The Nicene Creed

The central beliefs of Christianity are summed up in the Nicene Creed which is recited each Sunday by Christians of most denominations in their act of worship, usually the Eucharist or Lord’s Supper. The Nicene Creed was drawn up in 325CE by the Council of Nicaea in order to defend the orthodox faith from various heresies that had arisen. This Creed is the belief that God is Three-in-One or the Trinity. The core of the Nicene Creed states the acceptance of God as Creator and Father, belief in Jesus as the Son of God, and faith in the Holy Spirit that permeates and reinforces the work of the Church. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. (2 Corinthians 13:14).

The Trinitarian formula is not explicitly stated in the New Testament. However, belief in God as creator and Father runs as a theme throughout the Old and New Testaments. The relationship of Jesus to God, and the definition of Jesus’ nature, is further refined from implicit and explicit statements in scripture. Jesus also promised to send his disciples the Holy Spirit to aid them in their work as a church, and as the invisible working hand of God in the present. As a creed, this system of belief has been used in common worship for over one and a half thousand years, and although philosophically and theologically complex, in the sense of belief in God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit is distilled.

Most denominations of the Christian religion adhere to belief in the Trinity. Accordingly, places of worship are communal and congregational in nature so that the act of worship which Jesus demonstrated at his Last Supper, can be practiced and the words of the Nicene Creed can be recited. As a corollary of this, Christians are expected to follow a spiritual and ethical lifestyle based the life of Jesus, and explained in the scriptural readings given during worship.

The Nicene Creed was developed as a formula to provide a bench-mark of orthodoxy. It is likely that to be classified as a Christian denomination a congregation would need to demonstrate belief in the Trinity. The main Trinitarian denominations are Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian and United Reform Churches. Other denominations of Christianity have arisen but they do not necessarily adhere to a Trinitarian creed.

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