A dear friend asked me to help with a doctrinal statement for a ministry that he is involved with. The whole thing (and reading Daniel Kirk’s recent comments) had me thinking of ways that I’d augment the creed, if I were the church catholic and undivided. (I see that shudder:-)
I don’t believe anything I’d add would have been questioned as truly essential to our story or truly catholic by those who gave us our precious symbol. The ‘questioning’ is a more recent phenomena, and so perhaps its no longer enough to implicitly affirm their radical nature by simply pointing to the catholic practice of mother kirk.
The two exceptions might be my method of resolving the filioque controversy and explicitly affirming the gospel to be the fulfillment of Israel’s story.
Regarding the first: by exchanging ‘through’ for ‘and’ I believe the insights of both East and West are guarded. It is also the language of giants like Cyril of Jerusalem, Athanasius, Gregory of Nazianzus, etc.
Anyway, here’s how I would summarize our controlling story in light of offered innovations that would turn it into another story, altogether.
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 his Father before all worlds,
God of God, Light of Light,
True God of True God,
Begotten, not made,
Of one being with the Father,
By whom all things were made;
Who out of love for all of creation and for our salvation
Came down from heaven,
And was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary,
And was made man,
So that he might bring to consummation Israel’s story,
Through which the entire world was to be made whole.
As her king and cursed by her law he was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate.
He suffered and was buried,
On the third day he rose again according to the Scriptures,
He ascended into heaven,
And is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He shall come again in glory to judge both the living and the dead:
And his kingdom shall have no end.
And I believe in the Holy Spirit,
The Lord and giver of life,
Who proceeds from the Father through the Son,
Who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified,
Who has spoken by the Prophets,
And now invades all nations with the eternal life of Israel’s king.
I embrace the call of the gospel
To join in the cruciform life of the one Catholic and Apostolic Church.
I believe in the communion of all Saints,
Which is born of communion with the body and blood of the Lord.
I acknowledge one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
I look for the Resurrection of the body,
And the eternal life of a New Heavens and Earth.
We believe in God, the maker of heaven and earth, who sustains the unfolding of all life;
Who called a people in Abraham for his own possession and for his own purposes, to be a new beginning, a new creation, in the midst of the nations;
Who entered into judgment against his people Israel, subjecting them to the heavy hand of pagan empire.
We believe in Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, Israel’s king;
Born under Augustus, executed under Tiberius;
Who died to save his rebellious people from destruction;
Who was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures and was exalted to the right hand of the Father;
Who was given the name which was above every name, for the sake of the glory of Israel’s God in the ancient world;
Who was made judge and ruler of the nations;
And through whom his persecuted followers came to inherit the empire and then the world.
We believe in the Holy Spirit;
Who is the presence of the creator God in the midst of his people;
Who gives life and form and endurance to God’s new creation.
We believe in one people under Christ, redeemed from the corrosive power of sin, transformed by the events of the New Testament story, justified by its persistent trust in the creator, called to live practically and prophetically in the light of the final renewal of all things.
We believe in a final justice, the final defeat of Satan, evil and death. We believe in the new heavens and the new earth, the reconciliation of creator and creation, and the healing of the nations.