Faith in Christian Theology


creed [Lat. credo=I believe], summary of basic doctrines of faith. The following are historically important Christian creeds.

1 The Nicene Creed, beginning, "I believe in one God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible, and in one Lord Jesus Christ … ." It is usually described as a revision by the First Council of Constantinople (381) of the creed adopted at Nicaea in 325. In the Western Church since the 9th cent. it has differed from the original by the addition of the Filioque clause: "And in the Holy Ghost … Who proceedeth from the Father and the Son … ." ( "qui ex Patre Filioque procedit … ." ). Over this addition there has been a long controversy between the Orthodox Eastern and Roman Catholic churches. The Nicene Creed is a traditionally authoritative creed of Orthodox Eastern, Roman Catholic, and some Protestant churches.

2 The Athanasian Creed was probably composed, not by Athanasius himself, but by an unknown author(s) in the fifth cent. It is a partial statement of doctrine dealing especially with the Trinity and the Incarnation.

3 The Apostles' Creed, beginning, "I believe in God the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth. And in Jesus Christ … ." It does not appear in its present form before 650, but its predecessors probably arose in Rome in the 2d or 3d cent. It has two material differences from the Nicene Creed: the phrase, "He descended into hell," is omitted in the Nicene, and the words "resurrection of the body" are changed to "resurrection of the dead" in the Nicene. It is used by Roman Catholics at various daily services and at baptism; it is also much used by Protestants.

4 The Augsburg Confession (1530), the official statement of the Lutheran churches. It was mainly the work of Philip Melanchthon and was endorsed by Martin Luther for the Diet of Augsburg.

5 The Thirty-nine Articles, which are official in the Church of England. They date in their present form from Elizabeth I's reign, when they were written by a group of bishops. They are Calvinistic in theological emphasis and enounce clearly the royal supremacy in the Church of England. They are included, with occasional modifications, in the prayer books of other churches of the Anglican Communion, including that of the Episcopal Church of the United States.

6 The Westminster Confession (1645–47), the most celebrated pronouncement of English-speaking Calvinism. It is official in the Church of Scotland, with occasional changes in most of its daughter churches (usually Presbyterian) and among Congregationalists.

See J. H. Leith, Creeds of the Churches (1963, repr. 1973); J. N. D. Kelly, Early Christian Creeds (1981); W. H. C. Frend, ed., Creeds, Councils and Controversies (1989).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2018, The Columbia University Press.

Faith in Christian Theology: Selected full-text books and articles

Reasonable Belief: A Survey of the Christian Faith By A. T. Hanson; R. P. C. Hanson Oxford University Press, 1981
Scholarship and Christian Faith: Enlarging the Conversation By Douglas Jacobsen; Rhonda Hustedt Jacobsen; Rodney J. Sawatsky; Crystal L. Downing; Edward B. Davis; David L. Weaver-Zercher; Susanna Bede Caroselli; Kim S. Phipps Oxford University Press, 2004
The Bible, Theology, and Faith: A Study of Abraham and Jesus By R. W. L. Moberly Cambridge University Press, 2000
Christian Theology: An Introduction to Its Traditions and Tasks By Peter C. Hodgson; Robert H. King Fortress Press, 1994
The Cambridge Companion to Jesus By Markus Bockmuehl Cambridge University Press, 2001
Librarian's tip: Chap. 14 "A History of Faith in Jesus"
Sensus Fidei: Faith "Making Sense" of Revelation By Rush, Ormond Theological Studies, Vol. 62, No. 2, June 2001
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
The Moral Virtues and Theological Ethics By Romanus Cessario University of Notre Dame Press, 1991
Librarian's tip: Chap. 1 "The Moral Virtues and Christian Faith"
Introduction to Christian Theology By Bradley C. Hanson Fortress Press, 1997
Librarian's tip: Chap. 1 "Faith and Theology"
Risking the Church: The Challenges of Catholic Faith By Richard Lennan Oxford University Press, 2004
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