Anglican Samizdat

August 18, 2009

Diocese of Niagara: Do you have to believe the Creeds?

Filed under: Diocese of Niagara — David Jenkins @ 5:35 pm

The glib answer might be “not if you are the bishop”, but the diocese does give us its answer here. It starts off promisingly enough:

The Creeds are statements that contain a summary of our basic beliefs. The word “Creed” comes from the Latin word creo which means “I believe.”

In the Anglican Church, we say both the Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed in our worship. Because we are a community of faith, we openly declare our beliefs and in this way unite ourselves to Christians in the past, present and future.

When we get down to the thorny question, Do I have to Believe Everything in the Creeds, we find this answer:

Relationship with God is a personal journey and also one we share with others in this community of faith. The Creeds clearly state the beliefs of the Church, and we recite them as we join with those around us in the process of discovering our own relationship with God. So it is not easy to answer this question “yes” or “no,” It is important that we take part with fellow seekers in this lifelong journey.

So the requirement for a Christian in the diocese of Niagara is not actual agreement with the “beliefs of the Church”, rather a willingness to state them along with others – who presumably don’t believe them either – as we “discover[ing] our own relationship with God”, whatever that means. In saner times, this would be called “hypocrisy”; now it is a “personal journey”.

This stellar advice to the budding Christian was written by The Rev. Canon Michael Patterson when he was Director of Evangelism. Much of his tenure in that position was spent in engaging in focus groups to try and come to some understanding of what the word “Evangelism”  means; as far as I know there was never a final consensus. Having flunked evangelism, Canon Michael is employing his formidable talents in attempting to wrestle parish properties away from congregations that need them for worship; a task more suited to his abilities, perhaps.



  1. Niagara is dying a death of a thousand cuts: scriptural authority, traditional teaching -and now- the creeds.
    May God have mercy on their leaders’ souls.

    Comment by Jim Muirhead — August 18, 2009 @ 11:30 pm

  2. So during the service the celebrant recites the Creeds and mumbles the parts he/she/it doesn’t believe. I thought for a minute they meant what they were saying.

    Comment by Steve L. — August 19, 2009 @ 10:12 am

  3. If that website is designed to appeal to people who have not yet come to faith, or who have a partial faith but “reservations” about some of the beliefs of the church, then they have done well to phrase their blurb about the creeds as they have.

    There’s very little more obnoxious than bearing false witness, and a church that puts out a sign that says “All Welcome” when it REALLY means “All Welcome If Every One of Them Believes Exactly What We Believe And Phrases It As We Do” is bearing false witness.

    I think you know this, and you are just stirring up muck for no “good” reason.

    Comment by Teugif — August 19, 2009 @ 10:17 am

  4. Teugif,

    “I write this blog for my own entertainment and to poke fun at the religious and political establishment.” (Found in About at the top of the page)
    I am sure that David can amplify for himself any additional reasons. But clearly you are seeking to criticise the Blog without having even a superficial understanding of it.
    I read the Blog daily for its quirky humour and it wide-ranging coverage of all things related to the Chrisitan faith -that’s enough for me.

    Comment by Jim Muirhead — August 19, 2009 @ 10:41 am

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