I hope that all of you are enjoying the sermon series on the Nicene Creed. I wanted to make a few points on here and perhaps clarify a few questions that you may have.
- Church of the Outer Banks is a church in the Protestant Stream. What I mean by this is that our church is neither Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Coptic, etc… Our history and our theology, like every Protestant Church (whether it’s Southern Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist, Non-Denominational, Church of God, etc…) comes out of the Protestant Reformation of the 1500’s. This doesn't mean that we ignore everything that came before though. The Reformers believed that they were reforming the ancient church from a (relatively) short time of corruption, not starting a brand new movement!
- You may ask, do churches that aren’t Roman Catholic say the Nicene Creed? the answer is absolutely YES! The Nicene Creed has been the standard summary of Christianity since it was written in the 4th century. Every phrase is backed up by scripture (I’ll post another blog with scripture references another day). Churches that came to being from the Protestant Reformation accept and affirm the Nicene Creed. The Orthodox Creed of the General Baptists (1687) noted that the Nicene Creed, the Apostles Creed, and the Athanasian Creed should be taught and memorized. The Methodist movement, the Anglican Communion, Lutheran churches, and the Presbyterian churches have always included these Creeds as well. While many non-denomination churches may not specifically recite or say the Creeds, they would not deny the contents. To deny something written in the creed would be considered heresy by all orthodox Christian traditions.
- So then, what is that weird phrase saying that “we believe in one, holy, catholic church” all about? The word catholic simply means universal. We are acknowledging that we are not followers of Christ alone, but that we are a part of a great family! That family consists of all Christians, everywhere, and from every time. The Holy Spirit unites us together into one body. Though we may worship in different places, we are united as Christ’s Body. Saying this piece of the Nicene Creed is a reminder that God has joined us together, made His people Holy, and that he is present in the church.
I will post some more next week. I will try to link each phrase with the appropriate scriptures so that you can see how these early church leaders formed the Creed. If you have questions, leave a comment, and I will try to answer as best as I can.