Re: [asa] RE: TE and apologetics (ASA membership)

From: Christine Smith <>
Date: Fri Sep 18 2009 - 17:04:03 EDT

Hi all,

I'm sorry if this sounds too exclusive, but I just feel the need to say this (I can't believe that I have to!?): If you reject the Nicene Creed, you are not a Christian. The Nicene Creed is the summation of the Christian articulation and understanding of Who Christ is in relation to God and why He came. I try to be very non-judgemental about other people's beliefs and relationships with God, but at some point the line must be drawn in the sand, and we must have some definition. Otherwise the term "Christian" itself becomes meaningless. To be an admirer of Jesus's life or teachings, or to say you have some sort of nebulous faith in Christ (whoever he was - without the Nicence Creed, how can you say?) is *not* what it means to be Christian (this is *not* to say that following Christ's teachings or having faith in Him are not part of Christianity). If you reject the Nicene Creed, you are either flat-out a non-Christian, or you a part of a heretical,
 breakaway sect that has some common roots as Christianity, but is not Christianity as such.

As for theology and the creeds in general, while I think all Christians will grant that it is impossible to truly articulate or comprehend God in any humans terms or language, that does not mean that all theology and creeds are simply man-made inventions. Part of the role of the church body is to be the Body of Christ, through whom the Holy Spirit continues to work through. If we are to take this seriously, then we must understand that Christian theology (worked out within the proper confines of the church community) and certainly the creeds developed by the early ecumenical councils are inspired by the Holy Spirit and give expression to divine revelation. How authoritative this revelation is relative to Scripture itself is a matter of debate between Protestants and Catholics/Orthodox, but the concept itself is essential to the Christian Church's mission and purpose.

In Christ,

"For we walk by faith, not by sight" ~II Corinthians 5:7

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--- On Fri, 9/18/09, John Burgeson (ASA member) <> wrote:

> From: John Burgeson (ASA member) <>
> Subject: Re: [asa] RE: TE and apologetics (ASA membership)
> To: "Randy Isaac" <>
> Cc:, "Dehler, Bernie" <>
> Date: Friday, September 18, 2009, 2:55 PM
> Randy -- I am not at all sure Bernie
> is "out of the fold." Neither do
> I so judge either Fosdick or John Spong. Or Marcus Borg.
> Speaking only about Borg, whom I have heard speak and
> several of whose
> books I have read, I find him asking some of the really
> tough
> questions about the resurrection of Jesus. A few of these
> include: (1)
> is the Jesus who lived before the resurrection the same as
> the person
> Jesus Christ who experienced it? (2) Did  the
> composition of the
> physical manifestation of Jesus Christ include at least
> some of the
> molecules which composed the person "Jesus." (3) At what
> time did
> Jesus become aware he was someone special? Was it a process
> or an
> instantaneous event?
> As I understand Borg, he rejects the bodily resurrection
> but continues
> to have faith in Jesus Christ. I write now without his
> books at hand,
> so I may be incorrect in this uderstanding.
> A book that has always grabbed me (at least since I first
> read it) is
> YOUR GOD IS TOO SMALL, by J.B. Phillips. The God I worship
> is infinite
> (eye has not seen ... what glories wait for us). Paul
> Tillich spoke to
> this when he wrote (paraphrased):
> 1   There is an infinite gulf between the
> divne ahd humanity
> 2. There is, therefore, a necessity for Revelation (God tto
> us)
> 3   Our words about God are necessarily
> imprecise, vague and paradoxial.
> As a good Presbyterian, I often attend a church where the
> Apostles
> Creed is recited. I recite it with the congregation, and I
> believe it
> to be true. But that belief has little to do with my faith
> in God, and
> in Jesus Christ. The first is always provisional; the
> second is not.
> Likewise my assent to the ASA staement of faith. I simply
> do not
> believe that creedal statements can possibly define
> "Christianity."
> For some here -- your mileage may differ.
> On 9/18/09, Randy Isaac <>
> wrote:
> > Bernie wrote:
> >
> >> FYI, as an unbeliever, in my case I'm an ASA
> member but that is because I
> >> was a believer when I signed-up and paid the last
> dues, so this is my last
> >>
> >> year unless I get booted-out (and if I get booted,
> do I get a partial
> >> refund?  ;-).
> >>
> >> Oh, I hope you know I still like you guys... ;-)
> >>
> >> Actually, if it wasn't for the ASA, I would have
> left Christianity 2 years
> >>
> >> earlier.  The ASA (esp. the people in it)
> gave me more to consider before
> >> leaving so I can leave with more confidence. 
> And I'm thankful for the
> >> experience of getting to know very smart
> science-educated Christians...
> >> which I haven't experienced anywhere else.
> >>
> >> ...Bernie
> >
> > Bernie, we love you and have greatly appreciated (most
> of the time!) all
> > your contributions to the list and to ASA. It has been
> of value to follow
> > your intellectual journey. I think I speak for many,
> if not all, on this
> > list when I say we grieve to hear of your claim to
> have lost your faith. We
> > would do anything to change your mind and help you
> keep the faith. Ceratinly
> > we will all be praying for you and continuing to care
> for you in every way
> > we can.
> >
> > As for ASA, I do not want you to do anything rashly.
> But if you feel that
> > you can no longer be a member with integrity, then the
> appropriate move is
> > to write us to ask to change your membership status
> from Member to Friend.
> > The Friend status, which at least some on this list
> have, is a category for
> > those who want to be part of the organization but, for
> whatever reason,
> > would rather not sign the statement of faith. It is a
> non-voting status and
> > the dues are the same as for members. (we wouldn't
> want to offer any
> > financial incentive for changing one's beliefs!) When
> renewal time comes,
> > you will be given the chance to renew as a Friend.
> >
> > May God keep you in the palm of his hand and bring you
> back into the fold,
> > May the very existence of the people on this list,
> scientists with a
> > continuing faith in God, be a beacon for you as you
> navigate the choppy
> > waters,
> >
> > Randy
> >
> >
> > To unsubscribe, send a message to
> with
> > "unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the
> message.
> >
> --
> Burgy
> To unsubscribe, send a message to
> with
> "unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.

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Received on Fri Sep 18 17:04:45 2009

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