Friday, May 28, 2010

Athanasian Creed

Now this is the catholic faith:

We worship one God in trinity and the Trinity in unity, neither
confusing the persons nor dividing the divine being.

For the Father is one person, the Son is another, and the Spirit is
still another.

But the deity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is one, equal in
glory, coeternal in majesty.

What the Father is, the Son is, and so is the Holy Spirit.

~Athanasian Creed

I remember when we used to recite the Athanasian Creed every Trinity Sunday.  I remember it being very long and full of threats of burning in hell if you don't agree with it.

In preparation for this Sunday's sermon I took another perusal of it.  Parts of it are really quite beautiful.  Most of it in fact.  But what did I remember?  Lines like this "whoever does not guard it whole and inviolable will doubtless persih eternally...those who have done evil will enter eternal fire"  That's actually the only two lines about hell in a beautiful treatise about the Trinity.  But those two lines are ALL I remembered.

And that's the problem.   I know there are some all upset that it's not in the new Evangelical Lutheran Worship book.  And yes,  there would be a real advantage to people reciting the bulk of this creed a few times a year.   Maybe they'd stop thinking the Trinity was like an apple.  But what would catch their attention and what they would remember is the part about those who do evil will go to hell.   And it's not worth it.  People who want people who do evil to go to hell would feel all smug and satisfied.  People who know they have done evil would be terrified and unbelievers would say "See - those Christians just want to send everyone to hell"  And the Gospel would be lost.

And that's really a damned shame.


  1. I was never taught about this creed and I don't like it when we use a confession of sins, or in this case, it would be a confession of faith, that I haven't read before hand. How can I claim to confess or believe something I haven't read before.

  2. Now that is an interesting response. I think I shall blog about that..

  3. Oh, very good! I love the part of the Athanasian Creed you quoted; I hadn't read it for a long time.