Saturday, March 5, 2011

Luke Timothy Johnson on the Nicene Creed

" ... the Christian creed enunciates a powerful and provocative understanding of the world, one that ought to scandalize a world that runs on the accepted truths of Modernity. There is something in the creed to offend virtually every contemporary sensibility. At the same time, it communicates a compelling vision of the world's destiny and humanity's role that challenges the accustomed idolatries and the weary platitudes of current worldly wisdom. Christians who say these words should know what they are doing when they say them and what they are saying when they mean them. This is the precondition to their celebrating a specifically Christian conception of reality, and the presupposition for their challenging the dominant conceptions of the world where they should be challenged."

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

http://www.spurgeon.org/~phil/creeds/nicene.htm

Bryan Owen said...

Thanks for sharing the helpful link, Anonymous. You're always welcome to offer comments, but I do ask that those who choose to post anonymously provide a pen name.

George said...

"Christians who say these words should know what they are doing when they say them and what they are saying when they mean them."

as I have recited the Creed I have often been convicted by this, am I just saying 'words' or am I just reciting something like a mantra . . . the same can be said for many hymns. I wondered whether it was just me that struggled with this, so to read this is comforting.

Burke's Corner said...

Bryan, many thanks for sharing this superb quote - every time we proclaim the Nicene Creed, we engage in a counter-cultural act. It is a quotation that should be engraved on every catechist's desk!

Bryan Owen said...

Hi George. I can certainly relate to the experience of simply "going through the motions," whether it's reciting the Nicene Creed, the Lord's Prayer, or even as the celebrant at the Eucharist. To give my attention to the words as I'm saying them, prayerfully meditating on what they mean as they are spoken, is not always easy. But when I am able to do that, it goes a long way towards helping me be centered in God as I worship.

Bryan Owen said...

Thanks for chiming in from Burke's Corner on this quote! Back when I first started blogging, I wrote a piece called "The Radical Creed" in which I cited Luke Timothy Johnson on the counter-cultural and politically incorrect character of the Creed. I continue to suspect that the reason why many liberal modernists reject the Creed is because of a commitment to accommodation to culture and to being politically correct. And I continue to think that the belief that being politically correct accommodationists somehow makes the Church "relevant" is a mistake.