33. The Nicene Creed

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The Nicene Creed: An Introduction. Phillip Cary. 2023. [March] 248 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: The Nicene Creed originated because ancient Christians were appalled. A teacher in one of the most influential churches in the world was trying to get them to speak of Christ and say things like “there was once when he was not” and “he came to be out of nothing.” They had good reason to be appalled. 
What you see is what you get: an introduction to the Nicene Creed. Phillip Cary walks his readers through the Nicene Creed. He does so–in part–by sharing his new translation of the Nicene Creed into English. Cary walks phrase by phrase through the Nicene Creed. He focuses on the original languages, the historical context, the theological/philosophical ramifications of the statements (what the Creed IS saying and what it is not saying; what it includes and what it excludes). For the record, Cary’s Nicene Creed is the expanded confession formulated at the Council of Constantinople in 381. (As opposed to the Creed of Nicaea from 325). He at times discusses traditional renderings and translations of words and phrases. Occasionally he branches out into stories of word origins and associations. [The languages most referenced are Greek, Latin, and of course, English].
He points off by reminding readers that the Nicene Creed was a DEFINITIVE NO, NO, NO to the heretical beliefs creeping into churches. It was affirming what they held to be true, what they held to be biblical. It was denying what they held to be false, what they felt to contradict Scripture’s teachings. He writes, “to say no is to draw a boundary and say: We’re not going there, because that’s not who Christ is.” 
We believe [I believe]
in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all things visible and invisible;
and in one Lord,
Jesus Christ,
the only-begotten Son of God,
who was begotten of the Father before all ages,
[God from God,]
Light from Light,
True God from True God,
begotten, not made,
having the same being as the Father,
through whom all things came to be;
who for us human beings and for our salvation
came down from heaven,
and was incarnate
from the Holy Spirit
and the Virgin Mary
and became human,
and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate,
and suffered
and was buried,
and rose again on the third day according to the Scriptures,
and ascended into heaven,
and sits at the right hand of the Father,
and shall come again in glory
to judge the living and the dead,
of whose kingdom there shall be no end;
and in the Holy Spirit,
the Lord and Giver of Life,
who proceeds from the Father
[and from the Son],
who with the Father and Son together is worshiped and co-glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets;
in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church.
We confess one baptism for the forgiveness of sins;
we look for the resurrection of the dead
and the life of the age to come.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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