The Importance of Confessions and Creeds

I Love Jesus

Person 1: I love Jesus!

Person 2: I love Jesus too!

Person 1: Well, if you love Jesus and I love Jesus, then we must be Christians

Person 2: Yes, yes, we must be!

But are they really? 

For years, Christians connected along the lines of “I love Jesus, so I am a Christian.”

Nowadays it’s so easy to claim Christianity. Christians connected with anyone who utters the name of Jesus. Embraced churches, materials, people, and resources that bear the name of Jesus. 

But do we really believe and love the same Jesus? The Jesus of the Bible?

Let’s Look at a Little Church History

We are currently studying Church History Survey in the church and Pastor Nicky Joya’s videos have been very enlightening. It has helped us to see where all the errors began and how the creeds and confessions were created and why.

Confessions and creeds are important tools that have been used throughout Church history to articulate and affirm the beliefs of the Christian faith. These statements of belief provide a framework for understanding the nature of God, the Trinity, and the role of the Church in salvation. They also serve as a means of establishing unity and orthodoxy within the Church, especially in times of theological controversy and division.

One of the earliest and most well-known confessions is the Apostles’ Creed, which dates back to the 2nd century AD. The Creed provides a brief summary of Christian belief and is still used in many churches today. Similarly, the Nicene Creed remains a central part of Christian worship and belief. Other confessions and creeds have emerged throughout Church history, such as the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Three Forms of Unity, which have helped to define the beliefs of various denominations and sects. These documents have helped to bridge theological divides and establish a shared sense of faith and purpose among Christians around the world.

Christology and the Nicene Creed

Last Sunday we learned about Christology and how the Nicene Creed came about in Session 5 of the Church History Survey.   

We learned that the Nicene Creed was created as a response to the theological controversies and debates that were raging within the early Christian Church. The most pressing issue was the nature of the Trinity and the relationship between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. In the 3rd and 4th centuries, various teachings emerged, each with their own ideas about the nature of God and the Trinity. The debate centered around Arius, who argued that Jesus Christ was a created being and therefore subordinate to the Father. This belief challenged the orthodox view of the Trinity and threatened to divide the Church.

To address this issue, Emperor Constantine called for a council of bishops to be held in Nicaea in 325 AD. The council was attended by bishops from different churches at the time, and the debate over the nature of the Trinity was fierce. The orthodox view was represented by Athanasius, the bishop of Alexandria, who argued that the Son was of the same substance as the Father and was therefore co-eternal and uncreated. 

After weeks of intense debate, the council ultimately agreed on a statement of belief that became known as the Nicene Creed. The Creed affirmed the belief in the Trinity as three distinct persons – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit – who were of the same substance and co-eternal. The Creed offered a foundation for traditional Christian theology that is still in use today and rejected the Arian heresy.

It also helped to unify the Church and provided a common language and set of beliefs for Christians across the world. Over time, the Nicene Creed became a central part of Christian worship, and it is still recited in churches today. The Nicene Creed remains an important symbol of the historical and theological legacy of the early Christian Church and its enduring influence on the development of Christianity as a whole.

Athanasius and Arius Both Believed in Jesus Christ but…

While both believed in Jesus Christ, that He existed and lived among us, they differed in their belief of His nature, His essence, and His attributes. That is critical in our Christian faith. We cannot merely say we love Jesus Christ or we believe in Him and not know Him. That is how genuine Christians, genuine followers of Christ know and recognize each other because they affirm who Christ truly is.

The early church doesn’t have a physical Bible as we know it today. They don’t have access to it like we do today and the creation of Creeds and Confessions simplified the right doctrine for them and helped them distinguish between what is true and what is false.

Not Everything that has the Word Christian in it is Truly Christ’s

All I’m saying is that we should always be on our guard. Not all who say “I love Jesus” is truly a follower of Christ and not all churches that have “Christian” in their name is truly Christ’s. If we meet someone who says they are followers of Christ but live otherwise, then in love we must correct them. If they listen then God has given us a chance to help them understand who Christ is by the power of the Holy Spirit. Those who love Jesus abide in Him and obey His commandments (1 John 2:3-6; 1 John 3:24). They bear much fruit (John 15:5).

The Creeds and Confessions are not and should not replace our Bibles, but are an excellent guide and tool to remind us of what and who we believe in. Let us exercise constant vigilance in protecting the purity of the Gospel while also being gracious and loving to those who are lost.

For the Taglish version of this article please click here

The Nicene Creed

I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible; And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, begotten of his Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father; by whom all things were made; who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; he suffered and was buried; and the third day he rose again according to the Scriptures, and ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of the Father; and he shall come again, with glory, to judge both the quick and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end.

And I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord, and Giver of Life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son; who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; who spoke by the Prophets. And I believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church; I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins; and I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.

The Apostles Creed

The Nicene Creed

The Three Forms of Unity

The Westminster Confession of Faith

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