Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Credo II: Athanasian Creed

It is interesting that Auburn Avenue PCA, a controversial church to say the least, expressly embraces the Athanasian Creed, where its parent denomination is less enthusiastic.

I can guess at why the Athanasian Creed is disfavored within the PCA. To my recollection, I've never heard it spoken in any Reformed Church. It says in part, "From thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead. At whose coming all men shall rise again with their bodies; and shall give account of their own works. And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting and they that have done evil into everlasting fire. This is the catholic faith, which except a man believe faithfully he cannot be saved."

At least on its face, this exposition on the Last Judgment is hard to reconcile with either a Lutheran or a Calvinistic-Reformed view. Certainly, the case is made more difficult in the context of Calvinists, who hold that God strictly predestined all of mankind to Salvation or Perdition, not based on some type of foreknowledge of one's deeds or heart, but by His Sovereign decree alone (what Calvin dubbed the 'Horrible Decree'). Such a view makes virtually senseless this line of the Athanasian Creed.

I imagine that the PCA would be hard-pressed to condemn the use of the Creed, but it's no surprise that it is not falling over to get the Creed recited in its churches. Those of the Auburn Ave Theology persuasion, on the other hand, are more comfortable admitting that works are in same antecedent way a necessary component of the calculus of salvation. It is fitting, then, that Auburn Ave PCA would choose to use the Athanasian Creed.

(to be continued...)

1 comment:

Tim A. Troutman said...

Well one way or another you have to wrestle with quotes that taken a certain way sound a whole lot like Pelagianism. I mean if you really want to wrestle with those types of quotes the New Testament would be a good place to start - it's full of them. (Forget the OT)

But Christians (Catholics & Protestants) do tend to read all of these quotes in light of our current theology don't we...

But the Pelagian has his share of problem quotes too. It's a good thing this isn't merely a statistical problem (whoever has the highest number of conflicting passages must be wrong) because I believe we (non-Pelagians) would be on the losing end of that battle.

I do find, however, that Catholic interpretations of the 'Pelagian friendly' passages (whether in Scripture or in creeds) is much more seamless.