The Creed: What Christians Believe and Why it Matters

The Creed: What Christians Believe and Why it Matters

by Luke Timothy Johnson
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The Creed: What Christians Believe and Why it Matters by Luke Timothy Johnson

This thoughtful, fully accessible exploration of the creed, the list of beliefs central to the Christian faith, delves into its origins and illuminates the contemporary significance of why it still matters.

During services in Christian communities, the members of the congregation stand together to recite the creed, professing in unison the beliefs they share. For most Christians, the creed functions as a sort of “ABC” of what it means to be a Christian and to be part of a worldwide movement. Few people, however, know the source of this litany of beliefs, a topic that is further confused by the fact that there are two different versions: the Apostle’s Creed and the Nicene Creed.

In The Creed, Luke Timothy Johnson, a New Testament scholar and Catholic theologian, clarifies the history of the creed, discussing its evolution from the first decades of the Christian Church to the present day. By connecting the deep theological conflicts of the early Church with the conflicts and questions facing Christians today, Johnson shows that faith is a dynamic process, not based on a static set of rules. Written in a clear, graceful style and appropriate for Christians of all denominations, The Creed is destined to become a classic of modern writings on spirituality.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780385502481
Publisher: The Crown Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/17/2004
Edition description: First Image Books Edition
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 440,128
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.68(d)

About the Author

LUKE TIMOTHY JOHNSON, a former Benedictine monk, is the Robert W. Woodruff Professor of New Testament at the Candler School of Theology, Emory University. He is the author of several books, including The Real Jesus and Living Jesus, as well as two Anchor Bible Commentaries, The Letters of James and I & II Timothy.

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Creed: What Christians Believe and Why it Matters 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Tunguz More than 1 year ago
Over the pat couple of years I have increasingly become aware of the controversy that Christian Creed, and Creedal Christianity, invoke. The more fundamentalist Christians tend to think of creeds as a later development, and by extension a corruption, of the original pristine New Testament Christianity. On the other hand, theological liberals of all stripes perceive creeds as a straitjacket and a tool of control and exclusion of the heterodox views that were suppressed by the Orthodox "faction". Furthermore, secularists and atheist equate any and allegiances to creeds as a credulity, an infantile instinct that needs to be eradicated if we are to move ahead as a society. Luke Timothy Johnson in this wonderful little book goes a long way in defending The Creed against all these major detractors, and he does it with a great deal of skill, scholarship and finesse. The early chapters of this book explore how did particular statements in The Creed come about, what were the historical and theological disputes that lead to their inclusion. However, this is not the main focus of the book, and some other works on this topic may be more relevant. The major part of the book is dedicated to taking each one of the statements in The creed (and The Creed in question is theNiceno-Constantinopolitan Creed), elaborating on its meaning, providing the relevant biblical proof-texts that support it, and providing the significance of it in our dailylives and in the world at large. It is here that Luke Timothy Johnson is at his best, and this book brought new freshness to the old statements of faith that I've been reciting in Church for many years. This is a wonderful modern book that I highly recommend to anyone who is interested in the Christian beliefs.
JamesER More than 1 year ago
Luke Timothy Johnson has provided a readable and thoughtful review of the Nicene Creed. Each element of the creed is discussed separately. The historical circumstances that caused the inclusion of the element in the creed are explained. When a specific theological argument was judged to have developed into a popular heresy that was undermining the Christian faith, Johnson does a good job of succinctly summarizing the points of controversy. This enables the reader to identify the contemporary manifestations of those heresies. For example, the Creed begins with a heavy emphasis on monotheism, which was necessary to combat the popular belief that two gods, one evil and one good, are battling for control over the physical and spiritual worlds. This heresy, as Johnson explains, is based on a misunderstanding of Paul's statement that Satan 'is the god of this world.' Even today, many Christians ascribe a god-like status to Satan. Even readers who do not agree with Johnson's analysis will conclude that he has provided a lucid and balanced explanation of the Creed from a traditional perspective. Though openly written from a Roman Catholic perspective, the book is not dogmatic about issues such as whether the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son or only from the Father.
DRLaurence More than 1 year ago
"The Creed"is a concise yet comprehenive study of the origin, history, and development of the creed. It incorporates the very essence of early Christianity utilizing Sacred Scripture and other sources.It brings the reader to the person and divinity of Jesus. Moreover, it bridges the past to the present in terms of Christian beliefs and values."The Creed" is well written and informative.It is readable,interesting,and enjoyable. I highly recommend it without any reservation to students of theology and those who choose to seek knowledge of the Catholic faith. Dr.Laurence
Anonymous More than 1 year ago