They proclaim; “There are many paths to God… There are many roads to Salvation!” — Whether it’s the gospel according to Oprah or the controversy-averse, positivist ponderings of Joel Osteen, those who like to call themselves “christians” flock to populist theorists who embrace nearly any idea or concept… as long as it doesn’t make waves… or question the preconceptions of those “believers” … or, even worse, challenge them to change their behaviour.
We like to have our own way and believe what we wish to believe. However, Proverbs 14:12 tells us that “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.”
If I live in a henhouse and loudly proclaim that I’m a chicken, I’m still just a man. The sad truth is that these followers of popular religiosity are not living in reality. In spite of their self-proclamations, they are no more a christian than I am a chicken. Even more sadly, that Cheap Faith (that faith of convenience) is actually leading them away from the free gift of Salvation offered by Jesus, the Christ (Christ means “Savior”).
Reality is based in Truth. Truth is not Subjective…. real truth is Objective. It either “is” or “is not.” Granted, it is rather narrow-minded to insist that the Sun rises only in the East and sets only in the West… It is, nontheless, true! Scripture, the Revealed Word of God in the form of the Christian Bible, illuminates the true path for our Pilgrim feet… the path toward Christ… the path of Salvation!
At the beginning of the 14th Chapter of John’s Gospel, Jesus tells us “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” The clarity of this statement makes waves… it offends those who wish to believe otherwise… it’s inconvenient to those who want more options… It is, nontheless, true!
Much like today, in the earliest days of Christianity, false teachers were common and decieved many. So, to reduce confusion and to remind the faithful of what Scripture taught us, statements of faith were assembled. These came to be called creeds (from the Latin word “credo,” meaning “I believe”).
The creed attributed to the Apostles (The Apostle’s Creed) served as a summary of Christian doctrine for baptismal candidates in the ancient churches of Rome. Hippolytus (a 2nd century Christian bishop and theologian) recorded that it was used in a question and answer format, with the baptismal candidates responding that they believed each statement. Many Christian Churches still use this during their Baptisms, as well as occasionally during services.
The Nicene Creed is the profession of faith that is most widely used in Christian liturgy. It is called Nicene because it was first adopted in the city of Nicaea by the first Ecumenical Council (a conference of the bishops of the whole Christian Church, which convened to discuss and settle matters of Church doctrine and practice), which met there in AD 325. The Nicene Creed has been normative to the Anglican, Lutheran, and Roman Catholic Eucharistic rites as well as many Orthodox liturgies.
Over time, these two most fundamental creeds also became the most widely used and accepted. Among Bible-believing Christian churches, these two creeds still desribe the foundational faith of every true Christian.
As we stand in the doorway of this Year of our Lord two-thousand and eleven, we need to remember what we, as Christians, truly believe! Let’s stand together with 2000 years of our fellow Christians and proclaim the essence of our our Faith…
(The Nicene Creed)
We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father.
Through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven:
by the power of the Holy Spirit
he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary,
and was made man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
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.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son.
With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified.
He has spoken through the Prophets.
We believe in one holy, catholic (a word referring to “the entire Body of Christ”), and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. Amen.
Shalom… May the peace of our Christ be with you throughout this New Year!