Faith That Transforms Us: Reflections on the Creed

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I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified,, who has spoken through the prophets. I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Apostle's Creed. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting.

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Ph: 03 Tel: 03 Fax: 03 Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. We met in his book lined office. George was a New Testament scholar. I replied that I wanted to be a theologian. George Ladd had no patience for speculative theology. There are many Christians on Facebook who I suppose exhibit the same kind of attitude toward theology. That grieves me.

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Theology is a beautiful discipline but it is not for the faint of heart. I understand that a lot of what theologians talk about flies over the head of the average person. We can use a lot of technical language that functions as shorthand. I believe that theology is important, indeed a critical discipline especially in our time.

In our postmodern world where it seems that everyone thinks that what they say about God is true and should matter for the rest of us, the theologian is a real necessity. By bad theology I mean theology that keeps people fearful or suppressed. I have walked away from that kind of theology over and over again.

But there is good theology, theology that is beneficent, healing, nurturing and life-giving. I believe in theology, but I do not believe in my theology. Theology is not that in which we put our faith, it is simply our best articulation of how we frame our experience. Theology is not about who has it right, but who is living faithfully and thinking faithfully after God. Indeed, theology is a beautiful science. If you are one of those who has thrown out theology I invite you to reconsider.

We do not need to join them. We can and indeed are called to reason together. Yes, we will disagree. Yes, we will articulate differently. But we have a base, a place where we all begin. You guessed it if you have been paying attention during this post and the first four posts of this series. Do you think you know what it is? No, it is not the church, even though and I know some of you will cringe to hear this , church too plays a role. Imagine that. Talk about God begins with…God! Not just a god concept but with the revealed God, Abba, Son, Spirit.

This is why I affirm the Nicene Creed. This is why I delight in its phrases. This little statement has always been the basis for the Christian faith. To begin otherwise is to place oneself outside the realm of Christian thought. To begin here brings assurance that we have understood something deep and profound: God is one, and that Oneness has made all things very, very good. That oneness has been revealed in the exquisite extraordinary rabbi from Nazareth.

Why Do Catholics Pray the Creed?

And that oneness has filled all creation with life and light and the purity of love. One God who makes us all one. Now that is a theology worth preaching! Persons who affirm inerrancy and liberals who dismiss the Bible both work from the assumption that if God is perfect, and if God wrote the Bible, then the Bible must be perfect. If God speaks through Scripture, and I believe God does indeed speak, how shall we understand God speaking? I begin with several criteria. Jesus is the figure who reveals the character of the Father so Heb , John , etc.

The second is this: God speaks through broken vessels.

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It is in this brokenness that we see most clearly the affection of God for humanity, an affection or love which takes even misjudgment, torture, humiliation and shame and still announces forgiveness. The cross of Jesus is the revelatory Big Bang! If a jar could contain light, say, the light of the gospel, and it was perfect, then that light would not be seen, for it would have nowhere to shine through. But if it is cracked, then there are places for that light to leak out and shine forth.

For me, Scripture is liked a cracked jar, it is because it is cracked that light is able to shine forth.

What I Believe: Expositions on the Nicene Creed

Can we not say that we are most like God, not when we are whole, but when we are broken? It is the Crucified that speaks the eternal word: shalom. They are flip sides of a coin. God is at peace with humanity. For this reason, I see the cross as the evacuation of all concepts of divine wrath, existential and eschatological. There was no wrath of God poured out on Jesus on the cross; the wrath is strictly ours.

Nor is there an eschatological wrath, as though God was only partly ameliorated at the cross but will make sure to vent holy anger come The End.

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The cross is the death of all our god concepts, and we humans are the ones who, through the justification of scapegoating, believe that God is one with us when we victimize others. After all, God victimized plenty of people and people groups in the Old Testament.

This sacrificial way of thinking is terminated by the anti-sacrifice Jesus. Jesus did not come to fulfill the logic of the sacrificial system either Jewish or pagan but to expose it and put an end to its reign in our lives. The cross of Christ is the place of revelation, the resurrection of Jesus is the vindication of that revelation, and the ascension, where Jesus is given the Unpronounceable Name Phil is the place where that revelation is confirmed for all time.

This is the good news, this is the gospel, and this is why we trust God to use our brokenness to shine his light from our lives into the lives of others, just as God uses the broken prophetic and apostolic witness to continue to shine light to us and for us today. I have decided to a kind of exegesis on the Nicene Creed. I have no idea how long it will take.

I have said that if one wishes to count oneself inside the Christian tradition one must start with the Nicene Creed. This has bothered some of my FB friends who have trouble with the creed itself as well as the doctrine of the Trinity.

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In this post, in one page, I am going to problematize the doctrine of the Trinity. The subtitle of this post comes from the song by Jimi Hendrix. It is my vain attempt at humor. The doctrine of the Trinity can be complicated. It is a math problem.

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Math is pretty straightforward. If I buy 3 apples and take away 1 apple, I have 2 apples. Yet here, in this business of God math gets all mixed up. Raging battles were fought about this in the early church. The first thing to observe is that the structure of the creed originates from an early Roman baptismal formula which is trinitarian in character.