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The Arian Controversy and the Council of Nicea: The Council of Nicea, Part 4

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Daniel Whyte III

Daniel Whyte III


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Our History of Christianity Scripture passage today is Romans 10:9-10 which reads: "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."

Our History of Christianity quote today is from C. S. Lewis. He said: "If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next."

Today, in the History of Christianity, we are looking at "The Arian Controversy and the Council of Nicea: The Council of Nicea, Part 4" from Dr. Justo L. Gonzalez's fine book, The Story of Christianity (Volume 1). 

At first the assembly sought to do this through a series of passages of scripture. But it soon became evident that by limiting itself to biblical texts the council would find it very difficult to express its rejection of Arianism in unmistakable terms. It was then decided to agree on a creed that would express the faith of the church in such a way that Arianism was clearly excluded. The exact process they followed is not entirely clear. Eusebius of Caesarea, for reasons that scholars still debate, proposed the creed of his own church. Constantine suggested that the word homoousios - to which we shall return - be included in the creed. (Did Constantine know enough about the discussion to come up with this word, or was it suggested to him by his ecclesiastical advisor Hosius of Cordoba, as some suspect?) Eventually, the assembly agreed on a formula that was based on the creed of Caesarea, but with a number of additions that clearly rejected Arianism.