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on the role of the Creeds

Categories Theology

Council of Nicea (325)/Creed of Nicea 

The first ecumenical council, convened by the emporor Constantine and attended by 318 bishops. It condemned Arianism and defended the deity of the Son of God, using the term homoousios to affirm that the Son is of the same nature as the Father. 

Gregg Allison, Historical Theology, pg. 742 

Nicaea_iconThis holiday weekend I took some time to listen to an NPR interview with the late Jaroslav Pelikan, who taught history at Yale and did some of his generation's most extensive work on the Christian Creeds.

In the interview he suggests that, even though creeds (like the Nicene creed) are often inherently uncomfortable for modern people, they are exactly what our religious traditions need. His argument being that creeds connect us to other members of the community across both time and space, and that in the end the only substitute for tradition is bad (and unintentional) tradition. 

In a time so far removed from the controversies that sparked the formation of the creeds, and in a context where many Christian traditions have little focus on creeds, what role might they now play, and how might they be reintroduced into our worship, prayer, and preaching?

**As noted by a few commenters today, the quotation from Allison's Historical Theology contained a couple significant mistakes. I can assure you those were entirely my own, I was transcribing out of the book and simply looked at the wrong entry (Council of Ephesus) without realizing it at the time. My apologies for the confusion, the entry has been corrected. 

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