Today I went to a Bible Study to explore what we are reading during Episcopal Sunday services in more depth.
The Early Christians and the early years of the Christian Church were hard on its believers. Most were devout Jews until they were thrown out of the synagogues for following the teachings of Jesus. Before they were thrown out, they workshop in the synagogue, then met in Christian fellowship on the first day of the week. Once they could no longer go to synagogue, they were on their own to create their Church.
The Bible as we know it did not exist then. The stories initially passed down orally and were only later put into writing. This kind of turmoil and challenge continued for the first 300 or 400 years after Christ’s resurrection. In 325 AD, Emperor Constantine, of the Roman Empire (headquartered in Constantinople, Turkey) was facing a crisis in the Church and convened the First Ecumenical Council in Nicaea (now Iznik) in Turkey. The agreement created in Nicaea was actually adapted at the Second Ecumenical Council held in Constantinople in 381. The agreement was formulated into a statement of belief (creed) required of all church members. It is codified now as the Nicene Creed and is recognized by the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Asian Orthodox Church, the Anglican Communion, and several other protestant churches.
The Nicene Creed is a statement of belief that reflects the group-nature of the people who created it. It’s still a fundamental statement of belief for Christians. It is very good to build on a solid foundation–including a foundation of belief.