We are looking at the Nicaeno-Constantinopolitan Creed or Nicene creed. The creed was originally written in 325 AD but later expanded in Constantinople in 381 AD. The expanded section dealt with the Holy Spirit. The original creed was written at the council of Nicaea (present day Iznik, Turkey), hence why we call it the Nicaean Creed. In 324 AD the Roman empire was united again under Constantine, who was a recent convert to Christianity. The council of Nicaea was the first of many important councils that summarize the theology of the bible into a short confession. Many councils gathered to discuss one or a couple of important doctrines. The Nicene council was called to resolve a teaching of Arius who had taught that Jesus was not God but was a celestial servant of God. Of course, this has very important implications one of which is, ‘can you worship Jesus the same as you worship God?’ The council wrote the creed to address this particular question, is Jesus God?
The creed follows the similar outline which is found in the Apostles creed (~140 AD). We will be looking at it over 15 weeks in short snippets, from a devotional perspective. The creed is very important and addresses one of the biggest misrepresentations of Christianity today. Every two years Ligonier Ministries prepares a survey that call the State of Theology. In this survey they had people agree or disagree with this statement, “Jesus was a great teacher, but he was not God.” 66% of evangelical respondents disagreed or strongly disagreed (64% strongly). The reason that the Nicene creed was to answer this exact question, and now evangelicals answer it incorrectly 2 out of 3 times. We will look at this issue when we get to this section but for now, we are reminded the benefit of Creeds as an accurate summary of the Bible’s teaching.