And I believe that what I believe
Is what makes me what I am
I did not make it, no it is making me. . .
excerpt from the song Creed
“All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
“I hold another creed, which no one ever taught me, and which I seldom mention, but in which I delight, and to which I cling, for it extends hope to all; it makes eternity a rest – a mighty home, not a terror and an abyss. Besides, with this creed, I can so clearly distinguish between the criminal and his crime; I can so sincerely forgive the first while I abhor the last; with this creed, revenge never worries my heart, degradation never too deeply disgusts me, injustice never crushes me too low. I live in calm, looking to the end.”
― Charlotte Brontë
(deer hair caught in a barbed wire fence / Julie Cook / 2015)
It seems as if every business, corporation, agency, assembly, organization, all across the planet, has some sort of mission statement, guiding principle placard or pledge of delivery—some sort of proclamation of purpose, commitment of services rendered or a list of the promises made– ready to be executed by and to both its members and or consumers or customers.
Everyone it seems these days, needs some sort of directional treatise.
A form of purpose-driven compass that is clear, concise, transparent and “consumer friendly”. . .
No secret agendas
As in a “it is what it is” sort of realism which seems necessary in which to conduct bushiness, function as a corporation, or basically to serve ones clients, consumers, stakeholders, stockholders–i.e., the general public.
In the year 49AD there was a meeting of the early church fathers–Paul, Barnabas as well as various Bishops and Apostles. The new upstart “religion,” or cult as some leaders of the day observed, those who were continuing to follow the teachings of the Nazarene, were finding their numbers of followers growing exponentially. Direction, teaching and leadership was quickly becoming paramount. The tradition of oral teaching was the norm. The majority of people were not versed in written communication or literacy. Reading and writing had been entrusted to the rabbis, Sanhedrin and Roman prefects.
There had to be some sort of cohesiveness or unifying factor in which all followers could claim, relate to, and use as a basis of their faith.
Yet there was still the conundrum of the importance of the Law of Judaism.
Jesus, a devout Jew himself, had spoken of the importance of the Law. And yet His teachings, His death and subsequent resurrection had turned some of the Law upside down by bringing forth “amendments” to the older Laws of Moses. Not only were there commandments of what not to do such as the forbidding of sexual promiscuity or any unnatural sexual act, the eating of raw uncooked meat, the eating of sacrificial animals and the drinking of animal’s blood, the making and worshiping of idols, the forbidding of stealing, committing murder, infanticide, abortion, etc– there were now commandments of what a believer was to do such as loving and treating others as one would wished to be treated and the belief that all are called to be followers, not just Jew, but Gentile as well, and therefore all that one must do to follow is to be willing to pick up one’s cross and claim as well as live the teachings of Jesus.
It was time for a verbal proclamation of belief to be firmly established.
A specific written treatise which could be held up for all followers and non followers alike to be able to hear, see, read, proclaim, as well as live.
It was to be the cornerstone of the infant Christian church.
The declaration known as the Apostles Creed was born:
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth,
And in Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried; He descended into hell. The third day he rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. From there he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, I believe in the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
Yet as was typical of any new teaching, or in this case a new way of life, there came those who wanted to craft and sculpt the new Church as their own. Allowing ego, pride, misguidance, selfishness, avarice, disbelief, or simple ignorance to filter in and dilute the purity of the given Word. There were those who waged their own agendas against what was considered to be the Truth.
Discord, quarrels, uneasiness, disagreements were becoming rampant.
Heresies began to abound.
In 325 a new council meeting was requested by leading bishops wishing to quell the latest rising of heretic teachings. These were the men of trial and tribulation. Many having endured persecution, torture and often escaping with barely their very lives. Men who were greatly invested in the necessary and correct direction in which to set the future of the Christian faith.
Emperor Constantine, who was the leading Holy Roman Emperor, oversaw the historic meeting.
Three hundred years had past since the first council in Jerusalem.
Bishops, deacons and priests from Rome to Palestine, from Asia Minor to Hispania, from Greece to Gaul, from Georgia to the Danube region, from Armenia to Syria all converged in Nicaea, present day Turkey, in order to silence growing heretical teachings and to finally bring a cohesive understanding to the doctrine of the Trinity. Finally establishing that all Christians would be on the proverbial same page.
Time was also allotted to the sorting out of various directional issues such as deciding on one agreed calculation to be used in order to determine the yearly date for the Easter celebration as well as considering cases of extreme spiritual demonstrations of self denial such as self castration. Extreme directions believers felt compelled to follow as signs of deep devotion and as a way for attaining a higher level of “holiness” which were all more self destructive than spiritually edifying.
The Council was in session for over a month.
Not only were new Church cannons, or laws, established— such as the prohibition of extreme demonstrations of asceticism (i.e. self castration); the establishing of a specific process for the ordination of clergy; the forbidding of young women, while visiting alone, to enter the home or chamber of priests; the forbidding of usury among clergy; a specified “proper” procedure for holy Baptism; as well as the establishing of a new creed.
Enter the Nicene Creed.
I 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 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 sits on the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again, with glory, to judge the quick and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end.
And I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of Life; who proceeds from the Father [and the Son]; who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; who spoke by the prophets.
And I believe one holy catholic and apostolic Church. I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins; and I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.
The cornerstone and guiding principle of a young church.
A lasting, declaration of belief.
A creed written approximately 1700 years ago, recited and unchanged to this day.
A unifying statement for all Christians–Catholic, Orthodox and the various Protestant denominations to be recited and proclaimed.
And as Rich Mullins so aptly stated. . .
“. . . I believe what I believe
Is what makes me what I am
I did not make it, no it is making me
It is the very truth of God and not
The invention of any man. . .”
Yes, it is indeed making me. . .
Truth is timeless…
well said 🙂
Thank you Julie. The Creed was the subject of the main Bible teaching sessions at Spring Harvest in the UK last year. I have the sessions on DVD and recently watched them again. As Lynda says – truth is timeless.
Excellent post as usual. I have no mission statement however. I’m just following the leader. 🙂
Natalie, I like your statement about “following the leader”!
Thanks. I sometime wander off, but He always finds me and gets me back on track. 🙂
As Lynda—I too like your “mindset”—I too follow, yet often get a bit off track but He always either waits on me or comes after me—I’m the one out of the 99 you know 😉
Love this Julie, so profound!
I thank you for the reassurance that I can always use, but if you are the 99th…do you think there could be more than one of us? After all, it’s all Greek to me.
I think there are many of us after the 99th 🙂
I think I’ll be happy with any number that I get assigned at all. 🙂