This section of the Creed echoes several well known passages of Scripture (cf. Matt. 1:18-25; Lk. 1:26-38). In doing so two important aspects of the identity of Christ are emphasized. On the one hand, his divine nature and origin are explained. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit. Why is this important? For starters, it links Jesus with the promised Messiah of the older testament (cf. Isa. 7:14). He is the true fulfillment to all of the messianic prophecies of the past. Second, it successfully silences the claims of early Jews and contemporary detractors that Jesus was the illegitimate son of Mary; specifically that he was the son of a Roman solider. It was suggested that this was merely an exquisite cover-up-job designed to preserve the life of Mary. Finally, in so speaking the Creed rejects the ancient heresy of … Read More »
In confessing Jesus Christ we are confessing the content of those titles ascribed to him. That means, then, that these are more titles than names. Clearly Jesus was his first name, but Jesus’ father Joseph did not have the last name Christ. To confess Jesus Christ is to confess that our Lord is Savior (Jesus; Matt. 1:21) and Messiah (Christ). The Greek word Christos means “anointed” and harkens back to the promised anointed messiah who was to come.
What exactly did Jesus mean when he referred to himself as the “Son of God”?
Sonship is a massive topic that has been discussed and debated throughout the history of the church. What exactly did Jesus mean when he referred to himself as the “Son of God”? For starters it will be helpful if we simply remember how that phrase was used and to … Read More »
“…in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth…”
Last week we noted the way the Creed began: I believe. Simple enough. Nevertheless, in beginning this way we are reminded that Christians believe certain things. Christianity is not a buffet. You don’t walk through the line choosing this and rejecting that. Rather, something is placed in front of you and you take it or leave it. It is a package deal, and the Creed offers to us the most rudimentary facets of that package. It begins with the simple statement about God the Father. In so doing, it is explicitly Trinitarian and anticipates something to be said about God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. That anticipation will soon be realized as the Creed unfolds.
Three things are said of God here … Read More »
The Creed starts with the obvious: I believe… That said, it is so obvious that it is often skipped over to get to the particulars and to wrestle with the controversial. Consider why this is such an important point. For starters, we need always to remember that everyone believes in something. There is simply no such thing as neutrality. When someone states a proposition, though we may need time to struggle through the particulars of it and consider its implications, we either affirm it or deny it. An open mind, Chesterton said, is like an open mouth, it’s made to close on something. In the Creed we close on something, something specific and concrete.
An open mind, GK Chesterton said, is like an open mouth, it’s made to close on something.
This leads to the next observation: Christians believe in something specific … Read More »