The McCainian Lutheran Nicene Creed

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.

Tags: , , , ; Categories: Church Issues,Humor,relativism,theology
The above article was posted on December 8, 2005 by Mark Lamprecht.
© 2004-2013. All rights reserved.


{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 centuri0n December 8, 2005 at 12:01 pm

You dirty baptist. Your criticism is anachronistic and provincial. Ab ovo usque ad mala semper ubi sub ubi.

2 Moonlight Blogging December 9, 2005 at 10:17 am

Priceless.

3 Mutti December 13, 2005 at 5:27 pm

This is really harsh and unfair. You apparently don’t understand Lutherans, or their teachings. I’m sorry you’ve been misinformed.

4 johnMark December 13, 2005 at 7:42 pm

I know it’s unfair and if you would have been following what lead up to this you may understand better. I was attempting to use the same hermeneutic that Lutheran Paul McCain used when critiquing Calvinism. Did you see the link I put in the post? Here it is: http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2005/12/wheres-jesus.html

5 Xrysostom December 13, 2005 at 7:50 pm

I’ve read the Triablogue post mentioned, as well as other responses to McCain and (since college days) Reformed primary sources. I don’t believe that the Rev. McCain has mispoken his Calvinist citations nor twisted their meanings. He has, however, pursued them to their logical conclusions.

As for this particular post, while your “Mr.” (I’d say, instead, “the Reverend”) McCain’s answers will probably always be much richer and in depth than any I might offer, I find your Nicene revision less parody than desecration. Again, since this all began because of his posts against Calvinist iconclasm, desecration is exactly what I should have expected.

6 johnMark December 13, 2005 at 8:22 pm

Xrysostom said…I’ve read the Triablogue post mentioned, as well as other responses to McCain and (since college days) Reformed primary sources. I don’t believe that the Rev. McCain has mispoken his Calvinist citations nor twisted their meanings. He has, however, pursued them to their logical conclusions.

Okay, and I believe Rev. McCain has mispoken. Most of what he wrote about Calvinism was rhetoric rather than Calvinistic sources. Not to mentioned he confuses Calvinistic soteriology with Reformed. And I have pursued the logical hermeneutic of Rev. McCain in this post.

An example of rhetoric that rings through Rev. McCain’s complaints is, Well, I say, “Then let’s hear more about Jesus and the Gospel and God’s life-giving love and kindness and mercy in Christ.”

So I tried to apply that to the Nicene Creed since it seems to be his most popular complaint. Calvinists to preach the Gospel and some of the greatest evangelists have been Calvinists.

Xrysostom continues As for this particular post, while your “Mr.” (I’d say, instead, “the Reverend”) McCain’s answers will probably always be much richer and in depth than any I might offer, I find your Nicene revision less parody than desecration. Again, since this all began because of his posts against Calvinist iconclasm, desecration is exactly what I should have expected.

I was more concerned about all the misrepresentations of Calvinism that took place after the initial engagement. That is once I (and several others) saw a pattern in Rev. McCain’s arguments. I don’t believe Rev. McCain’s answers were really that in depth or rich. In chat, Rev. McCain didn’t even know what a Reformed Baptist was nor did he seriously engage anyone in a reasonable manner. And when James White went in to chat with him he left.

I just don’t get how it’s not okay for me to tell you upfront I am posting tongue in cheek, but it’s okay for Rev. McCain to seriously misrepresent another’s theological system and then be unreasonable about it when approached.

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