Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Creed of St. Athanasius

At the Sovereign Grace Church of Toronto, I recited along with the congregation a condensed and adapted version of the Creed of Anthanasius. As we worked our way through the creed line by line I was struck by the clarity of this great statement that sets forth of trinitarian nature of God. Living as we do in a day of pervasive ignorance concerning the essentials of the Christian faith such a public recital has great value. For one, it links contemporary worshipers with their heritage as Christians, and it reminds us that theological debates and questions are not new. The church and her leaders always need to be vigilant in the battle for truth. As professor John Murray once said, "truth is a razor's edge." Ideally Christian worship services should be a combination of old and new. We must not ignore the past, nor should we make an idol out of the present. Rather, drawing on the very best from the past we must find ways to set forth the truth again for a whole new generation of Christians. Condensed and adapted creeds, along with songs, hymns and songs of the Spirit, are excellent ways to accomplish these strategic objectives.

The Creed of St. Athanasius on the Trinity (condensed and adapted).

We worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity, neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the Substance.

For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Spirit,

But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, is all one, the Glory equal, the Majesty co-eternal.

The Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God.
And yet they are not three Gods, but one God.

So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son Lord, and the Holy Spirit Lord.
And yet not three Lords, but one Lord.

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 Spirit 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 Spirit, not three Holy Spirits.

And in this Trinity none is greater; or less than another.
But the whole three Persons are co-eternal together and co-equal.
So that in all things, the Unity in Trinity and Trinity in Unity is to be worshiped and adored forever. Amen.

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