As some of you may know, before I was a theologian I was a soldier and before I was a soldier I was a budding lyricist for musicals. Below is my attempt to write a hip-hop style rap between the Arians and Homoousians at the Council of Nicea. Note, not quite historically accurate, Athanasius was a secretary to Bishop Alexander and probably not a key player at the Council of Nicea, but hey, give me some artistic license. If anyone would like to make a demo, feel free to go for it, just send me the tape!
Nicholas of Myra:
Listen up ladies, gents, and squires
I’m Nicholas from the see of Myra.
Most of you know me as jolly Santa Clause
Though my main claim to fame is maiming foes in christology wars
A cat named Arius said the Son was the Father’s inferior
He was defended by dudes like Eusebius of Nicomedia
But I repose, Arius was deposed, down in Alexandria by none other than bishop Alexander.
This started a fight that lacked decorum and candor
Not much fellowship, but man, a whole lot of slander
So Constantine called a council to meet in Nicea
The idea was for the council as to be kinda like a panacea
Arius never showed, hey I don’t blame him.
If I met the dude I’d only want to shame him.
If Arius arrived, he wouldn’t survive, I’d verbally attack him.
Cause I’m a saint with no self-restraint so I’d probably bitch slap him.
Forgive me if I begin to rave and prattle
But you need to hear that Nicea was one epic rap battle.
The encounter was tense, the outcome precarious.
Till Arius got owned by a young kid called Athanasius.
So feel me rookies, I don’t want your milk and cookies
I want you to sit back and grab yourself a beer.
And I’ll show what went down at the Council of Nicea.
First we’re gonna here from none other than Eusebius of Nicomedia.
Eusebius of Nicomedia:
We all know the creed that God is one
God is the Father and the Father has a Son
But the Son does not share in the Father’s might
The Son is something of a lesser light
The Son is divine but the Father is greater
The Son was made and the Father’s his maker
You know the truth brothers, you know the whole lot
As Arius says: there was a time when the Son was not!
But bishop Alexander down on the mouth of the nile
Everything he says is erroneous and vile
His arguments are strange, bizarre, and exotic
And I hear rumours that his habits are homoerotic
He thinks the Father and Son, they’re just the same
It’s like one God with two different names
Alexander leads us on a path towards unholy schism
He preaches the heresy called modalism
The errors of his ways are many and fraught
Causes he denies the time when the Son was naught
[Eusebius approaches Alexander face to face]
Alexander, I will make you pay for your slander.
I’m gonna gut you you sly old Salamander
I’ll expose you, depose you, impose on your style
I’ve gotta vision of my mission to put you in exile
I’m gonna see you in chains and then I’ll lock it.
Cause while you were scheming, I got Constantine in my pocket.
[Alexander walks off and holds council with his advisors]
I’m in a dog fight with Eusebius of Nicomedia
It’s like scuffing with a guy who’s a walking encyclopedia
I can’t take him on, I can’t do it alone
C’mon peeps throw this poor doggy a bone
[Athanasius approaches and interrupts]
Excuse me sir, I couldn’t help but over hear
I have some suggestions and a couple of ideas
Alexander: Sorry son but I’m a very busy man
Athanasius: But boss I believe that I can lend you a hand
Alexander: Who are you son, exactly who is speaking?
Athanasius: My name is Athanasius, and I’m your deacon.
Alexander: Okay son, you can have a minute of my time
That’s easy son, but you need to go farther
And prove he’s divine in the same way as the Father
Athanasius: Boss, I have arguments that are totally sound, even Eusebius himself can’t confound, get comfy bish while I break it all down
[Athanasius moves to center stage]
Brothers and bishops I beseech ya
If the Son was created, then he’s merely a creature
And one creature cannot redeem another
Only God can be our Saviour
And he saves us by grace not by our behaviour
The case is simple, not strange, or odd
The Son fully saves cause the Son is fully God
I spoke to some guests homeboys from west
And they have a formula that’s of great interest
They have a bro who was the total package
Tertullian’s terms are full of advantages.
The North Africa Latin lawyer was one bad ass heresy destroyer
The brother was lit, he really knew it, and he had great way to put it.
He said: God is three persons equal in one substance
So Jesus is divine in the Father’s abundance
The dude was legit, he called a spade a spade
He said the son’s begotten so he never got made.
To put that speak into Greek for us
It means Father and Son are homoousios
But Eusebius is daft, the chum’s a total cullion
He’s never heard of our mang Tertullian
I’ve heard his views, quite frankly he’s hilarious
and he’s nothing but a shill for that dog named Arius.
So take it to the bank: Father and Son are equal
Yet this argument of mine has got its own sequel.
Ya see, Arius and Eusebius think they’re really hip
But if they are right then they pervert our worship
If the Son was created, then we’re worshipping a creature
In the history of idolatry that’s like the main feature.
If doxology was money, then Arius is broke
By following Arius, we make our worship a joke
To sum it all up, my argument is thus.
Father and Son are homoousios!
[Athanasius drops mic and crowd applauds]
Dang boy, you just dropped some serious knowledge
You must be a graduate of Ridley College.
Now I don’t understand all of this theological jargon
But I like what you’re selling, cause it makes a good bargain.
But boss man, please don’t get blindsided.
The word homoousios will leave us hopelessly divided.
We need to follow the word pictures of the holy scripture
You need to exile Alex and issue some strictures.
To bolster the power of your imperial patriarchy
You must insist that God’s essence is a hierarchy.
Sebbie, my dear, let me be clear
I have no remit to try and interfere
I don’t care how the Son is deified
I just want my church completely unified.
I don’t wanna slay the church’s holy cow
The homoousios formula will do us for now.
Remember, Sebbie, I’m Constantine the Great
So if you have some beef, I suggest you sock it.
Cause Sebbie, nobody has me in their pocket.
Athanasius my man for goodness sakin
You really stepped up and saved all of our bacon
But the war ain’t over, it will go full circle
So I’m gonna elevate you to the purple
When I was trapped, boy, you totally freed me
And that’s why Athanasius I want you to succeed me!
Nicholas of Myra:
So when it comes to the council of Nicea
Hopefully this gives you a little bit of an idea
Forget the rumours, forget Dan Brown
Now you know what really went down.