• 11810

How did we get from the Sermon on the Mount to the Nicene Creed?

This question was raised in a book entitled, "The Influence of Greek Ideas and Usages Upon the Christian Church." It is striking when you think about the emphasis Jesus placed on our attitudes and actions and the very lack of that emphasis found in most of the creeds.

It is not suggested that we should abandon the creeds, but what would happen if we took the sermon on the mount more seriously?

0 0 0 0 0 0
Replies (4)
  • Hi there Dan. Good question. And how did the fellowship meal become a formal sacrament? And how did baptism go from being immediate to "first, a long course of study"?

    Brother, I don't know but I suspect that each time frame had "heretics" which early Christians thought needed a special creed to address. Just as most of the New Testament letters were occasional - not merely sent out as doctrines alone.

    We need to look into this further. There are several passages in the Bible which scholars believe were short creeds. Just a few sentences long, though.

    0 0 0 0 0 0
    • David, I agree that several confessions of faith or creeds are found in the bible. It is likely that "Jesus is Lord," was a very early one. In I Corinthians 12:3 Paul stated that no one can truly confess Jesus is Lord but by the Holy Spirit. Also in Philippians 2:10-11 it is found.

      A more lengthy one is found in 1 Timothy 3:16

      16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness:

      God was manifested in the flesh,
      Justified in the Spirit,
      Seen by angels,
      Preached among the Gentiles,
      Believed on in the world,
      Received up in glory.

      It is most likely that even then they were working on establishing the foundations of the Christian faith verses other belief systems that some might thought were based upon Christ.

      Modern scholars teach that there were "Christianities," in the First Century. I disagree, and am truly thankful that we have our Old and New Testaments to confirm what we know were the "essential" beliefs.

      The Apostle's Creed was certainly important for then as well as now. At the same time we could learn much from considering the importance of practicing the faith we confess.

      0 0 0 0 0 0
      • Dan, there are two interesting concepts here as you are aware. The concept of development in the church. And the concept of expediency

        It seems to me that there was indeed some development in the early church which occurred under the direction of the Holy Spirit. Jesus did not explain every detail in his own life before leaving the earth. He left that to others who spoke with his apostolic authority. 

        As for expediency, it't just old fashioned common sense. The Ethiopian inquirer in the book of Acts said: "Hey, I get it. Here is water. Let me now be baptized." In today's world, he would likely be told to "go to church", get plugged into a new members class and be baptized by a pastor, months later...

        As for the principle of development in the church, it's seen when the church realized: We got problems and we need to become a welfare agency for the poor. And seven were immediately chosen for this task. 

        When development gets out of control, the result is a massive apparatus that grows almost like the bureaucracy of our federal government. You can see this in the Catholic Church which at one time had dozens and dozens of church "officers". They not only had deacons but arch-deacons.

        As for places to meet, when the Israelites were in captivity, the naturally formed groups to meet in. And called these synagogues, which continued on and on. And were made use of by Christ and the apostles. My point is that they were not commanded to organize synagogues. It was just a natural impulse and worked fine in many instances just as house churches also do today.

        It's always good to ask: How did we get from here to here? 

        0 0 0 0 0 0
        • David, you wrote: "

          As for places to meet, when the Israelites were in captivity, the naturally formed groups to meet in. And called these synagogues, which continued on and on. And were made use of by Christ and the apostles. My point is that they were not commanded to organize synagogues. It was just a natural impulse and worked fine in many instances just as house churches also do today.

          It's always good to ask: How did we get from here to here? "

          Your point about Jesus giving the apostles the authority to work through the issues of their day is a good one. I believe we can learn from their examples and be inspired by them. Then we can seek the Lord and the direction of the Holy Spirit in how to apply the same principles to our time and our culture.

          If we could only trust the same Holy Spirit to lead others who might be taking a different approach that we take!

          0 0 0 0 0 0
          Please log in first to view this area of the site. Or to add your comments.