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 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.

Introduction

At this stage in your journey you may or may not want to describe yourself as a Christian. You may have made your decision to follow Jesus already or it may just be that you are interested in finding out more. Fundamentally, of course, being a Christian is about being in a right relationship with God, His people, and all of creation, and that will be the basis of everything else we talk about here.

However, it is also important to understand what we mean by the term “Christian” since that is what followers of Jesus call themselves. It’s not the only name that has been used for followers though, “believers” and “followers of the Way” have also been used though history to describe them. Early in the history of the Church the bishops decided that, in order that people shouldn’t get dragged into false teaching (doctrine) about Jesus, his Father and the Spirit, there should be a short statement drawn up to summarise what all Christians believe about the fundamentals of their faith. This statement (a creed) will be the basis for our discussion as it is contains the essence of what all those wishing to call themselves Christians will believe

First things first - What is a Creed?

Creed - “a short formal statement of Christian religious belief” (from the Latin ‘Credo’ – “I believe”).

The Nicene Creed was agreed at the council of Nicaea in 325AD. It is a summary of the core of what Christians believe and though not in the Bible is entirely based upon biblical teaching. As a summary it is useful to us but we must bear in mind that it is only a summary and there will be many other things that we must consider. However it provides us with a useful starting point as well as reminding us what we hold in common with others in the Christian faith, Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants alike.

Section 1 – The creator and sustainer

WE BELIEVE in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.

Summary
We believe in one God and one God alone.
He is God the Father in terms of relationship (He has a Son) and in terms of character (He is the Father to the whole universe).
He is omnipotent (all-powerful), omnipresent (everywhere), and omniscient (all-knowing).
He was before the Beginning and has no beginning. He created everything that exists, both physical and spiritual.
Everything that exists depends on him for its continued existence.

Supporting biblical texts
Job 38;1-30 & Genesis 1;1-31
1 John 3;1

YES
Everything that exists was and is made by God, and it was ‘very good’.
God holds all things in existence.
God continually re-creates all that is seen and unseen. He is intimately involved in His creation.

NO
There are no other gods.
Other faiths are in error and their gods are not real.
There are no other powers to rival God (The Devil, Demons etc). These are not rivals only rebellious parts of creation.
God is not an “absentee landlord”. 

Section 2 - The Word made Flesh

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.

Summary
Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and Lord over all of the creation. He was with God in the Beginning – He was not created, but is also fully God. He took part in the creation of the universe along with the Father – He is the Word of God, giving shape and definition to creation.

Supporting biblical texts
John 1;1-5
Colossians 1;15-20

YES
Jesus is co-equal with the Father.
Jesus is truly God.
Jesus is one with the Father.

NO
Jesus was not just another teacher or prophet.
Jesus was not made by the Father.

Section 3 - The Work of the Son

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.

Summary
Jesus Christ came to earth to save it.
He became fully human.
His mother was a virgin who conceived by God’s Holy Spirit.
He was crucified by Pontius Pilate to pay the debt that was ours, and to restore our relationship with the Father.
He died and descended into death.
Three days later he came back to life.
God took him back into heaven in his humanity.
Jesus is now seated with God the Father, ruling over the universe.

Supporting biblical texts
Philippians 2;5-11
Luke 1;26-35
Matt 27;45-54
Luke 24;1-8 & 50-53

YES
Jesus is truly and completely human, but also truly and completely God
Jesus was a perfect human being
Jesus died and then rose again.

NO Jesus was not ‘special’, he was an entirely normal human being.
Jesus is not just a myth – the facts of his life and death are a matter of historical record.
There was no ‘conspiracy’ to fake the resurrection – these theories never make sense in historical context.

Section 4 – The Return of the King (+section 8)

He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.

Summary
Jesus Christ will return to earth as its king.
He will pass judgement on everyone who has ever lived, for the things that they have done or left undone.
He will establish the Kingdom of God over all the earth, and His reign will last forever.

Supporting biblical texts
Rev 19;11-16 & Rev 20;11-15
Matt 24;36-51
Heb 9;27-28

YES
Jesus will return
The world as we know it will come to an end
Everyone will face judgement

NO
Mankind can not ‘get away with’ sin – it has consequences, and we will be held accountable
History is not just something that happens, it is part of God’s plan, with a pre-planned ending.

Section 5 – The Holy Spirit

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.

Summary
The Holy Spirit is also fully God, along with the Father and the Son.
All life comes from the Spirit.
He is sent to carry out the will of God amongst mankind by the Father (and the Son).
The Spirit inspired the prophets of old and the people who wrote the Bible to tell the truth about the Father and the Son.

Supporting biblical texts
John 16;5-15
Romans 8;5-11 & 26-27
1 Cor 2;10-14
1 Cor 12;1-13
Gal 5;16-25 2
Peter 1;19-21

YES
The Holy Spirit is God
The Holy Spirit works on and through human beings, revealing the Father and the Son, convicting of sin, and empowering for mission
The Bible is the inerrant word of God

NO
The Spirit is not an ‘it’, or some kind of ghost, He is a person in the same way that Jesus is a person.
Since the Spirit is a person, you can not have ‘more’ or ‘less’ of Him, but only be ‘more’ or ‘less’ open to Him.

Section 6 – The people of God

We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.

Summary
There is only one church, which consists of every single person who has accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, both past, present and in the future, from every tongue and tribe and nation.
This church was established personally by Jesus Christ through the Apostle Peter.

Supporting biblical texts
Matt 16;13-19
1 Cor 12;12-31
Gal 3;26-29
Eph 4;1-16

YES
A Christian is part of the body of Christ regardless of denomination, colour, age, sex etc.
The church was created by Jesus, and has a direct link through history back to his teaching

NO
Catholic means ‘worldwide’, not Roman Catholic
Catholics and other denominations are not ‘wrong’ – if a Christian agrees with the creeds of the Church then they are our brother or sister in Christ
Some other cults claim to be ‘Christian’ (eg. Christian spiritualists, Jehovah’s Witnesses), but are not part of the Church Universal since they do not accept the faith as expressed in the creeds of the church.

Section 7 - Baptism (& Communion)

We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
(We believe in the communion of saints)

Summary
God commands that a Christian should be baptised as a sign of repentance and forgiveness for sins. Jesus himself was baptised although he was sinless. Jesus shared a meal with his disciples to symbolise His death for their sins, and commanded the church to do the same until he returns. Baptism and Communion are sacraments of the church – signs and symbols that we share in Jesus’ death, in order that we might share in His eternal life. As such, God promises that His power and presence will meet with us in these sacraments.

Supporting biblical texts
Luke 3;1-18 & Matt 3;13-17
Acts 2;36-41
1 Cor 11;23-34

YES
A Christian ought to be baptised
A Christian ought to take communion regularly

NO
Sacraments are not empty ritual, but are powerful signs in the spiritual realm.
The water, bread and wine are not ‘magical’ in themselves
The form of the baptism service is not important, but a matter of conscience

Section 8 - Future Hope

We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come.

Summary
The dead in Christ will be resurrected – their bodies made perfect at the end of the world.
God will create a new Earth, where we will live with Him forever.

Supporting biblical texts
1 Cor 15;35-58
1 Thes 4;16-17
Rev 21;1-7 & 22-22;6

YES
Death is not forever
This world will be renewed
We will be with God forever

NO
Reincarnation is not an option
We don’t get to go to ‘heaven’ as such Eternal life will be physical, not ‘airy-fairy float around on clouds and play harps’

Jesus the Man
What was Jesus like?

The Character of God
How do we know what God is like?

The Authority of Scripture
How should we obey what the Bible teaches us?

The Wise Mans Tragedy
What can we learn from Solomon?

Obedience
What can we learn from the mother of Jesus?

Cain and Abel
What can we learn from the first murderer?

Aslan
Who is Aslan? Who is Jesus?

When the Fire Burns Low
How do we cope when we have grown tired of God's way?

Fix Your Eyes
How do we look for God?

Stewardship
Why should we look after the world God has given us?

Stability
How do we know who we are in God?

Lent - Pride, Doubt and Jealousy
What is the period of Lent all about?

Doorkeepers
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the House of God than dwell in the tents of the wicked...

Close Encounters
How do get to have intimacy with God?

Air
Can we feel the breath of God?

Hearing From God
How can I hear what God wants to say to me?

The Story We Find Ourselves In
The Bible tells the story of all creation - what is my part in that story?

Passover
What does Passover mean to us as Christians?

Life
What does it mean to say that Jesus is alive?

Fruit
What is the Fruit of the Holy Spirit?

Wait
Teaching for Christmas Eve...

Authority
What does it mean to have authority?

Tired
What can we do when it all seems like too much?

I Will Be With You
What does it mean to say "God is with us"?

Angels
What are angels, and what can we learn from what the Bible says about them?

Fire
A contemplative service for Pentecost

Water
A creative/contemplative baptism service

Guidance
How do we know what we should do?

Stones
A creative prayer/worship service

The Holy Spirit
Who is the Holy Spirit, and what does (s)he do?

A Relationship With Jesus
What does it mean to have a 'relationship' with the Son of God?

The Pilgrim's Progress
If we keep our eyes on the prize, what a journey it could be!

Heroes, Promises and Trust
How does our relationship with Jesus realy work?

Warrior's Confession
A liturgy for masculine prayer

Living Life to the Full
How do we get the most out of life?

Abraham
What is so speacial about the faith of Abraham?

The Presence of God
What does it mean to say God is present?

How Do I Know My Faith is Real?
We all wrestle with doubt, so how can we cope?

Who is Jesus?
...and what does he want from you?

To Act Justly Every Day...
What does the Lord your God require of you?

Sex and Self Image
Don't you know how beautiful you are?

Obedience
Will you let Jesus be in charge?

Recognising Jesus
Would you know him if he met you on the road?

The Person of the Holy Spirit
Who is the Holy Spirit, and what does (s)he do?

The Passion of the King
What does Jesus really want?

Joy
How can we really 'count it all joy'?

More Than Words
"... but words can never hurt me"?

The Armour of God
What tools does God give us to protect us from the Enemy?

The Heart of the Gospel
The Kingdom of Heaven has drawn near to you, therefore...

Following Jesus
Do you really want to follow him?

Preaching Skills
How should I prepare to give a sermon?

Healing
The gift of healing comes from the Holy Spirit, but how does it work?

Church
The People of God

The Bible
What does it mean when we say that the Bible is the Word of God?

Jesus Part 2: The Deity of Christ
How can Jesus be God and Man at the same time?

Jesus Part 1: Who Do You Say I Am?
Who is Jesus, and why does He matter?

Temptation
How do we resist?

Holiness
What is holiness and how do we try to achieve it?

The Art of Spiritual Warfare
We're in a constant battle, so how do we try and prepare to fight?

Forgiveness Part Two: Forgiving Others
What is forgiveness and why do we need to forgive others?

Forgiveness Part One: Forgiven by God
Why does it seem so often that God is a million miles away?

Prayer Part Two: Receiving From God
Why does it seem so often that God is a million miles away?

Prayer Part One: The Lords Prayer
We look in detail at the Lords Prayer

Prophecy
It's one of the spiritual gifts, but what exactly is it, how does it happen?

Becoming a Christian
What is a Christian, how do you become one?

Basics of Christianity
Here we delve into the Nicene Creed