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Trinitarian Spirituality, 10: Suspicions and Semantics

Trinitarian Spirituality, 10: Suspicions and Semantics May 31, 2012

In our last post, we met some actual characters in the dialogue. Let’s all step back just a moment and widen our lens so we can get a panoramic view. While the Nicene Creed is the heart of our story, the provoking cause of its writing, the actual Council members who wrote it and the decades that followed are all a package. That is, it’s not a tidy tale of a theological conflagration that erupted and its orderly resolution. In fact, though the Creed was drafted in 325 and edited into its final version by 381, the Church argued about its meaning and implications for decades before and after the Council.

So our story is a before/during/after review of the Council of Nicea and its integration into the life and language of the Church. Would that Church history were more orderly, but no.

Some find the messiness and arm-wrestling evidence that the church leaders had lost the favor and intention of God. This is a common Mormon perception—that after the apostles, the early church leaders stumbled and lost touch with God’s revelation. Mormons call this the time of the apostasy, a time when the church lost the truth and concocted bizarre ideas like, well, like the Trinity. Ergo, they teach that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are three separate divine beings. Muhammad, too, found that Trinitarian ideas were not only incomprehensible, but offensive. For Muslims, the abso