The small group I co-lead is studying the basic beliefs and practices of the Christian life, and we’re currently looking at the doctirne of the Trinity. I’ve heard it argued that the Trinity is THE central doctrine of Christianity, setting us apart from all other religions and cults. I believe this is true, because as I look at all the other doctrines I’ve studied in various theology classes, I see that they basically elaborate on this foundational truth, telling us more about this one God in three Persons and our relationship with Him.
Of the two historic creeds most widely used throughout Christendom, the Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed, the one with the clearest declaration of belief in the Trinity is the Nicene. I think that’s why it’s my preference of the two creeds, and I love it’s fuller, richer description of the deity of Christ and the person and work of the Holy Spirit. The following is a contemporary translation used in many denominations, including the Roman Catholic Church.
We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father.
Through him all things were made.
For us men and for our salvation
he came down from heaven:
by the power of the Holy Spirit
he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary,
and was made man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of Life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son.*
With the Father and the Son he is worshipped and glorified.
He has spoken through the Prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic** and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. Amen.
* Eastern Orthodox churches omit “and the Son”
** i.e., universal