The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Take a deep breath

... for it's Athanasian Creed time again

I want to include the Athanasian Creed in our Trinity Sunday liturgies but have been troubled not so much by its length but by statements in it that seem contrary to our understanding of the gospel. For example: "Whoever does not guard (the catholic faith) whole and inviolable will doubtless perish eternally" and "Those who have done good will enter eternal life, those who have done evil will enter eternal fire. This is the catholic faith. One cannot be saved without believing this firmly and faithfully." The expression of the Trinitarian faith is great, but this seems graceless and unevangelical. How do you reconcile all this with the fact that it's part of our confession of faith?

You're not alone. You've highlighted a problem that we also have with various parts of our confessions and even with parts of the creed that seem to take us in a direction contrary to the most cherished part of our faith as Lutherans — justification by grace through faith.

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