Ecumenical Creed Essay

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Four Ecumenical Creeds of Christianity I. INTRUDUCTION The term “creed” is derived from the Latin “credo” which means "I believe." In this context, a creed is a systematic summarization of religious theories and beliefs. It would be difficult if not impossible to study the general history of Christianity and specifically Christian Theology without studying these ecumenical creeds: The Apostle’s Creed, The Nicene Creed, The Chalcedonian Creed and The Athenasian Creed. These creeds serve to demarcate the doctrinal substance and boundaries of orthodox Christian theology. These four creeds represent the culmination of several hundred years of early Christian debate centered on what eventually became known as the doctrine of the trinity. The…show more content…
THE APOSTLE’S CREED The Apostle’s Creed, (see Appendix IV) sometimes called the Symbolum Apostolicum is the broadest summary of the core ingredients of the early Christian faith. It is the basis and foundation for the subsequent ecumenical creeds. In its most ancient embodiment, the Old Roman Form, it predates all other creeds. Legend credits it to the 12 apostles. However, the available evidence says that its origins are more likely in the first or second century, and in its current form it dates to about the sixth to the eighth century. The Roman Catholic Church uses the Apostles Creed in the celebration of mass and when reciting the Rosary. Many non-Catholic denominations also use the Apostles Creed. The only real sticking point to this creed being truly ecumenical seems to be the word “Catholic”. Most denominations use the creed unchanged from the original form but some Protestant churches make the creed palatable using various methods. Luther used “Christian” in lieu of “Catholic”. ( Bente 21) Some make the “c” in Catholic lower case. (Samples 102) Some substitute “universal” (Humphrey 102) while a few others just remove the offending word…show more content…
Because this clause was later unilaterally added by the Roman Catholic bishops without input by the Eastern Orthodox bishops, it became one of the major issues which caused the 1054 a.d. Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox schism. The Eastern Orthodox Church has never utilized the Nicene Creed with the filioque clause. Frank Gavin observes, “No single difference between East and West has aroused so much bitterness on the part of Orthodox writers as has the matter of the Filioque.” (Gavin 138) On a positive note, the Nicene Creed is the only one of the Ecumenical Creeds recognized by all three divisions of Christendom: Protestant, Roman Catholic, and Eastern

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