Ensuring Unity of Faith

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1 Ensuring Unity of Faith

2 What to Believe? St. Paul: All members of the Church should inwardly believe the truths of faith proposed by the apostles and their successors, and outwardly confess what they believe: By believing from the heart you are made righteous; by confessing with your lips, you are saved. (Romans 10:10) I beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call, one Lord, one faith, one baptism (Eph 4:1-5) 2

3 Why a Creed? With close of apostolic age, Church s leaders were called upon to reflect on what the Church is and who belongs to her. Challenges from within/opposition from without. People claiming to be followers of Christ, but acted in ways which contradicted the Gospels. 3

4 Early Development By 150, converts to the Church expected to memorize and adequately understand certain formulations of doctrine (creeds). Two Stages in formulation of baptismal creeds: Simple affirmation of the articles of faith Developed into careful-structured formula that touched on the four major areas of Christian belief: God the Father and Creation God the Son and Redemption Holy Spirit and sanctification Catholic Church and final resurrection 4

5 The Creeds Creed from credo, Latin for I believe. Apostles Creed first found near end of 2 nd century. Is oldest authoritative doctrinal formulation of the Church s belief in the Trinity. Served as basis of catechumenical instruction and as a baptismal confession of faith since 2 nd century. Nicene Creed (Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed) Draws authority from the first two ecumenical Councils (in 325 and 381). Arose out of defensive struggle against Arianism, and specially stresses the true divinity of the Son and His consubstantiality (homoousy) with the Father. 5

6 Apostles Creed Can be traced in one form or another back to Apostolic times. Creed can also be found in a letter to Pope Julius I (340 AD) and even earlier in a circa 200 document containing the Roman baptismal liturgy. Rufinus' Commentary on the Apostle's Creed (ca. 407) contains the prayer in a form very close to what we have today. Present form of the Apostles' Creed first appeared in the 6th century in the writings of Caesarius of Arles (d. 542). 6

7 Apostles Creed Creed was a baptismal creed summarizing the teachings of the Apostles and was given to the catechumens when they were baptized. Instead of the continuous prayer, each line was in the form of a question to which the catechumen gave assent indicating he both understood and believed. This form is similar to the form found in the Easter Liturgy for the renewal of the Baptismal promises. Eventually this question and answer style was modified into the prayer form as we have it today. 7

8 Apostles Creed I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son Our Lord, Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into Hell; the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into Heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God, the Father almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting. Amen. 8

9 Apostles Creed The Apostles' Creed is so called because it is rightly considered to be a faithful summary of the apostles' faith. It is the ancient baptismal symbol of the Church of Rome. Its great authority arises from this fact: it is 'the Creed of the Roman Church, the See of Peter, the first of the apostles, to which he brought the common faith. (CCC, 194) This Creed is the spiritual seal, our heart's meditation and an ever-present guardian; it is, unquestionably, the treasure of our soul. (Saint Ambrose) 9

10 Nicene Creed I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible. I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages. God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father; Through him all things were made. For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven, and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate, he suffered death and was buried, and rose again on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and his kingdom will have no end. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets. I believe in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church. I confess one baptism for the forgiveness of sins and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen. 10

11 The Creeds Athanasian Creed the Symbolum Quicumque Not from St. Athanasius, but from unknown Latin author of 5 th or 6 th century. Contains in very clear and readable form a synopsis of the teaching of the Church on the Incarnation and the Trinity Against heresy of Sabellianism--belief that the Heavenly Father, Resurrected Son and Holy Spirit are different modes or aspects of one monadic God, as perceived by the believer, rather than three distinct persons within the Godhead. 11

12 Athanasian Creed Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the catholic faith. Which faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled; without doubt he shall perish everlastingly. And the catholic faith is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; Neither confounding the Persons; nor dividing the Essence. For there is one Person of the Father; another of the Son; and another of the Holy Ghost. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is all one; the Glory equal, the Majesty coeternal. Such as the Father is; such is the Son; and such is the Holy Ghost. The Father uncreated; the Son uncreated; and the Holy Ghost uncreated. The Father unlimited; the Son unlimited; and the Holy Ghost unlimited. The Father eternal; the Son eternal; and the Holy Ghost eternal. And yet they are not three eternals; but one eternal. As also there are not three uncreated; nor three infinites, but one uncreated; and one infinite. So likewise the Father is Almighty; the Son Almighty; and the Holy Ghost Almighty. And yet they are not three Almighties; but one Almighty. So the Father is God; the Son is God; and the Holy Ghost is God. And yet they are not three Gods; but one God. So likewise the Father is Lord; the Son Lord; and the Holy Ghost Lord. And yet not three Lords; but one Lord. For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity; to acknowledge every Person by himself to be God and Lord; So are we forbidden by the catholic religion; to say, There are three Gods, or three Lords. The Father is made of none; neither created, nor begotten. The Son is of the Father alone; not made, nor created; but begotten. The Holy Ghost is of the Father and of the Son; neither made, nor created, nor begotten; but proceeding. So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Ghost, not three Holy Ghosts. And in this Trinity none is before, or after another; none is greater, or less than another. But the whole three Persons are coeternal, and coequal. So that in all things, as aforesaid; the Unity in Trinity, and the Trinity in Unity, is to be worshipped. He therefore that will be saved, let him thus think of the Trinity. Furthermore it is necessary to everlasting salvation; that he also believe faithfully the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. For the right Faith is, that we believe and confess; that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and Man; God, of the Essence of the Father; begotten before the worlds; and Man, of the Essence of his Mother, born in the world. Perfect God; and perfect Man, of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting. Equal to the Father, as touching his Godhead; and inferior to the Father as touching his Manhood. Who although he is God and Man; yet he is not two, but one Christ. One; not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh; but by assumption of the Manhood by God. One altogether; not by confusion of Essence; but by unity of Person. For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one man; so God and Man is one Christ; Who suffered for our salvation; descended into hell; rose again the third day from the dead. He ascended into heaven, he sitteth on the right hand of the God the Father Almighty, from whence he will come to judge the quick and the dead. At whose coming all men will rise again with their bodies; And shall give account for their own works. And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting; and they that have done evil, into everlasting fire. This is the catholic faith; which except a man believe truly and firmly, he cannot be saved. 12

13 Early Heresies Heresies are ruptures in Christian unity Heresy: the obstinate post-baptismal denial of some truth which must be believed with divine and catholic faith, or it is likewise an obstinate doubt concerning the same Gnosticism: Personal insight apart from Church teaching. Arianism: Jesus was creation of the Father. Nestorianism: Denied unity of both natures in Jesus that he couldn t be both God and Man. If Jesus was not Man, he could not have suffered for our salvation. If not God, he could have not taken on all the sins of mankind. 13

14 Early Heresies First major writing dealing w/ heresy and schism was St. Ireneus Against Heresies Ireneus said that heresy is a refusal to accept the Church s teaching authority as centered on the Bishop of Rome. This was later echoed later in Vatican I in the 1800s: In order that the whole assembly of the faithful may remain in the unity of faith and communion, He placed St. Peter over the other apostles and instituted in him both a perpetual principle of unity and a visible foundation. 14

15 The Church Church : from the German kirche, meaning a gathering of people or community for worship. Greek: Ekklesia Latin: Ecclesia Founded by Christ upon apostle Peter: And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. (Matthew 16:18-19 RSV) 15

16 The Church as One Creed/Belief Apostles and Nicene Creeds Maintain unity of belief Then it seemed good to the apostles and the elders, with the whole church, to choose men from among them and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. (Act 15:22) I appeal to you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree and that there be no dissensions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. (1Cor 1:10) Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along with me and I laid before them (but privately before those who were of repute) the gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, lest somehow I should be running or had run in vain. (Gal 2:1-2) 16

17 Council of Trent Christianity proposes to the faithful many truths which, either separately or in general, must be held with an assured and firm faith. Among these what must first and necessarily be believed by all is that which God Himself has taught us as the foundation and summary of truth concerning the unity of the Divine Essence, the distinction of Three Persons, and the actions which are peculiarly attributed to each. The pastor should teach that the Apostles Creed briefly comprehends the doctrine of this mystery. 17

18 The Church For the worship of God. Established by Jesus Christ. ( I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church. Mt 16:18) Symbolized by: one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water. (John 19:34) Sustained and led by the Holy Spirit: you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses (Acts 1:8) 18

19 The Church Founded upon Peter, the leader of the apostles, who were the first bishops. Peter and the apostles leaders of the Church given the keys of the kingdom: I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." (Matt 16:19) to last until the second coming: I am with you always, to the close of the age. (Matt 28:20) Sought unity of practice and belief (Acts 15, the letters of Paul (esp. Galatians)). 19

20 Unified by the Holy Spirit When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. (Act 2:1-4) 20

21 Four Marks of the Church One Holy Catholic ( universal ) Apostolic 21

22 Four Marks of the Church One A single unity one, not several Churches--in Christ Encompasses all Christian believers All races/nations/ peoples 22

23 Four Marks of the Church What about non-catholic Christians? Still in the One Church of Christ, but with varying degrees of disunity/separation. Have a certain, if incomplete, communion with the Catholic Church. Christian denominations recognize the need/desire for Christian unity, and work toward that goal (ecumenism). 23

24 Four Marks of the Church Holy Origin in the Holy Trinity; united in & with Christ Jesus established the Church on the Apostles consecrated at Pentecost. Through baptism/confirmation, we are consecrated in the Holy Spirit. Individuals still subject to sin, but Church as a whole is holy. 24

25 Four Marks of the Church Catholic Greek for universal Seeks the good present in all cultures. Encompasses the whole world of Christian believers and even all peoples of good will. 25

26 Four Marks of the Church Apostolic Founded on the apostles and continuing on the faith of the apostles. Apostolic succession office of apostles handed on through the bishops., the successors of the apostles. Acts 1:15-26; laying of hands in various scriptures. Teaching office of the pope & bishops is called the Magisterium. 26

27 Infallibility of Teaching Bishops not infallible as individuals, but as a group united with the Pope. Church councils are vehicle for this since Acts 15. Authority given to Peter & apostles (Mt 16:19, 18:18) Promised the guidance of Christ Himself (Mt 28:20) 27

28 Infallibility of Teaching Peter established as the rock upon which the Church of Christ was built and given the authority to teach. (Mt 16:18-19) Peter commanded by Jesus to feed His sheep to direct the disciples of Christ (John 21:15-17, Luke 22:31) Popes are the successors of Peter. Teaching only infallible when speaking ex cathedra as pastor of the whole Church, and only in matters of faith and morals. Is the highest authority in faith and morals. 28

29 Chapter 11: The Four Marks of the Church Infallibility? Really?? Reality check No defined doctrine of the Church has changed in 2000 years. Magisterium composed of men who have devoted their whole lives to Christ and His Church. If not them.who? 29

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