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Sunday, January 4, 2009

From John's Gospel to the Creeds

Today in Dr. McGrath's Sunday School class we arrived at the last of our classes on the ways Jesus is presented in the canonical Gospels, focusing on the Gospel of John with its unique features such as the notion of Jesus as the Word-become-flesh and the pre-existence of the Son of Man. Dr. McGrath gave a brief overview of his book and his conclusion that the developments in the Gospel of John result from an attempt to defend Christian beliefs, during which process developments and expansions to Christian though take place.

We discussed whether the aim of Christians ought to be to combine the Gospels or to pick one that resonates with us; whether our aim should be to repeat what the Gospel authors said or to follow their example in using language of our time to address questions and issues of our time, just as they did in relation to their own historical setting.

The subject of the creeds came up, and as one might expect in an American Baptist context, voices soon were heard that said, in essence, "Whoa, wait a minute, what are these creeds you're talking about exactly?" The classic creeds of Christian orthodoxy have no precise or official authority for Baptists, and yet they are part of our heritage, ignored and unknown but there as historical influences nonetheless.

Those interested can find the Nicene and Chalcedonian creeds here.

Our next subject will be sharing our own answers to the question in Mark's Gospel: Who do we, each of us, say that Jesus is?

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