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What are creeds and confessions?

by Paul Helm

At a time when Christian people are taken up with issues of human conduct and gender, and it seems that doctrine of God has been left behind, it is a great thing that people are discussing the Trinity. This post is about what sort of documents creeds and confessions are. I am chary about imputing to them a finality that they cannot possess. People have the liberty to think further. Confessions cannot be exact, final.

History

I think that those churches who recite the Nicene Creed in their liturgy, as the Church of England does in her communion service, cannot hope that history is a way of achieving further understanding. History tells us what happened and (more uncertainly) why. Perhaps the inclusion of the word ‘begotten’, said of the Son, was to match neo-Platonism. Interesting. But that does not help worshippers today. What is needed for understanding is meaning, in order to mitigate the puzzlement as the congregation recite the phrases, ‘begotten of the Father before all time’, ‘begotten not created’.

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.