Hey Glen, have you read or heard about Wright’s book, “How God became King”? His contention is that they were designed to deal with heresy in codifying orthodoxy rather than serving as the basis for preaching and theology or the like. His argument is that the creeds almost always skip the whole of Jesus’ life (skips from “born of the virgin Mary” all the way to “suffered under Pontius Pilate”) and so completely whiff the main emphasis of the Gospels.What do you make of that?
Michael, for a response to Wright’s view by another NT scholar, I’d suggest Luke Timothy Johnson’s book on the creed. Johnson has (I believe) a much richer and more rigorous understanding of how creed and gospel intersect.
Michael – I always learn plenty from Tom Wright but it sometimes grates when he speaks of no-one really understanding the importance of such-and-such *until now*. ‘Such and such’ can be anything from ‘the real meaning of justification’ to ‘Jesus as the true Israel’ or ‘the importance of the life (not just the death) of Christ.’ – i.e. things that have extremely rich pedigrees in the church if you know where to look. I often come away from his stuff with the sense that he has tried to re-invent the wheel while ignoring some perfectly good wheels that have served the church well for some time!
Any time spent in Tetullian, Irenaeus, Athanasius etc will show that the early church had a massive vision for the life and obedience of Christ in the flesh. Ben’s suggestion of Luke Timothy Johnson’s book sounds like a good lead in terms of the putting together of the creed itself.
Thanks for the input Ben – and thanks again for the sermons. Refreshingly clear and heart-warmingly gracious.
This is a fine series. Thanks for highlighting it. It’s of great value for the remembering of baptism, as well, of course, for those being baptized. There are great insights on the virgin birth, death, and especially catholicity. But, it seemed to me that the concluding sermon read an unorthodox view of universalism into the creed, while citing Origen as the authority for it. Origen may have held to that view, I don’t know. And while some of the Fathers had at least leanings toward universalism, it seems to have been a minority view, and not one that was asserted as an article of the creed.
Hi John, yes indeed the citing Origen as an authority on judgement is bound to make those in the know think in universalist directions. But what Ben actually attributes to Origen – the belief that God’s *one* attitude of love is experienced in two radically different ways – is not at all universalistic in itself. Funnily enough it’s Augustine’s insight (that the wheat and the tares exist *within* each person) that is most open to universalistic interpretation!
Thanks Glen. There’s no chance of mistaking Augustine for a universalist. But, with Origen, there’s always at least the suspicion that’s the case. For Augustine, it’s all about God’s grace to his people. Especially in judgment, God is gracious and merciful. By grace, the reborn man is able to not sin. And by that same grace, he is incapable of rendering judgment. The peace of Christ is perfected after this life in the repose of the Spirit, and finally in the resurrection to newness of life.