After reading Steve Hays answer to Paul McCain’s claims about Calvinism I wanted to attempt to apply his Lutheran hermeneutic to the Nicene Creed. I will use the method McCain complains that Calvinism does not use, but should. My attempt below, though tongue in cheek, should provide an interesting read and comparison.
McCain’s complaint is basically that there is not enough Jesus in Calvinism. Jesus is not heard about enough. His position is, in summary “Where’s Jesus?”
What if we applied this to the Nicene Creed?
We believe in one God the Father Almighty,
Maker of heaven and earth,
and of all things visible and invisible.
Jesus isn’t mentioned so some revising may be in order.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ,
the only-begotten Son of God,
begotten of the Father before all worlds,
God of God, Light of Light,
Very God of Very God, begotten, not made,
being of one substance with the Father by whom all things were made;
who for us men, and for our salvation,
came down from heaven,
and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary,
and was made man, and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate.
He suffered and was buried,
and the third day he rose again according to the Scriptures,
and ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father.
And he shall come again with glory to judge both the quick and the dead,
whose kingdom shall have no end.
I left the first part because Jesus is described and is the center of its theme and salvation is mentioned. The latter parts, however, start getting into too many details. The creed begins to systematize information about Jesus. Remember, we just want “Jesus,” “more Jesus” and His “grace, love and mercy.” We don’t need to talk about Pilate. We especially we don’t need to even bring up glory and judgment. That would be too judgmental and lacking in love and mercy.
And we believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Lord and Giver of Life,
who proceedeth from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified,
who spoke by the prophets.
And we believe one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins.
And we look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. Amen.
The Holy Spirit and Father are obviously wonderful, but we need more Jesus. The prophets were here and gone. Naming the Church “holy catholic and apostolic” does not show more of Jesus love and grace. Though the baptism line is left in Jesus should be better placed so we understand more clearly about baptism. Also, we’ll leave the resurrection and life, but Jesus’ name will need to be added.
To Mr. McCain I’d say that methods of critique and misrepresentation get us nowhere as this example shows. It would be ludicrous for Calvinists to actually put the above forward as a fair representation, critique and then dismissal of Lutheranism. Even though this post is tongue in cheek, I hope it reflects on you to fairly consider the answers Calvinists have recently given to you.