Saturday, May 29, 2010

Athanasian Creed Video

As we move on into Trinity Sunday, here is a really cool little video presentation of the Athanasian Creed - which is traditionally used in the place of the Nicene Creed in Lutheran (and other western catholic) churches on the Feast of the Holy Trinity.

The Creed is from the sixth century, was not written by St. Athanasius, and is a clear articulation of the Christian faith from a time (very similar to ours) when the truths of Christianity were being challenged.

The video is a helpful way to meditate on these timeless truths to which we Christians of every time and place bind our very lives.

Interestingly, this video was made and narrated by an LCMS pastor of a church that is not very traditional in its worship.


Theophilus said...


Holy Trinity Sunday is the one Sunday in the Church Year that is grounded not in Jesus’ gospel message, but in a humanly-formulated “truth” conceived by the human mind ABOUT God and Jesus.

The Athanasian Creed is totally incomprehensible. It is always amazing to me to see to what length a preacher will go to explain this mind-boggling creed.

Do you not think that the concluding sentence of the Athanasian Creed is an utterly extreme judgment? Even though I believe firmly the good news message Jesus actually proclaimed, I am excluded from salvation by these concluding words: “This is the catholic faith. One cannot be saved without believing this firmly and faithfully.” I cannot believe this human verdict.

Blessings! Theophilus
"Follower of the Way"

Deacon Latif Haki Gaba, SSP said...

In fact, O Theophilus, the Creed Quicumque Vult is not the ground or center of the Mass on Trinity Sunday. I would even argue that it belongs not in the Mass but in the choir office of Prime. Rather, the feast of the Most Holy Trinity is grounded precisely in Jesus' Gospel message, as is every Mass. The Holy Mass revolves around a twin proclamation of the Gospel, first, at the north horn of the altar (or wherever the proper Gospel is read in a given place), and second, right in the center of the altar.

In the case of Trinity Sunday, one hears in the first part of the Mass either the Gospel from the first part of John 3 or the last part of Matt. 28, depending on the ordo one follows, and in the second part of the Mass one hears Jesus' Gospel message: Take, eat, This is My Body, which is given for you. This do in remembrance of Me, etc.

However, it is quite mistaken of you to ascribe to the Athanasian Creed any sort of human inventiveness, or an adding on to the message of Jesus. The ecumenical creeds and councils of the early Church took their stand, and risked everything, precisely against man-made, and unevangelical, notions of God. It is highly significant that at the great councils the holy book of Gospels was enshrined at the center of the proceedings. For the bishops and churchmen who convened to work out the theological controversies of the day (chiefly christological) were reminded to conform their formulations to the Gospel message of our Lord Jesus Christ. And thank God, despite all the intrigue, and political back and forth of that time (mainly the fourth and fifth centuries), it was the clear articulation of the person and work of Christ which won out. If and when the church fails to articulate the Gospel of Christ with the evangelical clarity of the creeds, she shows herself to be terribly and scandalously unloving, to her children and to the world.

Brian P Westgate said...

LSB gives the traditional Gospel for Judica for Trinity Sunday in Year C, that is, tomorrow.

Theophilus said...

TO: Deacon Latif Haki Gaba

Your response to my concern is a scholarly and eloquent statement of Orthodox tradition.

However, I still have the suspicion that the "trinity" doctrine came out of the Gentile world. Many of the ancient religions had their triads: (1) The chief god; (2) The king who was the divine son of this god; (3) The mother of the king.

This idea seems to have crept into the church in the thinking of many of the Gentile converts. Eventually it was legitimized at the early councils.

Therefore, it should not be imposed on the people of the pew as necessary for salvation. Jesus' good news message is never imposed on anyone. It is proclaimed, and the people of the pew receive his good news with joy and thanksgiving, as I do.

Theophilus, "Follower of the Way"

Deacon Latif Haki Gaba, SSP said...

I don't spend much time thinking about the modern pericopal schemes, so I'll trust you, Brian. However, I would simply like to emphasize that both Jn 3 and Mt 28 have valid claims of being traditional for this feast. They both have a long history.