By Andrew Arndt, who is a teaching pastor at New Life Church and lives in Colorado Springs with his wife Mandi and four kids.
In the candlelit basement of our church plant, we huddled together each week and took the ancient confession on our lips:
Words - Course - Words - Nicene-Constantinopolitan - Creed
I suspect you know these words rather well – or at least are familiar with them. They are, of course, the words of the ancient Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed.
One of the more encouraging trends, in my opinion, in the current North American evangelical scene is the resurgence of interest in the faith and practice of the ancient church. The Creed tends to figure prominently in that resurgence, and many evangelical churches are going so far as to adopt the Creed as their statement of faith, replacing congregation-specific statements with this more encompassing and ecumenical statement of the faith.
Positive - Trend - Creed - Faith - Authors
Positive as the trend may be, it is still worth asking: “Does embracing the Creed mean that we have embraced the faith of its authors?”
Lewis Ayers tackles this exact question in his magnificent book Nicaea and its Legacy (2004), and in this post, I’d like to leverage his insights to make some suggestions on what it might mean for us to truly embody the spirit of Nicaea beyond a mere surface agreement with the Creed’s dogmatic claims.
Idea - Front
Here’s the big idea I want to put in front of you:
When most of us first learn about the formation of the Creed, we learn of a squabble between a priest (Arius) and a bishop (Alexander) that eventually metastasized into a full-blown, empire-wide theological controversy on the identity of Jesus of Nazareth. The narrative is helpful as a starting point, as far as it goes, but can easily leave one with the impression that a group of church leaders with too much time (and maybe power?)...
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