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An interesting comparison (to me, anyway)

Runner

 
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(I think I'll just start all my threads in this forum. Maybe I can change my name to Unortho Runner?)

The two principal Christian creeds are the Nicene Creed and the Apostolic Creed. The Nicene Creed was adopted at the Council of Nicea in 325, tweaked at the Council of Constantinople in 381 and ratified at the Council of Chalcedon in 451. The Apostolic Creed likewise dates to the fifth century.

I've quoted the original creeds at the bottom of this post. There are some slightly different Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant versions, but they're very similar.

What do you notice about these two ancient creeds? Well, they're very basic. This is why they've stood the test of time and been embraced by all branches of Christianity.

The Bible isn't even mentioned, apart from the Nicene Creed saying the Son rose "according to the Scriptures." Satan isn't mentioned. Hell isn't mentioned. What you must believe or do to be saved isn't mentioned.

Compare the Statement of Faith (SOF) of this site, also quoted below. This post isn't a criticism of the SOF, which is a pretty standard Protestant SOF. I'm just using it to make a point.

Look at a few of the statements and see how very different they are from the ancient creeds:
  • "We believe that the Bible is inspired by God in its entirety, and is without error in the original autographs, a complete and final written revelation from God."
  • "We support the biblical teaching that all people are born with inherited sin and are lost eternally."
  • "We believe children and those with mental incapabilities who have no knowledge of good and evil, being innocent in the eyes of God, will be with Him if they should die in this state."
  • "Those who have not heard the gospel, 'have no excuse’ before God because they have not pursued the evidence for God in creation."
  • "Those baptized as infants, whether immersed or sprinkled will not be excluded."
  • "We believe in a personal devil, Satan, who, along with all his angels, called demons or evil spirits, are destined to spend eternity in hell. They seek to deceive people, defeat believers, and destroy the work of God."
  • "We believe that heaven is a real place where the saved will dwell forever, and that hell is a literal place of conscious torment where unbelievers will dwell."
See the stark difference?

Within much of evangelical Christianity, an SOF such as this has become a virtual litmus test of what you must believe to be a Christian. It's viewed less as an SOF and more as a definition of "Christian." I actually heard David Wheaton, the host of The Christian Worldview podcast and radio program, say "you simply aren't a Bible-believing Christian" if you believe the earth is "older than about 6,500 years."

Across almost all of evangelical Christianity, a wooden, literalist reading of the Bible is taken for granted, as the way any "real Christian" must read it. If you've never read it, take a look at the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, https://www.etsjets.org/files/documents/Chicago_Statement.pdf, which is reflected in many SOF. It's an in-your-face repudiation of the ancient creeds, as well as the Orthodox and Catholic reliance on history and tradition. (As the Orthodox point out, the fantasy of "sola Scriptura" has resulted in thousands of differing "sola Scripturas.")

And yet, this isn't the way the early Christians read the Bible at all.

It seems to me that large segments of the evangelical community are becoming what I might call "the new Pharisees," exalting form over substance and attempting to impose their narrow views on all the rest of Christendom. You can see it on these forums and all others where Christians congregate.

As society becomes increasingly secular, and Christian beliefs are increasingly subjected to ridicule and persecution, it can be a natural response to want to retreat into a hardline security blanket of pretend certainty. I believe, however, that this is a huge mistake and antithetical to the Christian mission.

If something like the SOF defines Christianity for you, that's fine. Just bear in mind, few Christians throughout history defined it this way - and few outside the evangelical community define it this way today. An SOF should be a bond between those who embrace it, not a tool to exclude those who don't.

There are some outer limits to Christianity. Even I, with my bare-bones list of essentials, acknowledge this. Some ostensibly Christian belief systems simply aren't. As the Catholic Church recently said in affirming its non-recognition of Mormon baptisms, Mormonism is "an entirely different matrix." But the Christian matrix is, I believe, much broader and more inclusive than many of the Protestant SOF would suggest.

NICENE-CONSTANTINOPLE CREED
We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth and of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord, Jesus the anointed, the only begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds, light from light, true God from true God, begotten not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made. Who for us humans and for our salvation came down from heaven and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and was made man, and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate. He suffered and was buried, and the third day he rose again according to the scriptures, and ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of the Father. And he shall come again to judge both the living and the dead. Whose kingdom shall have no end.
And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and giver-of-life, who proceeds from the Father, who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified, who spoke by the prophets.
And in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church. We acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.

APOSTOLIC CREED
1. I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth:
2. And in Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, our Lord:
3. Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary:
4. Suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, dead and buried: He descended into hell:
5. The third day he rose again from the dead:
6. He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty:
7. From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead:
8. I believe in the Holy Ghost:
9. I believe in the holy catholic church: the communion of saints:
10. The forgiveness of sins:
11. The resurrection of the body:
12. And the life everlasting. Amen.

STATEMENT OF FAITH
We believe that the Bible is inspired by God in its entirety, and is without error in the original autographs, a complete and final written revelation from God.
We believe that Jesus of Nazareth is the promised Messiah, born of a virgin, totally without sin, God in human flesh, the One Who died on the cross for our sins, was buried, rose again from the dead on the third day, and ascended to the right hand of the Father in heaven, where He now intercedes for us who believe in Him.
The Trinity means that there is one God who eternally exists as three distinct Persons — the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Stated differently, God is one in essence and three in person. These definitions express three crucial truths: (1) the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are distinct Persons, (2) each Person is fully God, (3) there is only one God.
We support the biblical teaching that all people are born with inherited sin and are lost eternally. They can be saved through repentance, forgiveness and faith in Jesus Christ's death (atonement) and resurrection. No human merit or performance earns salvation. For children and the mentally challenged, they are covered by Jesus’ teaching, 'The kingdom of heaven belongs to people like them" (Matt 19:14 NIRV). Furthermore, we believe children and those with mental incapabilities who have no knowledge of good and evil, being innocent in the eyes of God, will be with Him if they should die in this state. (Deuteronomy 1:39) Those who have not heard the gospel, 'have no excuse’ before God because they have not pursued the evidence for God in creation (Rom 1:18—24a NIRV).
The visible Body of Christ (The Church) is universal in nature and not specific to one denomination. It consists of all believers who have confessed Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior and have been immersed in the baptismal waters. Those baptized as infants, whether immersed or sprinkled will not be excluded. (Matthew 28:19).
We believe in a personal devil, Satan, who, along with all his angels, called demons or evil spirits, are destined to spend eternity in hell. They seek to deceive people, defeat believers, and destroy the work of God. They can be resisted by believers, who are protected by God and the intercession of Jesus Christ our Lord.
We believe that heaven is a real place where the saved will dwell forever, and that hell is a literal place of conscious torment where unbelievers will dwell.
We believe that genuine believers are born again by the Holy Spirit of God, and are indwelt, baptized into the Body of Christ, the true Church, and sealed with the Holy Spirit.
We believe that all believers need to be filled and empowered by the Holy Spirit to live a godly life and to be bold in our witness for the Lord.
We believe in the spiritual unity of all genuine believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.
 

Dorothy Mae

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I am also a bit shocked by the statement that the original writings, now totally lost, are without error in the original. I think is this pretty much a cop out since the manuscripts are lost and cannot be checked. It is not saying what one believes about the Bible today. It also makes God fairly weak as while the Word of the Lord endures forever, his inerrant scriptures did not endure in that form a few centuries. Bummer! The full and complete truth was once written out for man but is now lost forever to us. God could not preserve it. (In this view.)

Why not say what the Bible says of itself and be done with it. It is useful for teaching, correction and training in righteousness. Why don't churches say this? Because who wants to have that book be the measure of how we are making decisions? I mean that ups the standard considerably. It is just a lot more comfortable to focus on whether the book is innerant than it being the standard for how we should live, right? Let us strain that gnat and ignore the elephant in the room.

I agree that the church in the first century seemed to be more fixed on living the teachings of Jesus than defending or defining them. The compliments Jesus gave to some of the churches in the book of Revelation couldn't be given to many churches today and probably no western ones.
 

Runner

 
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I am also a bit shocked by the statement that the original writings, now totally lost, are without error in the original. I think is this pretty much a cop out since the manuscripts are lost and cannot be checked. It is not saying what one believes about the Bible today. It also makes God fairly weak as while the Word of the Lord endures forever, his inerrant scriptures did not endure in that form a few centuries. Bummer! The full and complete truth was once written out for man but is now lost forever to us. God could not preserve it. (In this view.)

Why not say what the Bible says of itself and be done with it. It is useful for teaching, correction and training in righteousness. Why don't churches say this? Because who wants to have that book be the measure of how we are making decisions? I mean that ups the standard considerably. It is just a lot more comfortable to focus on whether the book is innerant than it being the standard for how we should live, right? Let us strain that gnat and ignore the elephant in the room.

I agree that the church in the first century seemed to be more fixed on living the teachings of Jesus than defending or defining them. The compliments Jesus gave to some of the churches in the book of Revelation couldn't be given to many churches today and probably no western ones.
Thanks for reading and responding, Dorothy Mae. It seems like any effort at intelligent discussion on forums such as this dies a quick death. ("Ooh, it's too loooong! I won't read anything over three lines.")

My point, which I think you see, is that the understanding of "Christianity" keeps getting narrower and narrower, and more fragmented and more fragmented, until there are far more and far harsher divisions within Christianity than between Christianity and the other religions. What now exists and calls itself "Christianity" can't possibly resemble what Jesus had in mind.
 

Dorothy Mae

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Thanks for reading and responding, Dorothy Mae. It seems like any effort at intelligent discussion on forums such as this dies a quick death. ("Ooh, it's too loooong! I won't read anything over three lines.")

My point, which I think you see, is that the understanding of "Christianity" keeps getting narrower and narrower, and more fragmented and more fragmented, until there are far more and far harsher divisions within Christianity than between Christianity and the other religions. What now exists and calls itself "Christianity" can't possibly resemble what Jesus had in mind.
Take heart, there are Christians who more closely follow Jesus’ teachings. You just to find them. They are rare but delightful to find.

In the meantime, let’s love them so we can become those who follow Jesus’ teaching more closely.
 

Dorothy Mae

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Maybe I’ve been a believer longer than you and see a different matter that is troubling…the pursuit of spiritual experience and not the pursuit of God.
 

andy pandy

 
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I am also a bit shocked by the statement that the original writings, now totally lost, are without error in the original. I think is this pretty much a cop out since the manuscripts are lost and cannot be checked. It is not saying what one believes about the Bible today. It also makes God fairly weak as while the Word of the Lord endures forever, his inerrant scriptures did not endure in that form a few centuries. Bummer! The full and complete truth was once written out for man but is now lost forever to us. God could not preserve it. (In this view.)

Why not say what the Bible says of itself and be done with it. It is useful for teaching, correction and training in righteousness. Why don't churches say this? Because who wants to have that book be the measure of how we are making decisions? I mean that ups the standard considerably. It is just a lot more comfortable to focus on whether the book is innerant than it being the standard for how we should live, right? Let us strain that gnat and ignore the elephant in the room.

I agree that the church in the first century seemed to be more fixed on living the teachings of Jesus than defending or defining them. The compliments Jesus gave to some of the churches in the book of Revelation couldn't be given to many churches today and probably no western ones.
Shall I let you into a secret Dorothy Mae? When you read in a SOF that We believe that the Bible is inspired by God in its entirety, and is without error in the original autographs, a complete and final written revelation from God, what it actually means is that our interpretation of the Bible is without error.
 
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Within much of evangelical Christianity, an SOF such as this has become a virtual litmus test of what you must believe to be a Christian. It's viewed less as an SOF and more as a definition of "Christian." I actually heard David Wheaton, the host of The Christian Worldview podcast and radio program, say "you simply aren't a Bible-believing Christian" if you believe the earth is "older than about 6,500 years."
And a true believer in the Blood bought redemptive salvation of Christ would challenge David Wheaton to provide the biblical basis by which disregard for flawed human conjecture & speculative math, defeats the Almighty deliverance that will not fail nor forsake having been secured by the individual?
By which commandment is the spiritual fidelity to Christ's Blood and substitutionary death violated by not giving a hoot as to the earth's age or what any person thinks it is?
He would be powerless and void all biblical resources to provide such a basis.
Explaining why people like himself remain perpetually isolated from all such challenges in their safely insulated podcast radio bunkers & cannot ever be quoted having to answer such questions.

To say that David Wheaton's ( Who ? ) obsession represents, " much of evangelical Christianity " is pure sophistry .
 

Dorothy Mae

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Shall I let you into a secret Dorothy Mae? When you read in a SOF that We believe that the Bible is inspired by God in its entirety, and is without error in the original autographs, a complete and final written revelation from God, what it actually means is that our interpretation of the Bible is without error.
Shall we look at what the without error book says of itself instead of what you say? Do you know what the Bible says of itself?

It is useful for teaching, correction, and training in righteousness. But of course, one has to DO what it says, not simply defend its being perfect.
 

andy pandy

 
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Shall we look at what the without error book says of itself instead of what you say? Do you know what the Bible says of itself?

It is useful for teaching, correction, and training in righteousness. But of course, one has to DO what it says, not simply defend its being perfect.
I didn't say no such thing.
 

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Shall I let you into a secret Dorothy Mae? When you read in a SOF that We believe that the Bible is inspired by God in its entirety, and is without error in the original autographs, a complete and final written revelation from God, what it actually means is that our interpretation of the Bible is without error.
What you say and believe of the Bible is not what the authors said and believed of it. But this view is simpler than what the authors thought. “It is without error” is a whole lot easier to live with than “it corrects my not-without-error choices, teaches me right from wrong and trains me in doing right. The first view is purely intellectual. The second is purely behavior. One can see why the first is more popular.
 

Vaccine

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If something like the SOF defines Christianity for you, that's fine. Just bear in mind, few Christians throughout history defined it this way - and few outside the evangelical community define it this way today. An SOF should be a bond between those who embrace it, not a tool to exclude those who don't.
That a SOF should be a bond between us is not a way to divide us is an excellent point. Christianity is a way of life not a club to be a part of. Finding common ground is a good for healthy discussions.
 

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That a SOF should be a bond between us is not a way to divide us is an excellent point. Christianity is a way of life not a club to be a part of. Finding common ground is a good for healthy discussions.
In a normal setting christians can exchange concerns for one another sharing the details and challenges in life we all face, regardless of our theology. But here we only have words. I can’t offer a cup of coffee to anyone and ask them how they are doing? So this makes it difficult to find fellowship as conversations where two agree are quickly over. One learns more from those who challenge, but many don’t like challenges. So offenses are quickly given and taken and cannot be softened by shared life exchanges.
 

Vaccine

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In a normal setting christians can exchange concerns for one another sharing the details and challenges in life we all face, regardless of our theology. But here we only have words. I can’t offer a cup of coffee to anyone and ask them how they are doing? So this makes it difficult to find fellowship as conversations where two agree are quickly over. One learns more from those who challenge, but many don’t like challenges. So offenses are quickly given and taken and cannot be softened by shared life exchanges.
It's too bad conversations where two agree don't last. Good point that conversations over coffee are easier but online they're challenging. Those challenges force me to examine my beliefs probably more than an in person one, at least depending on who I'm talking to.
In those rare times I get offended I've learned to not reply right away. I'll write it out to get it off my chest but rewrite it a few times. A well thought out counterpoint is so much more satisfying than a tirade.
 

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Sure, do you think a creed is better than a SOF?
No although I think a word is preferable to an acronym. It communicates immediately.

The word creed is probably more weighty. The SOF is just “us.”
 

Vaccine

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Ah, acronyms drive me nuts too. I'll type stuff out.
I can see how the word creed in an online setting is unwieldy. Words like creed or commandment don't seem out of place in an in person conversation. Funny but it would seem odd to chat about my statement of faith in person. I'm fine with using a statement of faith here.
Do you think the statement of faith should be kept as is? Or modified to read more like one of the creeds Runner mentioned?
 

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And a true believer in the Blood bought redemptive salvation of Christ would challenge David Wheaton to provide the biblical basis by which disregard for flawed human conjecture & speculative math, defeats the Almighty deliverance that will not fail nor forsake having been secured by the individual?
By which commandment is the spiritual fidelity to Christ's Blood and substitutionary death violated by not giving a hoot as to the earth's age or what any person thinks it is?
He would be powerless and void all biblical resources to provide such a basis.
Explaining why people like himself remain perpetually isolated from all such challenges in their safely insulated podcast radio bunkers & cannot ever be quoted having to answer such questions.

To say that David Wheaton's ( Who ? ) obsession represents, " much of evangelical Christianity " is pure sophistry .
Really, believing that Adam and Eve were created about 6,000 yrs ago is conducive to the concept in holy scripture of original sin which is the reason given in holy scripture as to why we need redemption.

I do believe there is room, with the concept of gap theory being a possibility, that the earth is more than 6,500 yrs old.

Also with the concept that a day is as 1,000 yrs and 1,000 yrs as a day.

Within that concept, each day of the creation account may have lasted 1,000 yrs.

Which would lend credence to an earth with an age of about 13,000 yrs; since we can count backwards in holy scripture to Adam and Eve being created about 6,000 yrs ago.
 

heartwashed

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So if Adam and Eve were created 17,841 years ago they would have no sin ?
How so ?
What I am saying is that the Bible teaches that Adam and Eve lived approximately 6,000 yrs ago.

If the origins of mankind has it that the first man and woman existed much earlier, there is the possibility that they weren't Adam and Eve.

That opens up a whole can of worms wherein a person may adequately deny original sin.
 
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