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RON: Creeds, by their very nature, are restrictive and divisive. The so-called creedal statements by the apostles, Moses (others) are divinely inspired and, thus, have their origin in God. That does not warrant man-made creeds. Though I understand the rational for such things, I am not one to promote or support. I live by 1 Peter 4:11 and 1 John 4:1, 6. It seems to me one can’t go wrong with that approach.

IAN: You can go wrong with that approach- easily. Historically, most heretics espouse biblicist rhetoric, i.e. Arius claiming his Christology is the plain reading of biblical texts. The apostolic testimony is key to understanding Scripture rightly, and the rule of faith is the grid through which we must read the Bible. Your position is anachronistic, because how do you cling to orthodoxy in the first century when there is no 1 Peter or 1 John? You cling to the apostolic testimony and read the OT along the contours of the rule of faith. The creeds preserve the apostolic deposit by answering new biblicist challenges according to the ruled reading of the canon the apostolic testimony demands. Furthermore, you are incorrect in saying the creeds in the Bible all find their origin in God: the “faithful sayings” of the Pastoral Epistles, for instance, were devised by men of the first century church which Paul cites with approval, same with the hymn or creed of Philippians 2. God saw fit to enscripturate man made credal statements in his Word, so we shouldn’t despise formulae devised creatures in an effort to be pious.

RON: this is why oral debates in public are crucial. What one asserts is one thing, but sustaining the assertion is entirely a different matter. No, my position is NOT anachronistic; it is in accordance with Jude 3 (which is either true or false), coupled with 2 Peter 1:3. No, I am not incorrect. Did Paul writing [write] by the authority of God? If he did (and he did), then that which he wrote gave divine authority to his words.

IAN: Yes, your position is anachronistic. You are reaching conclusions about the non-normativity of creeds using biblical texts that chronologically follow the existence of those creeds which were absolutely not inspired by God. God gave his approval to them in the act of inspiring the New Testament documents, but don’t forget that those documents weren’t dictated by God- Paul and the others were composing arguments using the logic and grammar of the faith they and the churches shared and had been baptized into and had been formalized as “the faith that is believed” precisely through creedal statements that systematized that faith as a coherent portrait of the implications of this man, Jesus of Nazareth, bringing YHWH’s promises to Israel to fulfillment, etc. Again, it is decades before all of the NT documents are all collected and available to all of the churches: that is why it’s anachronistic to argue as though your situation, in which you have your complete Bible of 66 books sitting on your end table, is the same scenario the first century church found itself within.  For the first two centuries of its existence the one set of texts the Christian churches were guaranteed to have was the OT, and coupled with it the rule of faith as hermeneutical key to properly understanding the OT as witness to Christ. The faith of the first and second century church was consistent with the apostolic writings because the apostolic writings emerged from the apostolic testimony which was codified in the slogans and creedal statements that contributed to the eventual development of the Apostles Creed and subsequent to that the Nicene Creed, etc. These creeds are essential to defining the faith because the fullness of Christian faith is found not only in the explicit statements of Scripture but just as much in the implications of the Scriptural witness. The creeds investigated those implications and pronounced decisively what was consistent with the faith (the biblical witness and the apostolic testimony) and what was not. Arius, Valentin, etc. all based their heretical views upon exegesis of biblical texts and defied the constraint of these creedal pronouncements by saying, “This is the plain reading of these texts”, hence the warning about biblicist defiance of creeds. You cannot be biblical without being critical. To suppose otherwise is ahistorical misunderstanding that puts too much credence in individual interpretation of Scripture.

RON: This is a lot like arguing for “Q” – you know, that source material that no one seems to know anything about with regard to its actual existence, but that many academics are certain exists! That Paul used the educated style of writing that was prevalent during his day has only limited use in the authority/origin of creedal statements. It appears to me you misread what it was that I said. It is either true or false that which Jude wrote in what we know as “Jude 3.” If it is true, then the faith (spoken orally and/or written) was already revealed to those who lived during the first century. Now, will you argue that it is false what Jude said? If it is true, then either God revealed it, or He did not. Paul wrote, expressly, that what he wrote (said) was directly from God, and that he received it from no man (1 Corinthians 14:37; Galatians 1:11-12). That which Paul wrote is either true or false. For which one will you argue? The interpretation of a biblical text will stand or fall on its own merit. There are some who like the historical theological approach to Scripture; whatever value there might be in that, a historical-grammatical-contextual approach will do justice to the text. For me, the presupposition in place is that God authored the text, giving His inspired writers that which He wanted them to say (in their own individual stylistic ways).