"The Gospel"

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by Thomas Helwys, Jun 12, 2013.

  1. Thomas Helwys

    Thomas Helwys
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    Since I began studying church history and theology many years ago, I have been aware that there are a great many versions of just what "the Gospel" is. And participating on these various forums reinforces that.

    So, just what comprises "the Gospel" depends on the individual and group presenting it. What constitutes "faith in Jesus" means one thing to one person or tradition and something almost entirely different to another.

    Considering this, I have really become weary of denominationalism. I cherish the Baptist principles, and I have loved to study history and doctrine, and I still think doctrine is very important....... but I am coming to the place where I wonder if it would be best to try to have a basic statement of belief that most or all could agree on, like the Apostles Creed, and then just let everyone believe as he/she is lead. Certainly that would cut way down on the hostility exhibited between and among the various viewpoints. And then Christians could spend our time loving one another and showing the fruits of the spirit rather than acrimoniously trying to convince each other that our particular version of "the Gospel" is right and everyone else's is wrong.

    So, let me ask this: Is there anyone here who could not affirm the Apostles Creed?

    Traditional English Version

    I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.

    And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

    I believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy catholic Church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. AMEN.


    Modern English Version

    I believe in God, the Father almighty,
    creator of heaven and earth.

    I believe in Jesus Christ, God's only Son, our Lord,
    who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
    born of the Virgin Mary,
    suffered under Pontius Pilate,
    was crucified, died, and was buried;
    he descended to the dead.
    On the third day he rose again;
    he ascended into heaven,
    he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
    and he will come again to judge the living and the dead.

    I believe in the Holy Spirit,
    the holy catholic church,
    the communion of saints,
    the forgiveness of sins,
    the resurrection of the body,
    and the life everlasting. AMEN.
     
  2. The Biblicist

    The Biblicist
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    Agreement on common language does not mean agreement on common meaning of that language.
     
  3. Thomas Helwys

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    I am well aware of that. But I am wondering if there are essentials that sum up the Christian faith, such that if a person believes that, this is all that's necessary. And I'm wondering if a confession such as the Apostles Creed embodies those essentials. If so, then maybe the non-essentials could be discussed without such acrimony, exclusiveness, and the idea that "I'm right and you're wrong," or "My view is closest to God and yours is very far down the line, if acceptable at all."

    Maybe we should listen to what Paul said about all seeing through a glass, darkly, instead of having the attitude that "I see perfectly clearly and you see through a glass, darkly."

    If we had the humility that Paul talks about, we would treat each other in a more Christlike manner.

    So, I ask again: Is the Apostles Creed a sufficient statement of the Christian faith? I say yes.
     
  4. awaken

    awaken
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    What I bolded in and underlined...can you explain what this means?
     
  5. Thomas Helwys

    Thomas Helwys
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    The original meaning and use of the word "catholic" (notice the lowercase 'c') simply meant "universal", not some hierarchical man-made institution which said institution co-opted exclusively for itself later on.
     
  6. Thomas Helwys

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    One of the latest things that prompted this thread was that the HS has been convicting me about my manner of response in some cases here. And I see it also in others. It is unbecoming of those who profess Christ.

    But that is just one aspect of our attitude and beliefs as Christians. With the voluminous variance in doctrine, I think it is time for some humility before the awesomeness and wonder of God.
     
    #6 Thomas Helwys, Jun 12, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 12, 2013
  7. evangelist-7

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    IMO, one non-essential is belief in the Trinity ...
    because Jesus definitely did not teach it to da multitudes on dem dar hills!
    IMO, belief in it generally comes via revelation later.
    And I'm not talking about the blind faith of some who are not BACs.

    .
     
  8. awaken

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    ok...I think I can agree with that...I will read it again!
     
  9. DHK

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    There is much to disagree with, especially in the latter half, partly because of changed definitions.

    "He will come again to judge the living and the dead."
    I don't believe this. First, I believe in two resurrections not just one. He is not coming for judgment. Judgment takes place in heaven. After the rapture believers will face the "Judgment Seat of Christ," and will be judged according to their works, at which time they will either be rewarded or face a loss of reward.
    Not until after the Millennial Kingdom, well after the Second Coming will the Great White Throne Judgment take place.
    Thus to say "that he is coming to judge the living and the dead" is not accurate. That is not the purpose of either the rapture or His Second Coming.

    "Holy catholic church"--technically means universal, as you say, but that is not what most people think it means. Besides that, I don't believe in the universal church. I believe that a universal church will only exist in heaven where it is possible for all believers to gather in one place. The word that is consistently translated "church" is ekklesia, which means "assembly" or "congregation," something which can only be local. I can't agree here either.

    " a communion of saints." This is a RCC term, in which they include the dead. It is the saints in heaven. The term justifies their prayers to Mary and the saints. We are all "one communion" they say. The term is nebulous and has no real defined meaning.

    "the resurrection of the body" I believe in the resurrection, but put this way it is not clear if there is one or two resurrections. Many believe that there is one general resurrection, which I do not believe. Therefore I could not agree unless it is further defined. Even Jesus said "the resurrection of the just and of the unjust."
     
  10. Walter

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    The OP is a breath of fresh air in this forum and, I agree that the Apostles Creed is a statement of what we as Christians believe and was developed very early in the ancient Church. The Nicene Creed is similar, but longer and more developed doctrinally. It was introduced later to combat several heresies--principally Arianism. I know there is one part of the Nicene Creed that many members of this forum would find objectionable.

    Do you think the Apostles Creed is the minimum one must believe to be considered orthodox? What are your thoughts on the Athanasian Creed?
     
  11. The Biblicist

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    If you are asking for opinion, then my opinion is that the Apostles Creed cannot be used as a basis for agreement in regard to the truth of the gospel.

    First, it has no personal application but simply lists statements

    Second, many statements are controversial (1) Christ's descent into hell; (2) holy catholic church; (3) coming to judge the living and dead; etc.

    Third, the essence of the gospel is not stated. It states there is a death, burial and resurrection but no applications and there is no gospel without a Biblical qualfied application. 1 Cor. 15:4-6 lists qualifications "according to the scriptures" and "FOR OUR SINS."


    So no, it provides no gospel whatsoever.
     
  12. Walter

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    In regards to the Nicene Creed, I noticed that for 'ecuemnical purposes' the filioque has been reduced to a footnote in the Anglican Church of North America's liturgy. I know, 'Thomas Helwys' is aware of the controversy surrounding the filoque and here is a question, If our God is one God in three persons, then is not from the Father also from the son since they are one and the same? Perhaps from the Father through the son?
     
  13. salzer mtn

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    Amos 3:3 Can two walk together, except they be agreed ?
     
  14. The Biblicist

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    Another view is that these are merely anthropomorphic expressions contained within covenant redemptive purposes, rather than eternal descriptions of their Persons. Hence, they are personages that do not originate in time or eternity or in regard to each other but are truly "co-eternal" in the absolute sense of the term.
     
  15. Thomas Helwys

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    I understand your concerns, and I know you don't think you're kind of nit-picking some things, but terms like "catholic church" and "communion of saints" must be rescued from their misappropriation by the RCC. Many denominations use these terms in their original meanings.

    Let me ask you this then: If you wrote your own "essentials" in a form like this, what would you say?
     
    #15 Thomas Helwys, Jun 12, 2013
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  16. Thomas Helwys

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    I could almost say that. I don't know if I'd say the "minimum", but I think it is a good and adequate summary of the Christian faith.

    I think the Athanasian Creed is too condemnatory.
     
  17. Thomas Helwys

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    I have an opinion, but, see, here is another area that is a non-essential, it seems to me. My opinion tends to agree with the EOC on this.
     
  18. Thomas Helwys

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    You think two who don't agree will be able to walk together in heaven?
     
  19. salzer mtn

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    In order for people of different beliefs to worship together the preaching would have to be complete milk, no meat at all.
     
  20. The Biblicist

    The Biblicist
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    I think you were attempting to find some kind of unity ON EARTH were you not? No one in heaven will be ungloried or with sin, therefore there will be perfect unity in heaven.

    However, on earth is a completely different matter. On earth we are commanded to "contend for the faith" and that prevents unity with just anyone. However, the same expression "contend for the faith" also implies there is some essentials that can be known and agreed upon or else no one could contend for them.
     

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