Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Nicene Creed Profitable for Summing Up the Faith

From Thomas C. Oden's essay, "The Faith Once Delivered" –

Teachers as varied as Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, and Luther have held that the Nicene Creed is the best of the condensed statements of Christian faith and the most reliable way to learn the heart of faith.  In professing the form of the creed received in Jerusalem, Cyril explains that the believer is helped to keep close to the center of the faith once delivered by the apostles,
which has been built up strongly out of the Scriptures.  For since all cannot read the Scriptures, some being hindered from the knowledge of them by lack of learning, and others because they lack leisure to study, in order that the soul should not be starved in ignorance, the church has condensed the whole teaching of the Faith in a few lines.  This summary I wish you both to commit to memory when I recite it, and to rehearse it with all diligence among yourselves, not writing it out on paper, but engraving it by the memory upon your heart, taking care while you rehearse it that no catechumen may happen to overhear the things which have been delivered to you.  I wish you also to keep this as a provision through the whole course of your life, and beside this to receive no alternative teaching, even if we ourselves should change and contradict our present teaching.  (Catechetical Letters 5.12)
Evangelicals and Nicene Faith: Reclaiming the Apostolic Witness, p. 8-9

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