Although we insist in holding up the patristic symbols as necessary articulations of the orthodox Christian doctrine, we dare not muse that the Nicene Creed (or any of the others) is a sufficient theological articulation for us today. They simply leave too many doctrinal questions unaddressed. It is for this reason that Steven Harmon, one (apparently) sympathetic with theological liberalism, advocates that we do return to it. He believes that setting forth the Nicene symobl would first guard against the tendency of the left towards “doctrinal minimalism.” He continues,

“Yet at the same time, the Nicene Creed is potentially more inclusive of diverse theological positions than most Bpatist confessions have been. It addresses neither the nature of biblical inspiration nor the gender of clergy, for example, nor does it require that one folow its example in the use of gendered God-language” (“Baptist Confessions of Faith and the Patristic Tradition,” in Perspectives of Religious Studies 29 [2002], 355).

Here we have illustrated two important lessons: 1) articulations of doctrine happen (in part) because persons are concerned to set forth clearly what they believed to be the Scriptures’ teaching on a particular point; and 2) that some would, for whatever reason, rather not articulate clearly what they believe.

On this latter point, here is my group-participation question: Is it ever right not to state your beliefs (assuming you’ve reached some conclusions) as clearly as possible on a particular point of doctrine or practice?

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