The following articles have been compiled and indexed by inWORD Bible software.
Three of Christianity’s most influential and well-known creeds are compared in the table below.
Creed of the Council of Constantinople, 381
This creed, drawn up at the Council of Constantinople in 381, is often referred to as the “Nicene Creed” and recited in churches. However the creed drawn up at the Council of Nicaea in 325 is significantly different than this creed.
Creed of the Council of Nicaea
The following, the actual creed drawn up at the Council of Nicea in 325, is significantly different than the creed often referred to as the “Nicene Creed.” What is commonly called the “Nicene Creed” and recited in church is actually the Constantinopolitan Creed from the Council of Constantinople in 381.
Letter of the Synod of Antioch (325)
Amazingly, knowledge of this council had been lost until Edward Schwartz published the Syriac of this letter in 1905. Soon two other Syriac editions of this letter were published from other manuscripts. Most scholars now accept the authenticity of this document and the council it describes.
A Review: When Jesus Became God
“Was Jesus Christ God on earth, or was he something else? Three hundred years after the crucifixion, Christians still had not made up their minds about this.” This was what the Arian controversy was all about.
Comments on the Feast of the Holy Trinity
During the great debate at the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D, Emperor Constantine (though he did not wish to go to this meeting) summoned and forced the bishop Arius to attend the council. According to historical accounts, the attendees at this council were split into three factions:
Recommended Reading: When Jesus Became God
When I picked up Richard Rubenstein’s When Jesus Became God: The Epic Fight over Christ’s Divinity in the Last Days of Rome (Harcourt, Brace & Company, 1999), I was stirred wide awake and remained so from start to finish. This is an account of one of the greatest doctrinal battles of early Christianity, and Rubenstein’s lively telling reads like a political thriller. My fascination with this book prompted me to interview the distinguished professor from George Mason University. I wanted to know: how did a secular Jew, a sociologist by training, whose area of expertise centers on Conflict Resolution and Public Affairs, become embroiled in the internecine warfare of Christians in the Fourth Century of the Common Era?
The Trinity Controversy: Alexander, Alexandria, Arius and Nicea
“When modern readers are introduced to the theological debates of the fourth and fifth centuries, they are sometimes shocked by the atmosphere in which they took place. Those debates were not carried on by calm scholars sitting in their manuscript-lined studies. From one perspective, the story is one of misunderstandings, vicious personal attacks, distortions, violence, bribes, mutual excommunication, intervention by emperors, and the deposition and exile of bishops and others who lost in the struggle. From another perspective, the story is one of theological creativity that has shaped Christian beliefs for about fifteen centuries.”
The Catholic Faith
Book 16, the final book of the Theodosian Code, treats religion. The tenor and contents of this book give us a sense of how the imperial court refashioned its own religious authority in the centuries following the legalization of Christianity. Although bishops might attempt to subordinate the imperial house to episcopal authority, the emperors still maintained their role as guardians of religious equilibrium. So emperors convoked Christian councils and legislated on religion.
The Formulation of Dogma: The Christ of the Creeds
We have examined some of the factors which led to the formulation of dogma in the early centuries of the Christian era and we have seen that the controversies and questions centred pre-eminently on the person of Jesus Christ. To review in any detail the steps by which formal definitions on these questions came to be laid down would require far more space than we have available and might prove tedious. It is proposed, however, to indicate in very broad outline the main periods in the development, so that the dogmas which were formed then and still remain part of the orthodox creed of the Established Church may be seen against their proper background.
Must Christians Have a Creed? The Bible Doctrine of God
If the Bible is the Word of God, it follows that Bible teaching concerning God is God’s teaching about Himself. That being so, there seems no reason why any unprejudiced reader of the Scriptures should withhold his assent to any aspect of the Bible doctrine of God. What God reveals about Himself must be true, and if we seek to modify or amend this Bible teaching in any particular, we infer quite definitely that God has given a distorted and therefore false revelation of Himself, and that He cannot therefore be believed in the matter, or else that part of what He has declared is of no consequence, and need not be taken seriously. Each of these alternatives is so evidently untenable that we must dismiss them both. We can only conclude that the sole logical alternative to entire belief is total disbelief. There is no intermediate stage in such a matter.
The Holy Ghost: Must Christians Have a Creed?
“I believe in the Holy Ghost.” This simple affirmation in the Apostles’ Creed commends itself to us because it is not cumbered with abstruse definitions and dubious arguments such as mar the later and much less generally accepted Nicene and Athanasian Creeds.
Must Christians Have a Creed: Who Was Jesus Christ?
Of all the official “creeds” of the principal churches of Christendom, none is so largely Scriptural as is the “Apostles’ Creed” of the Church of England. For whereas the Nicene Creed and the Athanasian Creed seem to be the products of professional theologians, imposed on the members of the Church in order to settle (or stifle) controversy, and appear to bear all the expected signs of prolonged negotiation by successive Church Councils, the Apostles’ Creed, in striking contrast, is eminently suited in form and wording to the ordinary worshipper, and makes a delightfully simple Statement of Faith, which is what a “creed” should be.
The Athanasian Creed, or Quicunque Vult (also Quicumque Vult), is a Christian statement of belief focused on Trinitarian doctrine and Christology. The Latin name of the creed, Quicunque vult, is taken from the opening words, “Whosoever wishes”. The creed has been used by Christian churches since the sixth century. It is the first creed in which the equality of the three persons of the Trinity is explicitly stated. It differs from the Nicene-Constantinopolitan and Apostles’ Creeds in the inclusion of anathemas, or condemnations of those who disagree with the creed (like the original Nicene Creed).
The Arian Controversy
Alex Hall tells the story of how the Christian church vacillated between Arius and Athanasius during the fourth century. By focusing on the dueling Church councils during that period (A.D. 318–381) Alex paints a picture, which, although disturbing to those of us who would like to think that such matters as the nature and identity of Jesus were always clear, accurately describes how politics heavily influenced the development of Christology during that time. And more importantly, how the victors in this controversy changed much of Church history. As George Orwell, once said in 1984:
Athanasius of Alexandria
Saint Athanasius of Alexandria (/ˌæθəˈneɪʃəs/; Greek: Ἀθανάσιος Ἀλεξανδρείας, Athanásios Alexandrías; c. 296–298 – 2 May 373), also called Athanasius the Great, Athanasius the Confessor or, primarily in the Coptic Orthodox Church, Athanasius the Apostolic, was the twentieth bishop of Alexandria (as Athanasius I). His episcopate lasted 45 years (c. 8 June 328 – 2 May 373), of which over 17 were spent in five exiles ordered by four different Roman emperors. Athanasius was a Christian theologian, a Church Father, the chief defender of Trinitarianism against Arianism, and a noted Egyptian leader of the fourth century.