Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Four Classical Marks of the Church, Part 2
Last week I posted the first part of John H. Armstrong's series on the Four Classical Marks of the Church which discusses the closing of the Apostles' Creed: "one holy catholic church."
The second part of the series landed in my e-mail box this morning, and I find it utterly fascinating. You may read it here. Armstrong discusses especially the use of the word "catholic."
The few times we've used the Apostles' Creed in our evangelical church, we've had to substitute the word "Christian" for "catholic." Armstrong, an evangelical himself, explains why such a substitution can be "dangerous" to our understanding of the church itself. Even the word "universal" falls short of the complete meaning of "catholic."
The writers of the Creed chose their words with the utmost prayer and care, agreeing on each and every word in the Creed, making sure each expressed the Scriptural basis for the Creed as well as the common beliefs every Christian must agree to in order to truly be a Christian.
Armstrong's articles are of the utmost importance for all evangelicals. His "new ecumenism" does not compromise all that is most dear to evangelicals yet opens the doors to Christians of differing traditions, allowing us to see that other traditions also point to Jesus, the Author and Perfector of our faith. Other traditions support a true, loving relationship with Christ. I can't encourage strongly enough the need for Christians of all traditions to read Armstrong's articles and take his teachings to heart.