Special Sub-Topic: The Nicene Creed
|Why is the Nicene Creed so titled?|
It was adopted by the first ecumenical council, which met in the city of Nicaea. The creed was crafted at the First Council of Nicaea, an ecumenical council that met in 325 AD. It was later revised at the Council of Constantinople in 381 AD and officially adopted by the Council of Chalcedon in 451 AD. It remains the normative statement of faith for the majority of Christians, encapsulating as it does the core doctrines of orthodox Christianity. It is frequently recited in liturgical churches to this day. Countless nonliturgical churches that do not recite the creed nonetheless assert its central doctrines in their teachings.
|The Nicene Creed is the only creed to be accepted by all three major branches of Christianity.|
True. The creed is accepted by the Protestant, Roman Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox branches alike. The Apostle's Creed is another creed that is broadly used in the West, but it is not used in the East. Even those Protestant churches that do not use creeds nonetheless typically accept the foundational doctrines contained in the Nicene Creed, though they may not refer to it for support of those doctrines, choosing instead to draw their support directly from the Bible. There are individual denominations that do not accept all of the core doctrines contained in the Nicene creed, but they are generally considered to be outside of the mainstream.
|The Nicene Creed begins, "We believe in one God, the Father Almighty." This assertion of faith stands in bold contrast to the teachings of what group?|
The Marcionites. This assertion places Christianity squarely in the monotheistic tradition of Judaism. The followers of Marcion, however, believed that the god of the Old Testament (whom Christians here identify as "Father Almighty" and regard as the one God of both the Old and New Testaments) was a lesser god, a demiurge. In Marcion's belief system, this lesser god created the world, which (like all matter) is evil, while the supreme god, the god of the New Testament, sent Jesus Christ to release people from the earthly trap created by the Old Testament demiurge. This belief system originated in the mid 2nd century and was written against as heresy by church fathers such as Tertullian. In the very first line of the creed, orthodox Christians reject Marcion's view of the Old Testament god as a demiurge and assert instead that he is the one God and maker of all things.
|The original Nicene Creed (325 AD) describes the Father Almighty as Maker of what?|
All things visible and invisible. The original creed included only the phrase "Maker of all things visible and invisible." In 381, at the First Council of Constantinople, this line was expanded to read, "Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible."
|The Nicene Creed continues, "And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten of the Father, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father." This assertion of faith was calculated to deny the teachings of what man, who was declared a heretic at the council?|
Arius. Arius, a presbyter from Alexandria, taught that Jesus did not always exist and was the highest created being, distinct from and inferior to God the Father. This part of the creed was revised in 381 to read: "And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father."
|The Nicene Creed describes Jesus as follows: "by [or through] whom all things were made." In the Bible, which Gospel writer more or less uses this phrase to describe Jesus?|
John. Peter did not write a Gospel. In his Gospel, John wrote: "Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made" (John 1:3, NIV). This doctrine is also drawn from 1 Corinthians 8:6 "yet for us there is... but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live" and Hebrews 1:2: "but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe."
|In 325 AD, the original Nicene Creed said of the Son, "Who for us men, and for our salvation, came down and was incarnate and was made man." How was this line of the creed altered in 381 AD?|
"incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary". Many modern English versions phrase this "by the power of the Holy Spirit, he was born of the Virgin Mary, and became man." The reference to the Holy Ghost (Spirit) and the Virgin Mary were likely added to clarify the term "incarnate" and to respond to ongoing controversies surrounding the Virgin Birth.
|The original Nicene Creed (325 AD) makes no mention of Pontius Pilate and does not explicitly state that Jesus was crucified and buried.|
True. The original creed said simply that Jesus "suffered, and the third day he rose again, ascended into heaven..." The revision at the First Council of Constantinople in 381 expanded this to "he was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered, and was buried, and the third day he rose again, according to the Scriptures, and ascended into heaven..."
|According to the Nicene Creed, where does the Son sit after his ascension into heaven?
On the right hand of the Father. The 381 version of the creed states, "he... ascended into heaven and sitteth on the right hand of the Father." The words "and sitteth on the right hand of the father" were not included in the original version of the creed as crafted at the Council of Nicaea.
|Complete this line from the Nicene Creed: "From thence he shall come to judge the ___ and the dead."|
Quick. "Quick" means living, and some modern English versions use the word "living" instead. The revision in 381 AD inserts the words "with glory" into this line of the creed: "from thence he shall come again, with glory, to judge the quick and the dead" and also goes on to describe Jesus with these concluding words: "whose kingdom shall have no end."
|The original Nicene Creed asserted faith in "one holy catholic and apostolic Church." |
False. The original creed ended after the assertion of faith in the Holy Ghost. The revision in 381 AD added the words "In one holy catholic and apostolic Church."
|Complete this line from the Nicene Creed: "We acknowledge one ___ for the remission of sins"
baptism. These words were not contained in the original version adopted at the Council of Nicaea but were added during the First Council of Constantinople.
|When Christians recited the Nicene Creed today, what two things do they say they look forward to?|
The resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. The Nicene Creed, as revised at the First Council of Constantinople and recited today, concludes: " We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen." These words were not included in the original creed adopted at Nicaea, however.
|In the 6th century, a single Latin word was added to the Nicene Creed by the Latin-speaking churches of Western Europe, thus precipitating the split between the Western and Eastern church. What was that word?|
Filoque. Filoque translates to "and the son." While the Constantinople creed of the 4th century states that "And in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of life, who proceedeth from the Father, who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified, who spake by the prophets," in 589, at the Third Council of Toledo, this was changed to "who proceedeth from the Father and the Son." While the "flioque" was not always sung in the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church in the years to follow, it was finally fully adopted by Rome in 1014 AD, and the ongoing controversy over this issue contributed to the schism between the East and the West that finally occurred in 1054 AD. Besides filoque, other areas of disagreement between the East and West included whether leavened or unleavened bread should be used in the Eucharist, the role of Constantinople, and the Pope's claim to universal jurisdiction.
|Which of these phrases is not to be found in the Nicene Creed?|
"He descended to the dead". "He descended to the dead" comes from the Apostle's Creed, not the Nicene creed.
|In which of these churches are you least likely to find the Nicene Creed recited on a regular basis during services?|
Baptist. The Nicene Creed is commonly recited at communion in the Anglican, Catholic, and Lutheran churches. Sometimes, as in the Roman Catholic church, it is alternated with the Apostle's Creed. While individual Baptist congregations may well recite the Nicene Creed, it is not standard practice among the majority of Baptists.
|In the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, how does the Nicene Creed begin?|
I believe. In the original Book of Common Prayer, the worshipper had to assert not "we believe," but "I believe." However, later revisions followed ecumenical versions of the Nicene Creed that contain the "we believe" wording.
|The original Nicene Creed ended with an anathema that is not recited as part of the creed today. Basically, what does "anathema" mean?|
Cut off. The word "anathema" has undergone evolution over time and there has been some debate as to its precise meaning. By the end of the 4th century, it had come to mean a form of major excommunication, in which a person or group is cut off from fellowship with (separated from) the Church. The original Nicene Creed contained this anathema: "But those who say: 'There was a time when he was not;' and 'He was not before he was made;' and 'He was made out of nothing,' or 'He is of another substance' or 'essence,' or 'The Son of God is created,' or 'changeable,' or 'alterable'-they are condemned by the holy catholic and apostolic Church." This was in response to the Arian controversy, for followers of Arius maintained that Jesus was the highest created being and that he did not preexist God.
|No one knows precisely how the creed adopted by the Council of Nicaea originated. Some scholars maintain it was a local creed used in Caesarea and brought to the council by whom? |
Eusebius. Eusebius became the Bishop of Caesarea in Palestine around the year 314 AD. Other scholars argue it was a Syro-Phoenician baptismal creed. In the tradition of the Coptic Church, the creed was written by Pope Athanasius I of Alexandria.
|In the Anglican and Catholic churches, the Nicene Creed is typically recited at baptism. |
False. Rather, an interrogative form of The Apostle's Creed is typically used during the rites of baptism. That is, the celebrant (priest, etc.) asks the baptismal candidate (or his or her sponsors/godparents) questions such as "Do you believe in God the Father?" to which the candidate (or his or her sponsor) replies with the pertinent section from the Apostle's Creed.
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