Do The Ancient Creeds Still Matter?

I believe in one God,
the Father almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all things visible and invisible.
I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ,
the Only Begotten Son of God,
born of the Father before all ages.
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father;
through him all things were made…

Do these words sound familiar? I hope they do.  These words, which have been recited in liturgy, at church councils, in battles, and at dinner tables in hundreds of languages, echo to us today through nearly 17 centuries of continual use. This creed is what has united the church (except perhaps in 1054 when it greatly divided the church) and has helped to defend it against all manner of heresies and attacks.

Sadly, I had never heard of this creed until I was in my late 20’s. In the church I grew up in, creeds were never recited; they were considered to be extra-Biblical and therefore highly suspect. Or maybe people just didn’t know about them. Prayer in our church was usually a long drawn out speech of varying eloquence depending on who was delivering it. Prayer was supposed to be spontaneous and elevated, not scripted and repetitious. To have recited a creed would have meant introducing a form of liturgy into our midst which would have taken us “dangerously” close to  Catholicism. After all, the word “catholic” is contained in the creed, right? More on that another time.  Continue reading “Do The Ancient Creeds Still Matter?”