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Creed

Icon depicting Emperor Constantine (center) and the Fathers of the First Council of Nicaea (325) as holding the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed of 381

A creed, also known as a confession of faith, a symbol, or a statement of faith, is a statement of the shared beliefs of a community (often a religious community) in a form which is structured by subjects which summarize its core tenets.

The earliest known creed in Christianity, "Jesus is Lord", originated in the writings of Paul the Apostle. One of the most widely used Christian creeds is the Nicene Creed, first formulated in AD 325 at the First Council of Nicaea. It was based on Christian understanding of the canonical gospels, the letters of the New Testament and, to a lesser extent, the Old Testament. Affirmation of this creed, which describes the Trinity, is generally taken as a fundamental test of orthodoxy for most Christian denominations, and was historically purposed against Arianism. A shorter version of the creed, called the Apostles' Creed, is nowadays the most used version in Christian services.

Some Christian denominations do not use any of those creeds.

Although some say Judaism is non-creedal in nature, others say it recognizes a single creed, the Shema Yisrael, which begins: "Hear, O Israel: the LORD our God, the LORD is one."

In Islamic theology, the term most closely corresponding to "creed" is ʿaqīdah (عقيدة).[citation needed]

Terminology

The word creed is particularly used for a concise statement which is recited as part of liturgy. The term is anglicized from Latin credo "I believe", the incipit of the Latin texts of the Apostles' Creed and the Nicene Creed. A creed is sometimes referred to as a symbol in a specialized meaning of that word (which was first introduced to Late Middle English in this sense), after Latin symbolum "creed" (as in Symbolum Apostolorum = the "Apostles' Creed", a shorter version of the traditional Nicene Creed), after Greek symbolon "token, watchword".

Some longer statements of faith in the Protestant tradition are instead called "confessions of faith", or simply "confession" (as in e.g. Helvetic Confession). Within Evangelical Protestantism, the terms "doctrinal statement" or "doctrinal basis" tend to be preferred. Doctrinal statements may include positions on lectionary and translations of the Bible, particularly in fundamentalist churches of the King James Only movement.

The term creed is sometimes extended to comparable concepts in non-Christian theologies; thus the Islamic concept of ʿaqīdah (literally "bond, tie") is often rendered as "creed".

Jewish creed

Whether Judaism is creedal in character or not has generated controversies. Rabbi Milton Steinberg wrote that "By its nature Judaism is averse to formal creeds which of necessity limit and restrain thought" and asserted in his book Basic Judaism (1947) that "Judaism has never arrived at a creed." The 1976 Centenary Platform of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, an organization of Reform rabbis, agrees that "Judaism emphasizes action rather than creed as the primary expression of a religious life."

Others,[who?] however, characterize the Shema Yisrael as a creedal statement in strict monotheism embodied in a single prayer: "Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One" (Hebrew: שמע ישראל אדני אלהינו אדני אחד; transliterated Shema Yisrael Adonai Eloheinu Adonai Echad).

A notable statement of Jewish principles of faith was drawn up by Maimonides as his 13 Principles of Faith.

Christianity

The first confession of faith established within Christianity was the Nicene Creed by the Early Church in 325. It was established to summarize the foundations of the Christian faith and to protect believers from false doctrines. Various Christian denominations from Protestantism and Evangelical Christianity have published confession of faith as a basis for fellowship among churches of the same denomination.

Many Christian denominations did not try to be too exhaustive in their confessions of faith and thus allow different opinions on some secondary topics.In addition, some churches are open to revising their confession of faith when necessary. Moreover, Baptist "confessions of faith" have often had a clause such as this from the First London Baptist Confession (Revised edition, 1646):

Also we confess that we now know but in part and that are ignorant of many things which we desire to and seek to know: and if any shall do us that friendly part to show us from the Word of God that we see not, we shall have cause to be thankful to God and to them.

Excommunication

Excommunication is a practice of the Bible to exclude members who do not respect the Church's confession of faith and do not want to repent. It is practiced by all Christian denominations and is intended to protect against the consequences of heretics' teachings and apostasy.

Christians without creeds

Some Christian denominations do not profess a creed. This stance is often referred to as "non-creedalism". The Religious Society of Friends, also known as the Quakers, consider that they have no need for creedal formulations of faith.

Anabaptists like the Mennonites, the Amish and the Hutterites do not profess a creed but have some "confessions" that state doctrines, usages, and regulations that are essential for Anabaptist christianity like believer's baptism or not to swear oaths. The two most important of these confessions are the Schleitheim Confession of 1527 and the Dordrecht Confession of 1632. Likewise the Church of the Brethren and other Schwarzenau Brethren churches who are often seen as Anabapists also espouse no creed, referring to the New Testament, as their "rule of faith and practice."

Jehovah's Witnesses contrast "memorizing or repeating creeds" with acting to "do what Jesus said". Unitarian Universalists do not share a creed.

Similar reservations about the use of creeds can be found in the Restoration Movement and its descendants, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the Churches of Christ, and the Christian churches and churches of Christ. Restorationists profess "no creed but Christ".

Christian creeds

Several creeds originated in Christianity.

  • 1 Corinthians 15:3–7 includes an early creed about Jesus' death and resurrection which was probably received by Paul. The antiquity of the creed has been located by most biblical scholars to no more than five years after Jesus' death, probably originating from the Jerusalem apostolic community.
  • The Old Roman Creed is an earlier and shorter version of the Apostles' Creed. It was based on the 2nd century Rules of Faith and the interrogatory declaration of faith for those receiving baptism, which by the 4th century was everywhere tripartite in structure, following Matthew 28:19.
  • The Apostles' Creed is used in Western Christianity for both liturgical and catechetical purposes.
  • The Nicene Creed reflects the concerns of the First Council of Nicaea in 325 which had as their chief purpose to establish what Christians believed.
  • The Chalcedonian Creed was adopted at the Council of Chalcedon in 451 in Asia Minor. It defines that Christ is 'acknowledged in two natures', which 'come together into one person and hypostasis'.
  • The Athanasian Creed (Quicunque vult) is a Christian statement of belief focusing on Trinitarian doctrine and Christology. It is the first creed in which the equality of the three persons of the Trinity is explicitly stated and differs from the Nicene and Apostles' Creeds in the inclusion of anathemas, or condemnations of those who disagree with the Creed.
  • The Tridentine Creed was initially contained in the papal bull Iniunctum Nobis, issued by Pope Pius IV on November 13, 1565. The creed was intended to summarize the teaching of the Council of Trent (1545–1563).
  • The Maasai Creed is a creed composed in 1960 by the Maasai people of East Africa in collaboration with missionaries from the Congregation of the Holy Ghost. The creed attempts to express the essentials of the Christian faith within the Maasai culture.
  • The Credo of the People of God is a confession of faith that Pope Paul VI published with the motu proprio Solemni hac liturgia of 30 June 1968. Pope Paul VI spoke of it as "a creed which, without being strictly speaking a dogmatic definition, repeats in substance, with some developments called for by the spiritual condition of our time, the creed of Nicea, the creed of the immortal tradition of the holy Church of God."

Christian confessions of faith

Protestant denominations are usually associated with confessions of faith, which are similar to creeds but usually longer.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Within the sects of the Latter Day Saint movement, the Articles of Faith are contained in a list which was composed by Joseph Smith as part of an 1842 letter which he sent to "Long" John Wentworth, editor of the Chicago Democrat. It is canonized along with the King James Version of the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine & Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price, as a part of the standard works of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Controversies

In the Swiss Reformed Churches, there was a quarrel about the Apostles' Creed in the mid-19th century. As a result, most cantonal reformed churches stopped prescribing any particular creed.

In 2005, Bishop John Shelby Spong, retired Episcopal Bishop of Newark, has written that dogmas and creeds were merely "a stage in our development" and "part of our religious childhood." In his book, Sins of the Scripture, Spong wrote that "Jesus seemed to understand that no one can finally fit the holy God into his or her creeds or doctrines. That is idolatry."

Islamic creed

In Islamic theology, the term most closely corresponding to "creed" is ʿaqīdah (عقيدة). The first such creed was written as "a short answer to the pressing heresies of the time" is known as Al-Fiqh Al-Akbar and ascribed to Abū Ḥanīfa. Two well known creeds were the Fiqh Akbar II "representative" of the al-Ash'ari, and Fiqh Akbar III, "representative" of the Ash-Shafi'i.

Iman (Arabic: الإيمان) in Islamic theology denotes a believer's religious faith. Its most simple definition is the belief in the six articles of faith, known as arkān al-īmān.

  1. Belief in God
  2. Belief in the Angels
  3. Belief in Divine Books
  4. Belief in the Prophets
  5. Belief in the Day of Judgment
  6. Belief in God's predestination

See also

This page was last updated at 2022-10-03 00:41 UTC. Update now. View original page.

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