI in 1968, entitled Credo Populi Dei, "Credo of the People of God". Paragraph 19 reads: "We believe in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church, built by Jesus Christ on that rock which is Peter."

Tony-Allen said...

I always just accept the Nicene Creed as the Orthodox churches accept it. Actually funny you brought this up, because today I was at a special class with my priest, and he discussed how he's not too fond of the phrasing "Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church" only because some people take it too literally - they think it to mean an organization rather than the body of believers within the church, of whom Christ is the bridegroom.

If we were to reconsider this, I suppose one could say:

And in the holy, catholic, and apostolic church, the earthly body of Christ's heavenly kingdom.

Though I'm sure this can be torn apart by an experienced theologian. Just something off the top of my head.

Weekend Fisher said...

Hi there

Interesting that this isn't the first time it's come up. Though, really, why should it be?

I was hoping we'd also hear from someone who was, say, Anglican/Episcopalian or Methodist or even Baptist or Pentecostal (though I'm not sure the last two confess any creeds). Wonder what those creeds would look like? I'd hate to speculate on any group where I didn't have a good handle on their distinctives. And then the Calvinist creed would surely have to go

I believe in God the father Almighty, Maker of Heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen,
Sovereign over all creation,
Having mercy on whom he pleases ...

or something like that, to cover their focus on Sovereignty as an overriding concern.

Take care & God bless
Anne / WF