Why do we recite the historic creeds of the church in our worship services? There are a few ways to answer this question. First, we believe these creeds are really just recitations of the content of Scripture. All we are doing is reading a summary of what the Bible says. Second, we believe recitation leads to memorization. It is very important that we understand the basics of Christianity, and there are just some things that we ought to have memorized. And third, when we recite the creeds, we are affirming that what we believe about the teaching of Scripture is the same as what the Church has believed throughout history.
In October our church will begin reciting the Nicene Creed. The council of Nicaea was the first of what we know as the ecumenical councils of the church, meaning that it was attended by representatives of the global church at that time. The purpose of the council was to deal with one of the greatest threats to the Gospel that had existed up until that point: The heretical teachings of Arius. Arius taught that there was a time when Jesus did not exist. Jesus was not God, but rather a created being. Alexander, a bishop in Alexandria, first took up the challenge of debating Arius, a responsibility that was eventually carried on by Athanasius.
In order to keep the church unified, the Emperor Constantine held the First Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D. The result of this council was, of course, known as the Creed of Nicaea, or The Nicene Creed (and also an agreement on when the church should celebrate Easter).
為了教會的合一，康士坦丁大帝在主後325 A.D. 召開了在尼西亞舉行的第一次大會。大會的結論，當然，就是所謂的《尼西亞信經》（教會也同意應該慶祝復活節Easter）。
That's all fine, but why should we recite the Nicene Creed today? After all, this creed sounds pretty academic. Doesn't it make it seem as though the Christian faith is just a series of doctrinal affirmations? Isn't Christianity more about a relationship and experience with God?
It's important to remember--as the Nicene Creed shows us--that orthodoxy and doxology were not always seen as at odds with one another. There was a time when Christians saw the truths we profess as being a source of worship and a reason to rejoice! When we recite and share together in the creeds of the church in a corporate way, we don't just affirm our unity with the universal church that came before; we're also saying aloud that these truths are a cause for worship, and should give rise to joyful songs!
There is another reason we should share in these creeds corporately, and it is a very practical reason: It helps us remember. I believe and hope that we have recited the Apostles' Creed for so long that many of us could recite it in our sleep. Now, if you were to memorize the Nicene Creed, you would be better prepared to help others understand the faith, or to face serious error the next time the Jehovah's Witnesses come to your door.
Perhaps you might ask, "Why would we recite the Nicene Creed when we already have the Apostles' Creed?" The Apostles' Creed has much to commend it. It is shorter, simpler, and easier to remember than some later creeds (the Athanasian Creed, for example). It is also truthful and accurate to Scripture.
But the Apostles' Creed is really the bare minimum of Christian teaching. It doesn't get very specific about the deity of Christ. It doesn't speak to the nature of God beyond the fact that he is the creator. It doesn't speak of the deity of the Holy Spirit. In fact, the Apostles' Creed is so general that even a Mormon could affirm it. That doesn't mean the Apostles' Creed is a bad creed, but it does mean that more development was needed that made clearer what the Bible teaches.
但使徒信經確實是基督教教義的最低限度。 關於基督的神性，它並沒有很具體說明。 除了祂是創造者這一事實之外，它並沒有說明上帝的本質。 它沒有談到聖靈的神性。 事實上，使徒信經是如此籠統，以至於即使是摩門教徒也能肯定它。 這並不意味著使徒信經是一個壞信經，但它確實意味著需要更多的發展，以使聖經的教導更加清晰。 I'd like to higlight just a few ways that the Nicene Creed more clearly presents the Bible's teaching. First, the Nicene Creed has a doctrine of the Holy Spirit! The Apostles' Creed simply says, "I believe in the Holy Spirit." The Nicene Creed, on the other hand, has more to say: "[I believe] in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Creator of Life, Who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who together with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified, Who spoke through the prophets."
Nicaea makes us aware that the Holy Spirit really is a person of the Godhead, not merely a tacked on formality or affirmation. All three persons are co-eternal and co-equal as God; it is proper that the Spirit receive a greater place of prominence than the Apostles' Creed ascribes to Him. In Nicaea we see the centrality of the Spirit to creation, to Christian worship, and to special revelation.
Second, perhaps the most important passage in the Nicene Creed is this statement that the Son was of the "same substance" with the Father: "[We believe in] one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only-begotten of his Father, of the substance of the Father, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father."
At first glance this might sound like abstract theological jockeying, but it was actually profoundly important for the Christian faith. How is the Son related to the Father? The answer changes how you see all of the universe, how you understand salvation, and how you think about your own relationship to God when you trust in Jesus. When Jesus died was he able to bear the full penalty of sin against the Holy God? If we are united to Christ by faith are we fully united to God? Is it appropriate to worship Jesus just like we do the Father? If you get these questions wrong, you get the Christian faith wrong.
Yet as Carl Trueman reminds us, this creed does not only help us to remember, affirm, and speak propositional truths; it unites us as well:
"In reciting the creeds, the purpose is not simply to declare a set of propositional truths. Rather, the action is somewhat richer than that: to state the obvious, in reciting the words of the creeds together, each member of the congregation publicly identifies with every other member in expressing a corporate unity of belief in a common gospel. They are also expressing their common belief with every other Christian throughout history who has used these words to witness to Christ.
Further, they are reminding themselves and each other of who God is and what he has done. In other words, the creeds, in liturgical context, become a means of fulfilling the public declaration that Romans 10 demands of believers: the confession (a document) becomes a confession (an act of pointing toward Christ before the church and the world)" [The Creedal Imperative, p. 144].
Adam Parker is the pastor of Pearl Presbyterian Church (PCA), a regular contributor to Reformation 21, an adjunct professor at Belhaven University, and most importantly husband to Arryn and father of four.
基督徒爲何需要「信條」 Why Christians Need Confessions
作者 Carl R. Trueman，費城西敏斯特神學院教會歷史教授。 英文原文刊登于： 正統長老教會網站 Orthodox Presbyterian Church 中文翻譯本文轉載自：古舊福音
教義是符合聖經的 （Doctrine is Biblical） 我們的英語單詞教義源自拉丁詞doctrina，意思是「被教導的東西」。在基督教的用法中，它指的是基督教關於聖經、上帝、人、基督、救恩、教會和萬物終結的教導。 1382 年《威克里夫聖經譯本》（Wycliffe Bible Translation）（從拉丁語到英語）首次使用英語單詞「教義」是恰當的，因為在舊的拉丁語聖經中，「教義」這個字出現了一百多次。《欽定版聖經》（The King James Version）（1611 年）使用這個字的頻率大約是其一半，即使當代的翻譯者更謹慎地使用它。然而，這個觀念貫穿了整本聖經。
在新約中，克里特島上的一位年輕牧師提多被勸告要「堅守所教真實的道理」（hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught），以便能夠「將純正的教義（和合本：教訓）勸化人」（give instruction in sound doctrine）（提多書 1:9）。新約中有好幾處這樣的經文，我們將在下面查考其中的一些。顯然，對牧師的職分和基督教會的功能來說，神啟示教義的教導和保存是基本的。
教義是福音性的（Doctrine is Evangelical） 普世教會（the universal church）和她最偉大的老師一直教導和承認某些基本教義。早期教會專注於聖經關於上帝和基督的教義。經過大量的聖經研究和辯論，教會得出結論，神的話語教導說，神在本質上是一，在位格上是三位，而道成肉身的聖子耶穌是一位有兩種本性（神性和人性）的人。
使徒保羅警告羅馬教會的會眾（羅馬書 16:17），提防那些分裂會眾、謀取私利和違背使徒教義的人（譯者註：背乎所學之道[教義-διδαχή]）。教義的名詞出現在以弗所書 4:12 中類似的上下文中（譯者註：異教之風）。保羅對比了狡猾、自吹自擂的說謊者，他們不成熟，可能使信徒「被一切異教[教義- διδασκαλία]之風」搖動(by every wind of doctrine)，即每一種流行的時尚，像大風暴中的小船一樣搖擺不定。在這裡，壞教義和道德敗壞交織在一起。