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what we believe, why it matters

What does it mean to be a Christian? Believers desperately need a clear, communal, global identity.

The heresy of 21stCentury Christianity is our exaggerated and distorted commitment to individual liberty. Many believers are so out-of-balance they’re indifferent towards the body of Christ. Believers who privately define Christianity and personally choose how to practice it, make the church a social club.
Christianity is a result of who Jesus is and what He has done. If Jesus is not the powerful risen Lord through whom God is made accessible, Christianity is a lie. If believers do not share a clear description of Christianity our faith is a mirage. If the church does not conform to Jesus’ teachings our gatherings are powerless.

325ce church leaders from throughout the Roman Empire and beyond, gathered in the city of Nicea to hammer out a Christian statement of belief. The church would be healthier, Christianity would have greater integrity if believers gave more value to the
Nicene Creed. There are other good Christian creeds. Yet the Nicene Creed was the earliest written-down statement of belief which gained the ascent of diverse church leaders from throughout the Christian world.

First and foremost, the Nicene Creed offers a clear and global identification of the Christian faith. Second, it expresses what the church is supposed to be about. Third, it elevates belief from vague concepts to concrete practices which are founded upon a coherent logic. Fourth, the creed invites believers to think seriously about what it means to be Christian, while nurturing an awareness of what believers around the world believe in common.

The Nicene Creed expresses a counter-cultural view of reality and how humans should engage reality. The more Christians adhere to the creed’s countercultural message, the more effective will be our challenge to the cultural and intellectual forces that deny God’s presence and power.

Our post-modern world lacks any unifying interpretation of reality. The most common explanation—evolution through competition—offers humanity nothing. No purpose for life, no hope for the future, no concern for the vulnerable. It reduces everything and everyone to a commodity.

The Christian creed claims our world was designed and has a destiny; life has meaning. Humans are not the chance product of mindless evolutionary forces, but are persons marked by the image of a Creator. That Creator gives everyone the freedom to choose transformation from a being who is doomed to die into one who shall be glorified by the grace and power of Jesus.

Only Christianity offers so radical an alternative. The Nicene Creed confronts the dehumanizing ideologies of our world with the hope of Christ. Those who confess these beliefs connect with a transformative community, becoming agents of that community and the power of the Holy Spirit. The more confident we are in our identity, the greater our capacity to proclaim the life-giving message of Jesus to our confused, corrupt, and cynical world. ~

Dan Nygaard