Creeds? Historicity?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Luke2427, Jun 6, 2011.

?

The Apostle's, Nicene and Athanasian Creeds and some confessions:

  1. I hold them in VERY high regard and count a man a heretic who opposes at least the ecumenical creeds

    8 vote(s)
    53.3%
  2. I think they are somewhat useful; one should adhere to most of what is in them

    5 vote(s)
    33.3%
  3. I do not need the creeds or any man to teach me anything about theology- I have the Holy Ghost!

    1 vote(s)
    6.7%
  4. SERVETUS!!!

    1 vote(s)
    6.7%
  1. Luke2427

    Luke2427
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    It seems to me one of the greatest problems of this culture is a lack of knowledge- particularly historically and theologically speaking.

    The result of this is, it appears to me, a total depreciation of the Historic Christian Faith.

    This, once again- to me, seems to be horrifically, abominably arrogant. It manifests itself in statements like: "I don't follow men- I FOLLOW JESUS!" and "I don't CARE what men have said; I go with the BIBLE!" and my favorite: "The Bible says that we have no need that any man teach us because we have the Spirit!"- as if the men who gave us the creeds were not men of the Bible who believed in, even before the phrase was coined, sola Scriptura.

    But we do have this rich history wherein many of the greatest minds the world has ever known have met in great councils and hammered out Christian orthodoxy for us.

    The results of these WONDERFUL works are the great creeds (particularly the Ecumenical Creeds) and confessions given to us throughout history.

    To me they are intensely valuable.

    Do you value them?

    Do you hold in high regard the importance of historicity?

    Or do you just go to church and read your Bible for yourself and whatever pops in your mind while you read it must be from the Spirit of God and who cares what the church has worked out over hundreds of years and throughout unspeakable conflict?
     
    #1 Luke2427, Jun 6, 2011
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  2. menageriekeeper

    menageriekeeper
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    Well this is me. However history is important. No reason to make the same mistakes all over again.

    If they encourage you and help you in your walk with God, that's great. But if you blindly follow them because they have the "weight of history" behind them, then you might need to rethink your position. Keep reading.

    I find them an interesting historical record. But I do not believe them to be any more authoritative than say the sermon you preached on Sunday. Both have to be held in the light of scripture.

    History is important. But it must be confined to its place and not elevated to a pedestal. Before approximately 1700 there was no freedom of thought. You believed what you were told to believe and most people didn't have a copy of scripture to compare with what the religious folk of the day were saying.

    Certainly for most of Christian history, beginning with Rome's "conversion" to Christianity, the "Christian church" didn't hold much with the views of the apostles. Which apostle called for Christ to be forced on the people? Which one called for war against non-believers? Which called for "heretics" to be put to death? No, what the RC and even the so-called Reformers taught wasn't what the apostles believed. "Culture of the times" doesn't excuse the atrocities performed by some in these times in the name of God.

    And we need to remember that so we don't go down the same path.

    I don't know that many do that. It's possible to read both the commentaries of the past and scripture and still suspect/reject the teaching of men in the past because their political alliances/views taint their testimony. It is also possible to find the meat of their teaching while rejecting the bones. They weren't all wrong, neither were they all right. They were just men who who had to survive this world and make the same choices we have to make today.


    btw there wasn't a poll option I could choose so I didn't vote.

    Good topic, Luke!
     
  3. Luke2427

    Luke2427
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    I don't think this is you. I think what you mean is that you believe the Word of God alone is the source of real authority when it comes to faith and practice.

    What I am lambasting here is the idea that one does not ever need assistance from people wiser or more gifted than themselves to understand much of what is IN the Word of God.

    IMO, every Christian ought to have the humility to recognize that in nearly two thousand years of Church History there have been MANY Christians more gifted to understand Scripture than themselves.

    We ought to have the humility to study what they have uncovered.

    We have a wealth of knowledge concerning what the Word of God teaches us thrown right into our laps dug up by hundreds of years of great, God-gifted Christian minds.

    It is arrogance to disregard that or to denigrate it at all.

    That's not the point.

    The point is that we NEED them. We might survive spiritually without them, but if we are to be what we can be we need them. God gave them to us.

    They are not infallible, but MOST of them are smarter (more anointed or whatever you want to call it) than MOST of us.

    It is arrogance to disregard them- in fact, imo, it is arrogance to not pursue them with great vigor.

    I find them an interesting historical record. But I do not believe them to be any more authoritative than say the sermon you preached on Sunday. Both have to be held in the light of scripture.

    I do not think you have thoroughly thought through the implications of what you are saying here.

    I alone do not possess the wisdom of the 220-318 bishops who sat on the Council of Nicaea and resisted Arius (ultimately all but two of them resisted Arius).

    My sermon cannot logically be as authoritative as the complied wisdom of those 318 men. Probably each one of them was wiser than me, more educated than me, more gifted than me (it makes sense that God would highly gift men in that age to deal with the great heresy that they faced in that age). I know beyond a doubt that I do not compare in wisdom and gifts to Athanasius. Plus it must be noted that these 318 stood upon the shoulders of hundreds of others before them who had debated and worked these things out.

    The cumulative wisdom that undergirded this ONE COUNCIL cannot be estimated.

    But I am speaking about the cumulative wisdom that gave us the great creeds and confessions of centuries beyond a thousand YEARS of wisdom.

    Do you not see that to disregard or devalue at all such a gift from God is great presumption?


    I do not think this is accurate. This DOES describe the Medieval time period with its highly hierarchical societal structure- it was the motive of the Roman Catholic church for centuries- but the Reformation crippled that structure which was already severely fracture by the time Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the church in Wittenberg.



    I think this is inaccurate. I agree that Rome making Christianity the official religion of the empire was fraught with problems. I oppose the idea of a state church as do you. But I actually think that it was at the Council of Nicaea when and where the Church SETTLED the matter of the view of the Apostle's once and for all. This occurred during the very reign and at the beckoning and under the supervision of the man responsible for making Christianity a state religion- Emperor Constantine.

    This was an error of that age- no doubt. But we have different errors in this age which they did not have- errors which are AT LEAST as grievous.

    Each age has its own errors. We do not discount the good that comes from those ages just because there was also bad in them.

    Otherwise we would not honor fallen vets because some of them committed atrocities; we would not salute the flag because most of the founders owned slaves, etc...

    again- a problem in that age.

    In defense of this one, I am not saying I am for it, but it is in the Bible. the Old Testament counts as the Bible and God told Moses to execute what amounts to heretics.

    This is simply not true.

    With what in the below do you think the Apostle' did not teach:

    Yea, but it really should put it in context.

    As we need to remember the creeds and confessions so that we do not repeat the error of Sabellius and Arius and Montanus and Pelagius, etc...

    We need to do homage to the five solas so that we do not slip into the error of popery and priestcraft.

    This is the point.



    Many do this.

    They know nothing of the Historic Christian faith and do not care to know and think they know all they need to know because they have the Holy Spirit.

    But the same Holy Spirit resided in these men and gifted them to teach us things we need to know concerning what is in the Word of God.

    Ephesians 4:11-13
    And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

    Do you not think the third option is pretty close to what you believe?
    Thanks and thanks for participating!:thumbsup:
     
  4. menageriekeeper

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    Are we NT Christians under the Law? Did Christ or any of the apostles affirm this precedent? I don't think so.

    Which of the Nicene Creed to I believe the apostles didn't teach? This part corrupts the whole: "And I believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins;"

    I don't believe the apostles taught that there should be ONE church, but rather local churches who cooperated with one another. Yes, the early Church looked to Jerusalem for leadership but that was more because that is where most of the apostles were located than because the apostles wanted a single church hierachy such as the RC.

    I also don't believe one MUST be baptised for the remission of sins. Sorry. The theif didn't hop off the cross and go get baptised. Christ set the precedence. I DO believe one ought to be baptised as a sign of their belief, but that has little to do with the mechanics of salvation. Salvation is complete upon belief in Jesus Christ.

    No, I'm better described as the first half on number 2 "they are somewhat useful" and the last half of number 3 "I have the Holy Spirit for guidance" but with the addition of "all should be compared to scripture" which wasn't an option at all. Polls have their limitations.
     
    #4 menageriekeeper, Jun 6, 2011
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  5. Luke2427

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    This is for another debate as it does not relate to the OP. I'll just say that the Apostle's do not have to AFFIRM something in the Old Testament for it to apply.

    In order for something in the Old Testament NOT to apply the Apostles have to negate it by indicating that it has already been fulfilled in Christ.

    I honestly believe that all theologians- Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist, Anglican, Lutheran, etc... ascribe to that line.

    You just have to understand it in context.

    Catholic has nothing to do with the Roman Catholic Church as it is today. It simply means "one universal church".

    etc...


    That is not true. Christ said, "I will build my CHURCH..." -that is one universal church.

    The only ones I know of who oppose this idea are some Independent Baptists and Missionary Baptists. Are you one of those?
    I am not in support of a singular human hierarchy. But I recognize that the church that Christ came to build is one.

    Local churches make up the one church.

    That is not the essence of the teaching here in the creed. It is simply saying the same thing that Ephesians 4:4-6 states:
    There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

    We really are baptized for the remission of sins- but it is a spiritual baptism. The Spirit baptizes us into Christ. We therefore believe there is one baptism for the remission of sins. It is true that water baptism has been taken more seriously throughout history than most of us take it today as more closely related to to that spiritual baptism, but the fact remains that there is ONE baptism for the remission of sins.



    Any option thus stated, imo, reduces the creeds to uselessness.

    If we are just going to go to the Bible and ignore them or not study them as a tool to possibly help us to understand the Bible- then they are basically useless- at the very least they are no more useful than a common bible commentary.

    I think to reduce them to that level is terrible error.
     
    #5 Luke2427, Jun 6, 2011
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  6. go2church

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    Creeds can be useful, but no one has been able to show me how "affirming" a particular creed is any guarantee of doctrinal purity. There is plenty of room to wiggle around with any of these creeds.

    No creed but the Bible! (even though I know this leaves the door open for lots of discussion and difference)
     
  7. asterisktom

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    OK. I voted for number two. I see that three people so far see me as a heretic. Oh well.

    I used to value the creeds a lot more than I do now, yet I still see them as quite useful.

    But here is the problem. The creeds - and the creed proclaimers - will not abide with "quite useful". They settle for nothing less than setting them up as Shibboleths. And to do so is to place them in frictional antithesis against the only thing that should be our rule and canon of faith and practice, the Word of God. We could learn a lesson from those early Christians of Berea who, having before them the Apostle Paul, whose words are eminently more trustworthy than any creeds, still held his words up to the Scriptural light. This is what we should do.

    I know that people like Keith Matthison and, to a lesser extent, RC. Sproul have held up creeds higher than is warranted. But I think earlier writers like John Owen, though he was instrumental in formulating the WCF, had the right idea: Counsels and creeds have no Scriptural precedence, and we must always be careful to maintain them as ministerial tools (if that) rather than magisterial impositions.

    More on John Owen and his view on creeds and church councils can be found on the other thread I started here today, "You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God", which is a review of part of Owen's "Christologia".

    Parting comment: It is ironic that many of those who speak too highly of creeds, desiring to use them as canons (or maybe "cannons"!) of faith and practice, still love the phrase "Semper Reformanda". The two cannot mutually exist. It is either "semper" or "set in stone".
     
    #7 asterisktom, Jun 6, 2011
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  8. Jerome

    Jerome
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    Exhibit A:
     
  9. asterisktom

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    Well, Owen was instrumental in formulating it - Do you know what that word means, Jerome? "serving as a means or influence; helpful" .

    Shall I recommend a biography on Owen, or perhaps the pertinent volume on the WCF in Warfield's set?

    Or do you want to continue to demonstrate more peevishness than knowledge?
     
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  10. glfredrick

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    I didn't vote because there really isn't a choice for my perspective.

    I find the creeds of Christendom very valuable, very informative (each is backed by a Council who wrestled with some major tenet of Christianity), and they have served to guide the Church for close to 2000 years, most of which saw a general populace who were not capable of reading and who needed some bedrock doctrine to hold the essentials of the faith.

    I do not, however, see creeds as binding in the same way that some Protestant denominations see them (I was raised under a system like that and the general membership are sorely lacking in theological knowledge and basic understanding of biblical truth), nor do I hold them as "sacred" in the RC tradition.

    IF we are going to discuss creeds, perhaps we should take a few of the common creeds apart line-by-line and see if we agree or disagree with what they actually say. I suspect that people who have an argument with the historical creeds of the faith probably have that argument based on some mistaken notion that creeds are against our faith in some way rather than the fact that the creeds actually say something un-biblical.
     
  11. preachinjesus

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    I voted for number two because the historical confessions/creeds of the early church are helpful.
     
  12. Ruiz

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    When talking theology, I agree with the phrase, "If it is new it probably is not true. If it is true it probably is not new."

    Now, that does not make everything in history true, but I do believe that theology relies heavily on historic theology.

    While Creeds are not inspired like the Bible, I think they have a great part in our history in pointing us towards orthodoxy. Of course, some creeds are heretical and some are valid. However, in the Protestant realm there seems to be a clear definition of orthodoxy and heresy, and grace on non-essentials that has been outlined throughout our history.

    The American expirament led to many rejecting any type of authority to include creeds and confessions. In my opinion, their radical expurgating of these creeds led to much greater errors and greater problems. No one became a heretic for embracing confessions like the Westminster. Rather, those who became heretical in that tradition did so by rejecting the WCF. While we have to measure the confession by the Word of God, they are great in outlining orthodoxy.
     
    #12 Ruiz, Jun 6, 2011
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  13. Jerome

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    Yes, please (try to) cite any secondary source that says that Owen was instrumental in formulating the WCF.

    I'll let Owen speak for himself:

    [writing about the Westminster Assembly]

    "If it shall be asked then, why did they not formerly agree in the assembly? I answer, (1.) I was none of them, and cannot tell."

    Works of John Owen
     
  14. asterisktom

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    I am not going to go through your pointless hoops. JO was not a signatory, but he was advisory, especially in the early stages. I am almost positive I picked that up from Warfield, but also from someone else (Piper perhaps?).

    I am in the process of moving. Those books are packed. Plus, I have too many irons in the fire. This is a relatively unimportant issue. Anyway, I certainly don't want to prolong a deeper discussion with a rude person like you. Think what you want.
     
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  15. Luke2427

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    Sproul holds creeds in their proper perspective- not as Scripture but as solid representations of essential Christian doctrines.

    I think we all should see them that way.

    The failure to do so has given us United Pentecostalism, Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, Rob Bell and many heretics within what are supposed to be orthodox churches that have forgotten them.

    I do appreciate that you do consider them useful, nonetheless.

    If most people would just come that far, not far enough imo, but at least that far it would help our culture greatly.
     
    #15 Luke2427, Jun 6, 2011
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  16. Luke2427

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    Very good thoughts. I concur.:thumbsup:
     
  17. Rippon

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    John Owen was not part of the formers of the WCoF. He was on the small team that made up the Savoy which leaned heavily on the WCoF.
     
  18. asterisktom

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    Yes, I know that. This came later.
     
  19. menageriekeeper

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    :laugh: My slip is showing! I was baptised in a Missionary Baptist Church and raised by Independent Baptist parents (who skipped from church to church and sometime denom to denom but stuck with IFB concepts).

    And I agree with you. But the creeds were written in a time when the general culture of the time would understand there was only ONE church and that was the RC (or later on the Church of England). There was no true independence from being a part of the bigger group unless you wanted to die (or be persecuted unmercifully). So while you and I might make the distinction other less educated in the scriptures might not.

    If that is so, why not just quote the scripture? It's in plain King's English. Because by changing just ever so slightly it allowed for the teaching that the RC was the only true church (or later on the CoE and later still other groups that seek to claim such). And on top of that it gives a list "rules" that must be followed in order to be part of that "catholic" church and those rules can be interpreted any way any group wishes to interpret them. For instance, you and I aren't considered truely baptised by the Catholic Church (and some other groups) because we didn't undergo the process *their* way.

    Sola Scriptura is the most useful "creed" out there. :)
     
  20. revmwc

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    Creeds and Hypocracy oh wait you said historicity are they close to the same thing?
     

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