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Protestants And The Nicene Creed...


PacMan

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I've had a short PM conversation with CKSalmon concerning the issue, and am interested in opening it up (he, most apparently has more of a life than I do...leaving me to wait for responses longer than I'm willing)!

For protestants, note (quote in whole, but bolded for emphasis):

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 Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, Very God of Very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father by whom all things were made; who for us men, and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of 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 sitteth on the right hand of the Father. And he shall come again with glory to judge both the quick and the dead, whose kingdom shall have no end.

And we believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life, who proceedeth from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified, who spoke by the prophets. And we believe one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins. And we look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

The two questions become:

1-Do you as Protestants believe in "one holy catholic and apostolic Church?"

2-Do you acknowledge the one baptism as subscribed by the RCC (infant baptisms, baptism by desire, etc.)? Deviations denote differences.

I'll wait for other postings and not preemptively respond to the obvious rebuttles.

Cheers,

PacMan

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Ummm...OK. The post was meant to stir discussion, but since it didn't:

1-Then what are you protesting?

2-Acknowledge is a pretty simple term...but let's try this: Infant baptisms, adult baptisms, baptisms by desire. Do you accept these three different baptisms as the "one" baptism that Paul spoke about. Kind of like...infant baptism is not adult baptism which is not baptism by desire, but they are co-eternally the one baptism; all three different from one another, but all the same baptism?

With deviation comes difference...they are different, so how could they be all the "one" baptism?

PacMan

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Welp that's the end of it then. My word is the last word. I knew I was right and all of you are wrong.

Welp? Let's not get into name calling, but please...let's make coherent posts.

It looks like a typo (Hoops probably meant to say "Well that's the end of it then..."). That being said, he should probably learn to spell.

But, do hold to that firm rod of hubris, and stroke it regularly. While no one else may understand, at least your reflection of reality will hold much bliss, regardless of its distortion.

PacMan

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The protestants I have talked with about the term "catholic" have always indicated it meant "universal" as opposed to referring to the RCC specifically, thereby also covering protestants. However, what was the intent of the organization that authored the creed? Was that intent of "universal" to only include the papal authority structure, or was it to also include other churches outside of that structure?

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Ummm...OK. The post was meant to stir discussion, but since it didn't:

1-Then what are you protesting?

2-Acknowledge is a pretty simple term...but let's try this: Infant baptisms, adult baptisms, baptisms by desire. Do you accept these three different baptisms as the "one" baptism that Paul spoke about. Kind of like...infant baptism is not adult baptism which is not baptism by desire, but they are co-eternally the one baptism; all three different from one another, but all the same baptism?

With deviation comes difference...they are different, so how could they be all the "one" baptism?

PacMan

1. Papal authority & unrecognition of priesthood of all believers are two biggies

2. I do. Within this stucture: since baptism is not necessary for salvation, all of the above would be "acceptable". I understand us to believe that should someone who has had infant baptism have a born again experience (the use of that term is another discussion, but let's go with the standard definition) they would be led to adult baptism of desire. Though we conclude this is not necessary but, rather, a natural event that occurs during one's Christian growth.

Paul, was referring to adult baptism that was much more public than is done today and that it sufficed for variants of believers within the strictness of essential doctrine.

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jwhitlock,

The protestants I have talked with about the term "catholic" have always indicated it meant "universal" as opposed to referring to the RCC specifically, thereby also covering protestants. However, what was the intent of the organization that authored the creed? Was that intent of "universal" to only include the papal authority structure, or was it to also include other churches outside of that structure?

Moreover, it was held via the pronouncement of a pagan emperor and with the blessing of the Pope. He had his representatives present, and I dare ask to what sect the many Bishops were apart of? They were clearly subordinate to the RCC, under the authority of the Pope. Instead of readjusting definitions, there is some need to understand the paradigms of the times and realize that the Catholic Church of yesteryear is much more recognizable as the institution of today, than not.

Hoops22

1. Papal authority & unrecognition of priesthood of all believers are two biggies

I don’t know what you mean here.

2. I do. Within this stucture: since baptism is not necessary for salvation, all of the above would be "acceptable".

What?

John 3:5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

Sorry my friend, there’s no way around it.

I understand us to believe that should someone who has had infant baptism have a born again experience (the use of that term is another discussion, but let's go with the standard definition) they would be led to adult baptism of desire. Though we conclude this is not necessary but, rather, a natural event that occurs during one's Christian growth.

But the issue is, how is it the one and the same baptism? It cannot logically be the same baptism if, indeed, it is different in method, purpose, verbiage, mediume, etc.

Paul, was referring to adult baptism that was much more public than is done today and that it sufficed for variants of believers within the strictness of essential doctrine.

I agree that Paul was referring to adult baptism, period. I therefore don’t understand how every other “baptism,” is still…the one.

PacMan

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I've had a short PM conversation with CKSalmon concerning the issue, and am interested in opening it up (he, most apparently has more of a life than I do...leaving me to wait for responses longer than I'm willing)!

For protestants, note (quote in whole, but bolded for emphasis):

The two questions become:

1-Do you as Protestants believe in "one holy catholic and apostolic Church?"

2-Do you acknowledge the one baptism as subscribed by the RCC (infant baptisms, baptism by desire, etc.)? Deviations denote differences.

I'll wait for other postings and not preemptively respond to the obvious rebuttles.

Cheers,

PacMan

Hey Pac--

I've been proofing a friend's dissertation. It's got be in the mail this afternoon. I promise I haven't been doing anything fun, if that's what you're concerned about.

As for (1), you're already aware of my basic response, but for the benefit of others: "catholic" was not part of a proper designation (as it subsequently came to be some time later: viz., The Roman Catholic Church). It was not intended to carry that sort of name-branding, so to speak, in the Nicene creed. It meant "universal," in the sense that the recognized Christian churches believed the same doctrine (especially, I'd suspect, about the nature of Christ and his relationship to the Father--vis-a-vis the condemned Arians).

That leaves open the question of how Protestant's might interpret the creed today (as well as how they interpreted it in the aftermath of the Reformation). But, I don't think it's a controversial point at all (even among Catholic scholars) that the intent of that language in the Creed was to denote that Christians were united by commonly-held beliefs (rather than to a church properly-called The Catholic Church--much less the Roman Catholic Church). Perhaps it's a subtle distinction, but one that should be borne in mind, regardless.

With regard to "one baptism," well, I'll have to check my PM to see what I thought at the time! :P

Best.

CKS

PS. Even if one were to read the RCC title back into the fourth century, one musn't push it back further than 380, the year Emperor Theodosius declared De Fida Catolica to be the state religion of Rome. Oddly enough, the declaration came in February, but the Emperor himself was not baptized as a Christian until November of that year.

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I too remain perplexed as to why such importance is placed by protestants on the creeds of the early RC chuch. They exclude us from Christianity for not accepting parts of certain creeds, yet they themselves accept only about 7 of the 21. What is the cutoff for how many creeds you can accept and still be considered Christian?

And please, don't respond in Johnnyesque style: "When the creeds no longer conform to God's holy word."

Sargon

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Sargon:

I too remain perplexed as to why such importance is placed by protestants on the creeds of the early RC chuch. They exclude us from Christianity for not accepting parts of certain creeds, yet they themselves accept only about 7 of the 21. What is the cutoff for how many creeds you can accept and still be considered Christian?

CKS:

When the creeds no longer conform to God's holy word.

j/k

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CKSalmon,

I've been proofing a friend's dissertation. It's got be in the mail this afternoon. I promise I haven't been doing anything fun, if that's what you're concerned about.

Dissertation, spissertation! Excuses, excuses!! :P

As for (1), you're already aware of my basic response, but for the benefit of others: "catholic" was not part of a proper designation (as it subsequently came to be some time later: viz., The Roman Catholic Church). It was not intended to carry that sort of name-branding, so to speak, in the Nicene creed. It meant "universal," in the sense that the recognized Christian churches believed the same doctrine (especially, I'd suspect, about the nature of Christ and his relationship to the Father--vis-a-vis the condemned Arians).

Except, we have more than terminology alone. It seems that the ideal was that Christians everywhere didnâ??t make up the church (probably more the EV bend), but that THE church was made of all Christians (the RCC), as it still holds today.

But, I don't think it's a controversial point at all (even among Catholic scholars) that the intent of that language in the Creed was to denote that Christians were united by commonly-held beliefs (rather than to a church properly-called The Catholic Church--much less the Roman Catholic Church).

I must vehemently disagree with you. Verbiage aside, it is clear that this organization had, an organization and the Pope was on top. The Bishops that were present were subject to the Pope, and the conference in Nicea was done with his blessing, and his vicarious participation. As such, I can hardly see how this was not an RCC counsel. Certainly the definition of it all may have evolved, but the organization is very identifiable.

PacMan

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jwhitlock,

Moreover, it was held via the pronouncement of a pagan emperor and with the blessing of the Pope. He had his representatives present, and I dare ask to what sect the many Bishops were apart of? They were clearly subordinate to the RCC, under the authority of the Pope. Instead of readjusting definitions, there is some need to understand the paradigms of the times and realize that the Catholic Church of yesteryear is much more recognizable as the institution of today, than not.

Hoops22

I donâ??t know what you mean here.

What?

Sorry my friend, thereâ??s no way around it.

But the issue is, how is it the one and the same baptism? It cannot logically be the same baptism if, indeed, it is different in method, purpose, verbiage, mediume, etc.

I agree that Paul was referring to adult baptism, period. I therefore donâ??t understand how every other â??baptism,â? is stillâ?¦the one.

PacMan

We do not recognize the Pope as our authority. We DO recognize the priesthood for all believers

We do not agree that baptism is necessary for salvation, therefor, baptism nfant/adult/believing becomes a non-issue until one becomes regenerate

One can "get around it". Born of water can mean, 1)physical birth 2)born of the spirit 3)being purified - washed, if you will, clean 4)or baptism as you mean it.

In light of:

John 3:7 "You must be born again." Jesus does not say "...and be baptised."

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Hoops,

We do not recognize the Pope as our authority. We DO recognize the priesthood for all believers

Regard the Pope or not, he was the authority over the counsel which was RCC (anachronism aside).

We do not agree that baptism is necessary for salvation, therefor, baptism nfant/adult/believing becomes a non-issue until one becomes regenerate

One can "get around it". Born of water can mean, 1)physical birth 2)born of the spirit 3)being purified - washed, if you will, clean 4)or baptism as you mean it.

I haven never met a Christian that believes that John 3:5 is NOT referring to baptism. But letâ??s undercut your logical inconsistencies.

1) Jesus makes it explicitly clear (as per Nicodemusâ??s questioning) that it refers to being born â??when he is old.â?

2) Born of the spirit is ALSO necessary, but separateâ?¦hence the phrase, â??of the water AND of the spiritâ?

3) What else is baptism for?

4) Baptismâ?¦right!

In light of:

John 3:7 "You must be born again." Jesus does not say "...and be baptised."

Again, astonishing. But, let me askâ?¦how else might one be born again of water, without baptism? Why donâ??t you take one more look:

3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be aborn bagain, he cannot csee the kingdom of God.

4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his motherâ??s womb, and be born?

5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be aborn of bwater and of the cSpirit, he cannot denter into the kingdom of God.

PacMan

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Hoops,

Regard the Pope or not, he was the authority over the counsel which was RCC (anachronism aside).

I haven never met a Christian that believes that John 3:5 is NOT referring to baptism. But letâ??s undercut your logical inconsistencies.

1) Jesus makes it explicitly clear (as per Nicodemusâ??s questioning) that it refers to being born â??when he is old.â?

2) Born of the spirit is ALSO necessary, but separateâ?¦hence the phrase, â??of the water AND of the spiritâ?

3) What else is baptism for?

4) Baptismâ?¦right!

Again, astonishing. But, let me askâ?¦how else might one be born again of water, without baptism? Why donâ??t you take one more look:

PacMan

You were asking what we were "protesting", those are the big two.

I find your beliefs "astonishing" as well. Are we even now?

Water can quite reasonable mean the washing of regeneration or the first birth. My druthers is first birth since in verse 6 Jesus says ... "flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit give birth to spirit." Had Christian baptism even been insituted yet? I don't think so, but could be wrong.

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Hoops

You were asking what we were "protesting", those are the big two.

I find your beliefs "astonishing" as well. Are we even now?

Water can quite reasonable mean the washing of regeneration or the first birth. My druthers is first birth since in verse 6 Jesus says ... "flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit give birth to spirit." Had Christian baptism even been insituted yet? I don't think so, but could be wrong.

I am certainly not going to lecture you on your own beliefs, but I am sure that a majority of Protestants would disagree with your assesment of baptism. But what IS undeniable, is you're a bit lacking on the subject. Christian baptisms were instituted in the NT, and moreover, Paul speaks of both the flood and the crossing of the Red Sea as being baptisms.

But let's go with your logic for a moment...what is this "birth" of the water that an "old" man can receive (if not baptism as you profess it is not) that is necessary to "enter the kingdom of heaven?"

PacMan

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--Ok...not as interesting as why apologists are all insincere satanists, but...bump?--

Hey PM--

I'm not entirely convinced, but I think a good case can be made (and has been made) that the "water" in the relevant passage is a reference to something other than water baptism. The dissertation has to go in the mails tomorrow, but I'll try to hunt down the interesting article I read couple weeks ago to that effect.

If I can't find it easily, it'll have to wait.

Best.

CKS

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Hi Sargon,

You wrote:

>>I too remain perplexed as to why such importance is placed by protestants on the creeds of the early RC chuch. They exclude us from Christianity for not accepting parts of certain creeds, yet they themselves accept only about 7 of the 21. What is the cutoff for how many creeds you can accept and still be considered Christian?>>

Me: As with pretty much EVERYTHING, it is impossible to lump the Prots together concerning the ancient creeds and Ecumenical Council. Some groups (e.g. fundamentalist Baptists and Pentecostals) reject all the Councils; but I would say the majority of Prots, who still care about doctrine, would accept the first 4.

Grace and peace,

David

P.S. BTW, I am a bit perplexed too given THE basic tenant of Protestantism: sola scriptura. If the Scriptures are the only source of divine authority, and they are CLEAR (perspicuity) concerning the â??essentialsâ?, then why make/subscribe to creeds, confessions, catechisms, et al.?

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Hi Sargon,

You wrote:

>>I too remain perplexed as to why such importance is placed by protestants on the creeds of the early RC chuch. They exclude us from Christianity for not accepting parts of certain creeds, yet they themselves accept only about 7 of the 21. What is the cutoff for how many creeds you can accept and still be considered Christian?>>

Me: As with pretty much EVERYTHING, it is impossible to lump the Prots together concerning the ancient creeds and Ecumenical Council. Some groups (e.g. fundamentalist Baptists and Pentecostals) reject all the Councils; but I would say the majority of Prots, who still care about doctrine, would accept the first 4.

Grace and peace,

David

P.S. BTW, I am a bit perplexed too given THE basic tenant of Protestantism: sola scriptura. If the Scriptures are the only source of divine authority, and they are CLEAR (perspicuity) concerning the â??essentialsâ?, then why make/subscribe to creeds, confessions, catechisms, et al.?

Hi David--

Well, I consider myself something of a fundamentalist Baptist (though perhaps not in the sense you mean, as I do have a great affinity for the ministerial praxis of John Bunyan). And I do manifestly accept the early creeds as accurate summaries of deduced biblical truths.

The reason Protestants (if they do) subscribe to the early creeds is a matter of generic identification with the universal Christian church--not a specific identification with RCC, etc. Why wouldn't I ascribe truth value to Nicea, for example? I see no reason not to. I certainly wouldn't avoid doing so simply because it might appear to some that I don't believe scripture is more or less perspicuous.

I don't think there is any need to be perplexed about that.

Best.

CKS

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Chris,

That's a long [non-expletive] article, so it might take a bit to go through (but I'm sincerely interested--I've never heard the premise before). I'll get back on that once I'm through it.

To piggy-back on David Waltz (on go back to the other portion of my IP), we were talking of the "one catholic and apostolic." Clearly there are other meanings to "catholic," from which the church derived its name. However, the church at that time was clearly subject to the Pope...he was present vicarious through his deacons, and the Bishops clearly regarded his authority. That being said, the "one catholic and apostolic" church was not formed on account of Christians, but Christians were constituted because of the Church, hence the power in the organization to give the boot to Arius. That's how I don't understand the said church being anything other than the specific organization. Moreover, if all "Christians" were included, why say it? It otherwise seems redundant and unnecessary.

PacMan

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(1) That being said, the "one catholic and apostolic" church was not formed on account of Christians, (2) but Christians were constituted because of the Church, (3) hence the power in the organization to give the boot to Arius. (4) That's how I don't understand the said church being anything other than the specific organization. (5) Moreover, if all "Christians" were included, why say it? It otherwise seems redundant and unnecessary.

PacMan

Hey Pac--

Some brief comments:

(1) I'd say that the "one catholic and apostolic" church was not formed so much as recognized.

(2) Nicea certainly demonstrated a unified effort to define what Christianity "means."

(3) I don't see an organization here, as I think you mean that term: rather, I see a codified demarcation of what constitutes Christian devotion to Christ--properly conceived by the ecumenical council. This was an ecumenical council of Christian bishops, not a business meeting. Your reference to an organization seems to implicitly point to the latter.

(4) Again, I don't see an "organization" here. I see a conciliar agreement on certain fundamentals deemed constitutive of true devotion to Christ.

(5) I think the point was that for those who believed with Arius that Jesus was a creature, subordinate to the Father, the label "Christian," as conceived by the council, was not fitting.

That implies a demarcation of the term "Christian"--the idea is that the actual "Christian" church, per the council's ruling, "universally" recognized Jesus as truly equal to God in all ways, rather than seeing him as a subordinate creature. Without a doubt, the referent of the term "Christian" is being constricted here. But that just means that the framers at Nicea deemed the belief in Christ as a subordinate creature sub-Christian.

I think.

The article is really interesting.

Even if you ultimately disagree, there's a lot of meat there.

Best.

CKS

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Salmon

(1) I'd say that the "one catholic and apostolic" church was not formed so much as recognized.

I think you’re right…that makes sense. Going with that, then, Christians were “recognized” on account of the church…not the church recognized on account of the Christians. Heretical excommunications (particularly of the devout) evidences this.

(2) Nicea certainly demonstrated a unified effort to define what Christianity "means."

But under what hand? Constantine and the Pope’s, I believe. The unified effort, however, ultimately rested in a unified organization…the Catholic church.

(3) I don't see an organization here, as I think you mean that term: rather, I see a codified demarcation of what constitutes Christian devotion to Christ--properly conceived by the ecumenical council. This was an ecumenical council of Christian bishops, not a business meeting. Your reference to an organization seems to implicitly point to the latter.

Then the question begs, where did these Bishops come from, under what authority did they come, and did they subject themselves to the Pope? I think the answers keenly lean to an authoritative ecumenical council of leaders, rather than simply devotees.

(4) Again, I don't see an "organization" here. I see a conciliar agreement on certain fundamentals deemed constitutive of true devotion to Christ.

We may simply disagree…although I think the papal role and his vicarious presence/blessing is particularly important.

(5) I think the point was that for those who believed with Arius that Jesus was a creature, subordinate to the Father, the label "Christian," as conceived by the council, was not fitting.

Again, whether before or after, that council was thus defined (if not self-defined) as authoritative, the outcropping (and in my opinion, the predecessor) being the RCC.

That implies a demarcation of the term "Christian"--the idea is that the actual "Christian" church, per the council's ruling, "universally" recognized Jesus as truly equal to God in all ways, rather than seeing him as a subordinate creature. Without a doubt, the referent of the term "Christian" is being constricted here. But that just means that the framers at Nicea deemed the belief in Christ as a subordinate creature sub-Christian.

I think.

You’re missing the point…the issue isn’t definitional of what is, and is not a Christian. It is what authoritative power/banner these Bishops organized. I believe the answer is two fold: Constantine the pagan, and the Catholic (or Christian) Pope.

And I appreciate your thoughts.

I’ll get to the article, hopefully tonight.

PacMan

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Youâ??re missing the pointâ?¦(1) the issue isnâ??t definitional of what is, and is not a Christian. (2) It is what authoritative power/banner [under which] these Bishops organized. I believe the answer is two fold: Constantine the pagan, and the Catholic (or Christian) Pope.

Hey PM--

Well, I just disagree here. No surprise there.

(1) I think this is precisely the issue of debate at Nicea.

(2) You seem to read some sort of nefarious power-grab into the council. I don't see that at all, frankly. You make much of Constantine's influence, but I'd suggest that whatever council he gave was received by him from Christian bishops. Remember, Christianity was not made the official religion of pagan Rome under Constantine. That move would not be made until Theodosius, two emperors later. After Julian the Apostate.

The council was much more definitional and exclusionary in terms of legitimate Christian faith than it was definitional and exclusionary with regard to mere political pressure(s).

Until you can come to at least countenance the idea that Nicea constituted a demarcation of legitimate Christian faith vis-a-vis a purely political contrivance, I don't know if we can move forward in the discussion.

If that's all and only what Nicea is in your mind, then I'd suggest we just cannot come to any sort of reasonable d

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