Among the creeds of the ancient church none but the Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed is held in such high honor as the Definition of Faith set forth at Chalcedon. In a day of muddle-headed theology when it often seems more important to create a formula ambiguous enough to please everyone than to pinpoint the truth, Chalcedon calls us to sharp thinking and clear statement. Sometimes falsely labeled as a product of Greek philosophy rather than of biblical revelation, the creed sets forth precisely what the church believes about Jesus Christ.
The recent CHRISTIANITYTODAY-Gallup Poll proved that evangelicals couldn’t tell the difference between the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the orthodox view of Christ. Chalcedon would have helped (see p. 68). Jesus is God. He was neither a man exalted to the deity nor a man in whom deity chose to dwell. The man who once walked this planet is also God. Unfathomable mystery, yet blessed reality! The Creator of the universe was born into our human race and eventually died for our sins and rose again that we might have everlasting life. That’s why we Christians celebrate Christmas. And that’s why we treasure so dearly this ancient creed. By it we gladly confess our faith today.
Chalcedon spells it out. Its bold, harsh words may turn some off, but they turn me on. By them I confess that I have committed myself ultimately to the real Jesus told about in the Bible who is also God. For God so loved the world that he became the man of Bethlehem and Calvary, and I trust him for life. There is much in that which I do not understand. But what I do understand is the source of my deepest joy and my finest hope. Is it any wonder that Christmas brings great joy to all Christians?
As part of your personal preparation for Christmas 1980, read the excerpt from the Chalcedon creed; then read Clark Pinnock’s stirring exposition and defense of this ancient confession of faith so that you can understand it and make it truly your own. Finally, read the sermon Gregory of Nazianzus preached just 1600 years ago. In spite of its difficulty (it was meant for a nobler age than ours), read it until you grasp its depth and the great thundering truth of biblical reality breaks over your soul—as it must have broken upon the hearts and minds of those ancient Christians gathered at Constantinople in the Church of the Resurrection so many years ago.
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