tirtlegrrl wrote:My Bible study group is looking at the Nicene creed this month and discussing its implications for the way Christians should live. I'm supposed to lead the discussion in a couple of weeks on the Church part of the creed and I could use a little help. It says: "We believe...In one holy catholic and apostolic Church; in one baptism for the forgiveness of sins", etc.
What does it mean to say you believe in the Church? (for Roman Catholics and Protestants alike)
Does the Church being "holy", "catholic" (meaning universal) and "apostolic" consciously inform your actions or attitudes in any way?
Why do you think belief in the Church was considered important to include in a condensed account of what Christians believe?
My understanding of the holy universal apostolic church is that this is refering to the body of christ and thus a spiritual organization under the leadership of Christ Himself alone and quite apart from any human organizations and institutions, because to place ones faith in the latter seems quite preposterous, foolish and rather dangerous. I do not believe that God places any of HIS authority or the responsibility for the salvation of anyone in the hands of any human beings which would be unbelievably irresponsible. God certainly does grants some types of authority to human beings, after all Jesus did say, "render to Caesar what is Caesar's" and this is only one of many types of human authority which the Bible supports for it is an essential component of social order and community functionality.
Now what historical justification do I have for such an interpretation? Well there is quite simply one rather significant point that I can make and that is that as far as human organizations are concerned, whatever era of human history we may being talking about, the human orgarnizations we have called churches have undergone some rather enormous changes, not to mention the fact that the vast majority of them have provided very little justification for putting any great deal of faith in them. I do suppose that we can also think of "the church" in scripture and the creed as an ideal that we strive for and that in principle the leadership of Christ does successfully impact human organization at times and thus we can believe in the ideal without neccessarily limiting it to a particular human manifestation in history. In that case, to believe in the ideal means continuing to strive toward bringing human activity and organization into alignment and agreement with the spiritual leadership of Christ.