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This chapter discusses the evidence for the existence of creeds before Nicaea and the purpose for which they might have been employed. The rival accounts of the origin of the Nicene formula are compared, together with the variants in the wording and the different accounts of its origin. The biblical texts that lie behind each verse of the creed are examined, and Beatrice’s argument for a pagan origin of the term homoousios is weighed against other theories. The anathemas require particular study, since the anathema on the term ktiston (“created”) is not preserved in all sources, but is crucial to the argumentation of Athanasius, who claims that it has the authority of Eusebius. The chapter then asks how the Nicene Creed was regarded after the end of the council, and whether subsequent creedal formulations were meant to reinforce or supersede it, and how it attained the form that is now regularly employed in churches.
The chapter argues that the general right to conscientious exemption in Canada should not be interpreted to be available only to religious people. This is for several reasons. First, the general right to conscientious exemption is available under the right to freedom of conscience under s 2(a) of the Canadian Charter and s 3 of the Quebec Charter. Albeit there are only a handful of cases on this right and even though the SCC has not unequivocally delivered a judgment on this, it is clear that the existing cases hold that freedom of conscience protects non-religious conscientious beliefs. Secondly, even though the general right to conscientious exemption arising under anti-discrimination statutes appears to be a privilege of only those with religious beliefs, it has been argued that this would violate the Canadian Charter guarantee of equality rights under s 15 and freedom of conscience under s 2(a). The appropriate remedy, for most of the anti-discrimination statutes, would be to read in conscience as a protected characteristic. This would entail that, in relation to all the rules of law which guarantee the general right to conscientious exemption, the right is not a privilege of those that object on the basis of a religious belief.
Kant is critical of many of the practices of Christianity in his time. But when we appreciate the dynamic relation between rational and revealed religion as Kant conceives them, the apparent opposition becomes more questionable and raises more questions than it answers. Kant’s project in the Religion bears important affinities with the religious philosophy of Moses Mendelssohn. Mendelssohn’s philosophy of church and state and their relation involve a number of radical proposals expressive of Enlightenment religious consciousness. Mendelssohn’s concept of enlightened Judaism bears interesting comparison to Kant’s enlightened reflections on Christianity. Mendelssohn defends a form of evidentialism even more radical that Clifford’s. He also defends a conception of the freedom of religious conscience that inspires Kant’s treatment of that topic in part four of the Religion. Conscience is an important theme in Kant’s moral philosophy, which has special application to religious conscience and the freedom of conscience Kant and Mendelssohn both defend.
Sixteenth-century Protestant reformers did not reinvent the Trinity; most preserved the medieval understanding of the doctrine of God, which the church agreed upon at the First Council of Nicaea in 325 and revised at the Council of Constantinople in 381. The remarkable continuity of the medieval consubstantial Trinity during the Reformation became increasingly relevant to framing standard Reformed theology as certain minds began to fancy antitrinitarianism. The consensus among the magisterial reformers was that sixteenth-century nonconformist “heretics” endangered traditional Christology and therefore the traditional Christian doctrine of God. At the inception of Protestant dogma, reforming theologians were forced to assess an old question of the utmost relevance to the church: If Christ is not human and divine – what is Christianity? Thus, putting the relation of God, the Son, and the Holy Spirit into words from a scriptural perspective occupied the reformers as it had the early church fathers. The early reformers who revisited church doctrine should have enjoyed a period of trial and error. However, in the broader Reformation context, the sixteenth-century characters, who pushed the orthodox envelope beyond tradition, had by the mid-sixteenth century compelled the reformers to exacting linguistic precision, which subsequently became a distinctive trait of Reformed theology.
An exploration of the development and meaning of the text of the Baptismal Covenant in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church provides the basis for a discussion of the proposed Anglican Communion Covenant. The article concludes by suggesting how biblical, theological and liturgical understandings of covenant offer a perspective by which to assess the proposed Covenant for the Anglican Communion.
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