New Nicene Creed is being discussed
The Presbyterian Layman, October 23, 1998
The Presbyterian Church (USA) is mailing to congregations the text, history and rationale for a new English version of the Nicene Creed.
The 210th (1998) General Assembly of the PC(USA) approved the recommendation of the Special Committee on the Nicene Creed that presbyteries vote on replacing the current translation of the Nicene Creed in the Book of Confessions with a “contemporary translation prepared by the English Language Liturgical Commission.”
The current and contemporary versions of the Nicene Creed, along with background material, are posted on the PCUSA’s Internet site . A lively discussion, both pro and con, is under way through E-mail and chat sites.
The Nicene Creed is first known in its present form from the Council of Chalcedon (451), where it was accepted as the Creed of the Council of Constantinople (381). That Council is recorded simply as having confirmed the Nicene faith. The Council of Nicaea (325) framed its own statement of Orthodox belief, stressing that the Son is of the same essential Being as the Father, against the Arian heretics who allotted the Son a lower rank.
In his book titled Standing Firm: Reclaiming Christian Faith in Times of Controversy, Parker T. Williamson, executive editor of The Presbyterian Layman, examines today’s theological debates in light of the debates and conclusions of the Council of Nicea.
The authors of the revised text were given four broad instructions:
1. Only necessary changes should be made.
2. Sensitivity should be shown to the need for inclusive language.
3. The ease with which the text can be said, heard and sung is an essential element of the revision.
4. The revision should use language that is contemporary.