Author Topic: The Athanasian Creed and Trinity Sunday  (Read 1591 times)

Rev. Edward Engelbrecht

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The Athanasian Creed and Trinity Sunday
« on: June 11, 2019, 08:47:31 AM »
Emmanuel will observe Trinity Sunday, including the Athanasian Creed. Over the years I have seen a wide variety of practices in churches, everything from just getting the recitation out of the way to having the sermon preached from the creed. I am pasting below how our congregation now presents the creed since I have not seen other congregations do this. The practice of chanting the creed is well received. I find it is better appreciated when given with some brief explanations. In other words, I lean toward the "focus on the creed" school of thought rather than the "let's get it out of the way" approach. Simple psalm tones are used for the chanting. The text is drawn from an older public domain hymnal.

THE ATHANASIAN CREED
On Trinity Sunday, we use the Athanasian Creed, which summarizes biblical teaching about the Trinity. As the pastor and the choir sing the creed, meditate on the mystery of who God is and how He reveals Himself to us in Jesus. Brief comments follow each section.

The Introduction
1.   Whosoever 'will be saved,* before all things it is necessary that he hold the 'catholic faith,*
2.   Which Faith except every one do keep whole and 'undefiled,* without doubt he shall perish ever-'lastingly.*
Comments

The Godhead
3.   And the catholic 'faith is this:* that we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in 'Unity;*
4.   Neither confounding 'the Persons;* nor dividing 'the Substance.*
5.   For there is one Person of the Father, another 'of the Son,* and another of the 'Holy Ghost.*
6.   But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, 'is all one:* the Glory Equal, the Majesty Co-'eternal.*
7.   Such as the Father is, such 'is the Son:* and such is the 'Holy Ghost.*
8.   The Father uncreate, the Son 'uncreate:* the Holy Ghost 'uncreate.*
9.   The Father is incomprehensible, the Son incompre-'hensible* and the Holy Ghost incompre-'hensible.*
10.   The Father is eternal, the Son 'eternal:* and the Holy Ghost 'eternal.*
11.   And yet they are not three 'Eternals:* but one 'Eternal.*
12.   As there are not three uncreated, nor three incompre-'hensibles:* but one uncreated and one incompre-'hensible.*
Comments

One Almighty God and Lord
13.   So likewise the Father is Almighty, the Son 'Almighty:* and the Holy Ghost 'Almighty.*
14.   And yet there are not three 'Almighties:* but one 'Almighty.*
15.   So the Father is God, the 'Son is God:* and the Holy 'Ghost is God.*
16.   And yet they are 'not three Gods:* but 'o-ne God.*
17.   So likewise the Father is Lord, the 'Son [is] Lord:* and the Holy 'Ghost [is] Lord.*
18.   And yet 'not three Lords:* but 'o-ne Lord.*
19.   For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity: to acknowledge every Person by himself to be 'God and Lord;* So are we forbidden by the catholic Religion: to say, There be three Gods, 'or three Lords.*
Comments

The Interrelation of Persons
20.   The Father is 'made of none:* neither created nor 'begotten.*
21.   The Son is of the Fa-'ther alone:* not made, nor created, but 'begotten.*
22.   The Holy Ghost is of the Father, and 'of the Son;* neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but 'proceeding.*
23.   So there is one Father, not 'three Fathers;* one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Ghost, not three 'Holy Ghosts.*
24.   And in this Trinity none is before, or 'after other:* none is greater, or less ‘than an-other;*
25.   But the whole three Persons are coeternal together, and 'coequal:* So that in all things, as is aforesaid: the Unity in Trinity, and the Trinity in Unity is to 'be worshipped.*
26.   He therefore that 'will be saved* must thus think of the 'Trinity.*
Comments

The Person of Christ
27.   Furthermore, it is necessary to Everlasting 'Salvation;* that he also believe rightly the Incarnation of our Lord 'Jesus Christ.*
28.   For the right Faith is, that we believe 'and confess:* that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is 'God and Man;*
29.   God, of the Substance of the Father begotten be-'fore the worlds:* and Man of the Substance of his mother, born 'in the world;*
30.   Perfect God, and 'perfect Man:* of a reasonable soul and human flesh 'subsisting.*
31.   Equal to the Father, as touching 'his Godhead:* and inferior to the Father, as touching 'his Manhood.*
32.   Who although he be 'God and Man:* yet he is not two, 'but one Christ;*
33.   One; not by conversion of the Godhead 'into flesh:* but by taking the Manhood 'into God;*
34.   One altogether; not by confusion 'of Substance:* but by Unity 'of Person.*
35.   For as the reasonable soul and flesh 'is one man:* so God and Man is 'one in Christ;*
Comments

The Work of Christ
36.   [Christ] Who suffered for our 'salvation:* descended into hell, rose again the third day 'from the dead.*
37.   He ascended into heaven; he sitteth on the right hand of the Father, God 'Almighty;* from whence he shall come to judge the quick 'and the dead.*
38.   At whose coming all men shall rise again with 'their bodies:* and shall give account for 'their own works.*
Comments

The Conclusion
39.   And they that have done good shall go into life e-'verlasting:* and they that have done evil into ever-'lasting fire.*
40.   This is the 'catholic faith:* which except a man believe faithfully, he can-'not be saved.*
Comments
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J. Thomas Shelley

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Re: The Athanasian Creed and Trinity Sunday
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2019, 08:54:58 AM »
Very nice.

This would fit well with four part Serbian chant.

Pastor Austin has sometimes shared an order of service in which this Creed is interwoven with the framework of the liturgy.
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RDPreus

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Re: The Athanasian Creed and Trinity Sunday
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2019, 10:21:51 AM »
We have confessed the Athanasian Creed on Trinity Sunday since I was ordained.  When I was in the ELS, we also sang hymn #39 from the Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary: "Whoever Would Be Saved."  It was written by Harry Bartels and is based on the Athanasian Creed.  It beautifully confesses the Creed in ten verses.  I don't know if it is in any other hymnal.  I hope the LCMS chooses it for its next hymnal.

Steven Tibbetts

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Re: The Athanasian Creed and Trinity Sunday
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2019, 09:41:03 PM »
The ELCA has no interest in confessing the orthodox creeds. It does not believe them. It is an apostate church.

We will be confessing the Athanasian Creed this Sunday in the ELCA congregation I serve.  That will be in accord with the ELCA's Confession of Faith and the promises made at my ordination in 1992 and installation last month.

Yes, there are people in the ELCA who do not believe the Ecumenical Creeds.  You will find such people in every church that confesses them (and those that do not), even within official church leadership.  We all, regardless of church body, have much to repent of and atone for.  But then Jesus came to save sinners, like you and me.

Pax, Steven+
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Jeff-MN

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Re: The Athanasian Creed and Trinity Sunday
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2019, 10:32:30 PM »
Our congregation is "naughty" too and substitutes the Athanasian Creed for the Nicene Creed on Trinity Sunday.  Guess there's much more serious liturgical innovations out there that we could be guilty of so I shouldn't complain too much.

Charles Austin

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Re: The Athanasian Creed and Trinity Sunday
« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2019, 11:39:05 PM »
Happy for the chance to agree with Pastor Kimball.
Retired ELCA Pastor. Iowa native. Now in Minneapolis. One must always ponder both the value and the dangers of poking the bear. Aroused and stimulated, the bear usually shows its true self. Or it might leap to an extreme version of itself. You never know with bears.

J. Thomas Shelley

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Re: The Athanasian Creed and Trinity Sunday
« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2019, 11:43:26 PM »
Happy for the chance to agree with Pastor Kimball.
Even happier for the chance to agree with two old friends.
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Eileen Smith

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Re: The Athanasian Creed and Trinity Sunday
« Reply #7 on: June 12, 2019, 08:35:13 AM »
Our congregation (ELCA) will use the Athanasian Creed on Sunday as did the ELCA congregation the I was a member of when living in NY.    It's one of the things I look forward to on Holy Trinity Sunday. 

I'll admit to times that I look at the index of subjects and move on. But if there is a post by Pastor Tibbetts I will take a moment to read it. His posts are filled with wisdom, humor, and love.  To that end I echo the affirmations of Pastors Shelley and Austin. Moreover, the ELCA needs voice such as his -- and my own pastor.

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J. Thomas Shelley

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Re: The Athanasian Creed and Trinity Sunday
« Reply #9 on: June 12, 2019, 12:34:17 PM »
Sometimes, Pastor Kimball, intemperance is required and indeed a virtue. I think this was one of those times.

Remember, Nicholas, Bishop of Myra, boxed the arch-heretic Arius on the ear during the First Council of Nicea.

(Whenever I watch the movie The Santa Clause and hear the line "Would Santa really hit somebody?" I think "You bet your....")
« Last Edit: June 12, 2019, 07:36:58 PM by J. Thomas Shelley »
Greek Orthodox Deacon -Ecumenical Patriarchate
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Baptized, Confirmed, and Ordained United Methodist.
Served as a Lutheran Pastor October 31, 1989 - October 31, 2014.
Charter member of the first chapter of the Society of the Holy Trinity.

David Garner

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Re: The Athanasian Creed and Trinity Sunday
« Reply #10 on: June 12, 2019, 03:08:52 PM »
Sometimes, Pastor Kimball, intemperance is required and indeed a virtue. I think this was one of those times.

Remember, Nicholas, Bishop of Myra, boxed the arch-heretic Arius on the ear during the First Council of Nicea.

(Whenever I watch the movie The Santa Clause and hear the line "Would Santa really hit somebody?" I thank "You bet your....")

 ;D
Orthodox Reader and former Lutheran (LCMS and WELS).