Thursday, June 27, 2013

Refutation Of Heresy Through The Nicene Creed

We recite the Nicene Creed, which was formulated at the Council of Nicaea (325) and the Council of Constantinople (381), every Sunday at Mass. But do we really take into account all that we are saying? Many people do not know that not only are we professing what we believe, but in the Creed, we are also condemning heretical notions of Christianity. The reason for this is that the Nicene Creed arose out of ancient baptismal interrogations. Before being immersed into water three times, the catechumen was asked if they believed in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. When the fathers of Nicaea wished to condemn Arius, they couldn’t merely have him recite the old formulations, because they were just vague enough to allow for Arianism. So the fathers inserted phrases which would be odious to Arius. They also inserted phrases that would be problematic for other forms of heresy. See below: 

I believe in one God, (Against Gnostics)
the Father almighty, (Against Gnostics)
maker of heaven and earth, (Against Gnostics)
of all things visible and invisible.
(Against Gnostics)
I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ,
the Only Begotten Son of God,
(Against Gnostics)
born of the Father before all ages.
(Against Arians and Adoptionism)
God from God, Light from Light,
(Against Arians)
true God from true God,
(Against Arians)
begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father;
(Against Arians)
through him all things were made.
(Against Gnostics and Arians)
For us men and for our salvation
he came down from heaven,
and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary,
and became man.
(Against Docetism and Ebionism)
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate,
he suffered death and was buried,
(Against Docetism)
and rose again on the third day
in accordance with the Scriptures.
He ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
(Against Modalism)
He will come again in glory
to judge the living and the dead
and his kingdom will have no end.
(Against Modalism)
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, (Against the Pneumatomachians [The Spirit Fighters])
who proceeds from the Father
(Against the Pneumatomachians [The Spirit Fighters])
and the Son, (Against the Greeks. Originally against the Arians)
who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified,
(Against the Pneumatomachians [The Spirit Fighters])
who has spoken through the prophets.
(Against the Pneumatomachians [The Spirit Fighters])
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. Amen.

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