Friday in the Thirty-Third Week of Ordinary Time

The Creed of Chalcedon

but one and the same Son and only-begotten, God the Word,

the Lord Jesus Christ

Well, the Creed of Chalcedon started out, “We…teach men to confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the same perfect in Godhead and also perfect in Manhood.”  It now ends boldly and with an explanation point confessing “one and the same Son and only-begotten, God the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ.”  In other words, we have come full circle with the same proclamation with which we began, everything in between serving as explanation of how the two natures of this one Son relate to one another in that one Person.  And understand, this was no exercise in idle speculation of armchair theologians; what they put to paper was the very faith believed and confessed by the Church for the sake of the salvation of souls.  Their task was a matter of life and death.

The logicians among us will argue that this statement is nothing more than a circular argument, the conclusion following the thesis from the beginning.  The Fathers at Chalcedon would respond that they were not arguing, they were not debating, they were not trying to convince anyone of anything.  They were confessing and proclaiming what they knew the one holy universal and apostolic Church believed and taught in all places from the beginning.  They were not arguing philosophy though they did not mind borrowing words from philosophy if such terminology assisted in clarifying thought.  They were not offering fresh ideas for new vistas which the Church might travel.  The Church Fathers to a man looked with suspicion on the new, the novel, the fresh idea—indeed, they loathed it.  They had a word for whatever departed from what had been received from the beginning; it was called, “heresy,” which in Greek means, “choice.”  The heretic “chooses” that which he desires to believe and goes his own way.  He despises what has been received down through the generations from proper authority and becomes his own authority—a church of one or more than one if he can convince others to go with him.  Then he is also a “schismatic.”

But I digress.  What those early Bishops put together in this brief but dense statement of the faith was only what they knew to coincide with divine revelation which they as the leaders of the Church were obligated to protect.  If only pastors today would see themselves not as innovators (something these men would have looked upon with shock and abhorrence) but as men with a sacred calling to proclaim what has always been the message of salvation and guard it with their very lives (1 Timothy 6:20).

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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