The Nicene Creed is an ancient creed that articulates Christian orthodoxy. It was developed from an earlier creed adopted in A.D. 325 at the Council of Nicea that was convened by the Roman Emperor Constantine, in an attempt to unify the Christian Church with one doctrine, especially on the issues of the Trinity and the deity and humanity of Jesus Christ. The document contains language specifically designed to combat the heresy of Arianism, which held that Jesus was not of the same essence as God.
Other than the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed is likely the most universally accepted and recognized statements of the Christian faith. It is still confessed in many Churches today.
Here is the version as presented on page 332 of the newest edition of The Book of Common Prayer:
- We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and of all that is visible and invisible.
- We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father; through Him all things were made. For us and for our salvation He came down from heaven. By the power of the Holy Spirit He was born of the Virgin Mary and became human. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; He suffered death and was buried. On the third day He rose again, in accordance with the Scriptures; He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and His kingdom will have no end.
- We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father, who with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets.
- We believe in the one holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.
- We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
- We look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen.
This Creed, Overall, is a good summary of Christian doctrine. However, as with the Apostles’ Creed, there are two primary issues:
- The first is in regards to the phrase “catholic and apostolic Church.” As explained in our article on the Apostolic Creed, this phrase does not refer to the Roman Catholic Church as we know it today. The word “catholic” means “universal.” Thus, the true “catholic” Church is all those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ for salvation. Also, “apostolic” means “built on the teaching of the apostles” and is not a statement of support for apostolic succession.
- The second issue is in regards to “baptism for the remission of sins.” This is a much misunderstood concept which shall be treated in a later time.
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