Show your knowledge and understanding of the origins of creeds in the Early Church as central to Christian life and worship (30)

      The emergence and practice of creeds evolved during the history of the early church, beginning with relative simplicity in its earliest sources to the tendency of increasing complexity, regulation and ceremonialism found in its later sources. JND Kelly concluded that Christian creeds are a ‘fixed formula summarizing the essential articles of [the Christian] religion and enjoying the sanction of ecclesiastical authority’.   This ‘doctrine’ of creeds referred to teachings that extracted the meaning and significance of creeds and how they were to be understood, for example, in the case of catechumens in the baptismal process; it provided a useful summary of the Christian faith for the inquiring outsider.The ‘practice’ of creeds refers to the administration of creeds i.e. how they should be adhered to which progressed more deeply and at length during the first centuries of its development.
      Throughout the New Testament canon, different religious concepts and spiritual benefits are associated with creeds e.g. faith, union with Jesus’ death and resurrection, salvation and commitment to the trinity. In the New Testament, although there is no mention of developing creeds there are, however, credal ‘elements’ or ‘fragments’ that were influenced by the broad spectrum of needs and situations that they were designed to meet, such as baptism, liturgy, communion, heresy, evangelism and exorcism. In these primitive creeds, the central aspect is on Jesus, who is the initiator and heart of the church’s unifying faith. Contained in these ‘fragments’ are three possible stages of development i.e. there are single-clause confessions, declaring ‘Jesus is Lord’; two-clause confessions in the book of I Corinthians, referring to God the ‘Father’ as well as Jesus; and three-clause confessions, highlighting the Trinity of ‘Father, Son and Spirit’...