Wednesday, February 12, 2014

That They May Be One

“Not to spoil the party but we do have the ecumenical creeds. The Apostles' and Nicene creeds exist as essentially definitions of what it means to be a Christian. That's why many of us recite them every week-- to reaffirm our identity and to reaffirm our unity with all other Christians who confess this faith.”

Not to spoil the party, but no, we don’t. The ecumenical creeds were given in a context, and if we should say that we agree with them, we are saying we agree with the context in which they were given, and on the terms with which the men who composed them proposed them. The very fact that I am Catholic, and the person who said this is not, is all the proof I need for what I have just said. The meaning of the creeds is itself in dispute between us. If this is not acknowledged, there is significant risk of false ecumenism, of which there is far too much in these days. I suppose it is a forgivable conceit, depending on when and why the person holds it, but this creedal minimalism is indeed a conceit, and one in fact that doesn’t work.

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