VIII: Three Creeds

viii. of the three creeds

The Three Creeds, Nicene Creed, Athanasius’s Creed, and that which is commonly called the Apostles’ Creed, ought thoroughly to be received and believed: for they may be proved by most certain warrants of Holy Scripture.

I had never even heard of a creed until 1993. I did not know of these writings that simply stated our faith. I am so glad our Biblical faith has been written down succinctly in short form that is easy to hold on.

Anglicanism is creedal. Cranmer, when writing the 39 Articles, used Scripture and the Creeds to help define what Anglicanism is. What are Creeds, why do we have them. Creeds are short passages of literature meant to help in a simple way to understand our faith. We use three of them The Athanasian, the Nicene and the Apostle’s Creed.

The eighth Article mentions them with the Nicene first, I am not going to go in order of the Article, but instead I will go in order of how often each Creed is used in Anglicanism.

The Athanasian Creed is used only for certain feast day services in Anglican practice. The main usage is in a baptismal service. The Creed was not written by Athanasius, but the writers used his theology of of the Trinity to form the background of it. Gerald Bray, says that creed was written for theology students rather than congregational use, and that may be why it is not used as much in Anglican practice. It is very theological and less simple than the other two creeds.(Bray, Confess, 57)

The Nicene Creed was written at the first council of Nicea in AD 325 and edited at the council of Constantinople in AD 381. It is less detailed than the Athabaskan Creed but more than the Apostles’. In the Anglican Church it is used in every Eucharistic service, so every service that communion is held. (Bray, Confess, 57).

Finally, the Apostle’s Creed. The Apostle’s Creed was not written by the first apostles but is probably the oldest of the Creeds. In it are the basic and most foundational beliefs of Christianity. Many denominations use this statement in their church services. I love that no matter what denomination we are, we all can stand upon the principles of this short Creed. When I reflect on these words, I think about those who had to profess their faith before the Roman emperor. I pray that should the time come that I have to stand before someone and profess my beliefs may I use these few statements to proudly proclaim my allegiance to Jesus Christ. In this short creed, the gospel is proclaimed. It is the basic foundation of our faith, simply and richly stated.

,During this time of great upheaval, especially with our emotions, may these words bring peace. We are one holy, catholic, and apostolic church. Our cornerstone is Jesus and his work was done on our behalf on the cross. These Creeds, second in importance to the Scriptures, are the foundation of our faith. May we rest firmly upon Scripture and these words.

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Shelly Miller



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