Supplemental Statements of Faith: Two Historic Creeds

The statement of faith at the website is the Apostles Creed and the Statement of Faith of the National Association of Evangelicals. The other two historic statements commented on in this post also make up the other portions of this website’s Statement of Faith.

If the reader wants a statement of faith in its simplest form for this website, click on Statements of Faith: Apostles Creed and NAE.

Let’s begin.

Nicene Creed

For this website, this creed supplements the Apostles Creed and the NAE.

Who was Jesus? Did he have a beginning and was created, the first of all creation? Or did he exist from all eternity without a beginning and uncreated? The church debated this issue, and the Nicene Creed was published in 325 by the Council of Nicaea, a town in northern Turkey today. The statement about the Holy Spirit, in italics, was added at the Second Ecumenical Council held Constantinople in 381. So it is fair to call it the Constantinopolitan-Nicene Creed.

Here is the creed:

We believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of all things visible and invisible;

And in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten from the Father, only-begotten,

that is, from the substance of the Father, God from God, light from light, true God from true God, begotten not made, of one substance with the Father, through Whom all things came into being, things in heaven and things on earth;

Who because of us men and because of our salvation came down, and became incarnate and became man, and suffered, and rose again on the third day, and ascended to the heavens, and will come to judge the living and dead;

And [we believe] 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.

But as for those who say, “There was when He was not,” and, “Before being born He was not,” and that “He came into existence out of nothing,” or who assert that “the Son of God is of a different hypostasis or substance, or created, or is subject to alteration or change”—the Catholic [universal] and apostolic Church anathematizes.

Comments:

The Creed affirms the Trinitarian doctrine.

The Creed affirms that Jesus Christ was begotten by an eternal generation, which just means a Father-Son relationship, because the Scriptures call God Father and Jesus his Son.

The two persons, Father and Son, and their roles must not be confused.

Further, in their nature or essence they share divine attributes: “from the substance of the Father, God from God,” … “true God from true God.” Those phrases affirm the full deity of Christ, not a created being superior over us, but inferior and different in his being to his Father. No. They are equal in essence (but not in roles or functions).

The last paragraph is an answer to an old heresy called Arianism, after an elder or presbyter named Arius (d. 336).

It is easy for Renewalists (Pentecostals, Charismatics, and Neo-Charismatics) of all denominations and independent churches to affirm the Nicene Creed because it exalts Jesus, the Son of God, to his rightful place.

Definition of Chalcedon

For this website, this creed supplements the Apostles’ Creed and the NAE’s Statement of Faith.

So who is the Son of God? It is clear from Scripture that he is both human and divine, but how do these two natures relate to each other? The solution was achieved at Chalcedon, (pronounced kal-CEE-dun or KAL-suh-dawn), a town outside Constantinople (Istanbul today), in 451. It is also called the Chalcedonian Creed. The definition says that the two natures are united in one person. This is called the hypostatic union or one-person union of two natures.

Here is the Definition:

We, then, following the holy Fathers, all with one consent, teach men to confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the same perfect in Godhead and also perfect in manhood; truly God and truly man, of a reasonable [rational] soul and body; consubstantial [co-essential] with the Father according to the Godhead, and consubstantial with us according to the Manhood; in all things like unto us, without sin; begotten before all ages of the Father according to the Godhead, and in these latter days, for us and for our salvation, born of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, according to the Manhood; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, only begotten, to be acknowledged in two natures, unconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably; the distinction of natures being by no means taken away by the union, but rather the property of each nature being preserved, and concurring in one Person and one Subsistence, not parted or divided into two persons, but one and the same Son, and only begotten, God the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ; as the prophets from the beginning [have declared] concerning Him, and the Lord Jesus Christ Himself has taught us, and the Creed of the holy Fathers has handed down to us.

Comments:

Note the descriptors in emphatic fonts. Jesus has two natures, and they are distinct but united or “concurring in one Person.”

It was his divine nature that worked miracles and his human nature that grew tired, but all of this happened in the one person of Jesus the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus worked miracles and grew tired.

Please read these posts for more information:

5. Two Natures in One Person: If Jesus Got Hungry, Did God?

4. Two Natures in One Person: Tough Questions

3. Two Natures in One Person: Basic Questions and Answers

Since Renewalists respect church history and the struggle that the early Christians went through to achieve doctrinal clarity, and since the Definition exalts Jesus to his rightful place, this website has adopted it.

Unity around the fulness of Jesus’s one person and dual natures is easy for all global Renewalists to achieve, since the exalted Jesus is central for them.

We can get a dim look at the two natures of Christ, when we consider that upon being born again, we too have two natures in our one person. We are made up of our human nature which we were born with, and upon our being born again (John 3:3), we partake in the divine nature, though to a much lesser degree (2 Pet. 1:4). When we get tired, does God’s divine nature living in us get tired? No. What about our getting hungry? Does the divine nature get hungry? No. Can we distinguish our human nature from the divine nature? Yes, if we deploy the sword / Word of God, which cuts away spirit and soul (Heb. 4:12). And by the way, our spirit is not the same as God’s divine nature, so no heresies, please. In any case, Jesus was fully God and fully man, yet without sin. We are fully human, and partly divine because the Spirit lives in us, but only after we are born again.

To sum up, those two creeds cover the main Christology of the Christian church.

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Statements of Faith: Apostles Creed and NAE

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