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This Week in Creed News

boromir-and-the-nicene-creed

No, Scott Stapp is not getting the band back together.

At a meeting last week of Anglican and Orthodox Church leaders, the latter pressed the former to drop the “Filioque Clause” from the Nicene Creed in their liturgies. And the Anglicans were agreeable to the suggestion.

For those unfamiliar, the Filioque Clause was added to the creed by popular convention in the West in the later centuries of the first millennium CE. By the time that leaders of East and West got together to debate it, the practice was entrenched in the West, and by 1054 it was one primary reasons for the Great Schism.

What led the the insertion is a long and complex tale, but it really came down to an attempt to quell Christological controversies. But in substantiating the procession of the Son from the Father, the Spirit was effectively made a junior partner of the Trinity. It’s this effect that has most troubled theologians in the East and, more recently, the West. Moltmann rejected the Filioque Clause years ago — and I’ve followed his lead and written against it myself.

filioque

Metropolitan Bishoy from the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria in Egypt with Bishops Geoffrey Rowell (left) and Gregory Cameron (right) at the Anglican Oriental Orthodox International Commission in Hawarden, Wales.

In this age of disenchantment and materiality, it’s hardly front page news that a millennium-old theological dispute is getting attention from some guys in robes, but for those of us who care about such things, it’s fun and interesting. Here’s hoping that Anglicans around the world drop “and the Son” from their creeds, because that will be one small step toward bringing the global church back together.



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