What do Christians believe? What do you believe? What does it even mean to “believe”?
The keys that unlock the beliefs of the Christian Faith are stated succinctly in the Nicene Creed, which we profess along with most Christians around the world. Words that roll off our tongues easily, but are often not fully understood, define our Faith.
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Born at the Council of Nicaea in the Fourth Century after intense, theological debates, this formal statement of faith is the foundation of both eastern and western Christianity. All who are baptized profess belief in the statements contained in the Nicene Creed.
In this video-based study, Bishop Robert Barron leads us line-by-line through the elegant, intelligent, and succinct words of the Creed. Words that roll off our tongues easily, but are often not fully understood. These words, such as believe, one God, incarnate, and consubstantial, will resonate in your soul and more deeply give voice to your own faith once you experience Bishop Barron’s The Creed.
This video-based study program can be experienced individually or in a group. Groups meet for seven two-hour sessions to watch the video and participate in small group discussions of the Study Guide questions. Participants will use Bishop Barron’s book, Light from Light, along with the video to delve into the study guide questions and prepare them before each small group discussion.
There are two sets of questions. First, the Questions for Understanding are based on the video presentation, references from Scripture and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and Bishop Barron’s book, Light from Light. Secondly, the Questions for Application will encourage reflection on how the material is relevant to each participant’s own life and experience. Question preparation can be done either before or after participants view the video as Bishop Barron’s book includes all the necessary detail to complete the questions.
The Leader’s Guide provides essential resources for lay discussion leaders, including the study guide plus a facilitator’s guide and answer key for the Questions for Understanding. Leaders can also register for a free training webinar that recommends the best way to run an effective Creed study group.
Timothy Cardinal Dolan
Archbishop of New York
“Familiarity breeds contempt! Familiar we are indeed with the Nicene Creed, as we rattle through it at every Sunday Mass. Bishop Barron, with his attractive blend of depth and ease, helps us pray it again for the first time, realizing the dramatic and radical claims we profess!”
John Paul II Chair of Theology, University of Notre Dame (Australia)
“The elements of the Creed are the grammar of our faith; without them we are theologically rudderless. Bishop Barron presents these essential theological building stones in a manner that is both intellectually rich and spiritually inspiring. There is no legalistic treatment, no dry presentation of dogmas, but an unveiling of each ‘gemstone’ in the collection with literary finesse and insights dredged from the whole two-thousand-year-old treasury of Catholic scholarship and tradition.”
- Lesson 1
- Lesson 2
- Lesson 3
- Lesson 4
- Lesson 5
- Lesson 6
Lesson 1: I Believe
In the fourth century, intense deliberations over theological questions gave rise to the Nicene Creed. This formal statement of faith is the foundation for both eastern and western Christianity. And to this day, most Christians around the world would subscribe to it. In our age of secularism, skepticism, and disaffiliation, we should attend to the most basic issue first -- what does it mean to believe in God?
Lesson 2: God, the Father Almighty
At five years old, Thomas Aquinas is said to have posed to his catechism teacher the question of all questions, “But, Master, what is God?” The Creed gives us a succinct, but inexhaustible, answer. The one God, unlike any other being in the cosmos, is fully actual and unconditioned.
Furthermore, God is Father as he generates, cherishes, and directs all things. God is Creator, the non-contingent source of all contingent reality.
Lesson 3: Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son
“I believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ.” With these words of the Creed, we come to the heart of the matter. For all of distinctively Christian faith begins and ends with a particular person, Yeshua from Nazareth, the only begotten Son of the God of Israel, Light from Light, true God from true God. This proclamation, no less shocking nearly 2,000 years later, draws us into the depths of the divine life and into the mystery of the Incarnation.
Lesson 4: He Suffered Death
What matters most about Jesus? The Creed centers not on his ministry, his teachings, his miracles, or his words, but on the great drama of the Paschal Mystery, which is the Son of God’s descent into God-forsakenness with his suffering, death, Resurrection and Ascension. The risen and ascended Christ is the King of the universe, Ruler of the Church and Judge of all. One day, he will come again to fully inaugurate his eternal kingdom.
Lesson 5: Holy Spirit, the Giver of Life
Following a Trinitarian structure, the Creed moves from the Father, to the Son, to the Holy Spirit -- the Spiritus Sanctus or “holy breath.” The Spirit is not a “what” but a “who,” the same God of Israel that we adore and glorify. Also, he is Zoopoeion -- giver of life -- who has spoken through the prophets. From the very beginning of Jesus’ earthly life, this life-giving power of the God of Israel filled him with fire and wisdom. Jesus now gives this same Spirit generously to his people.
Lesson 6: One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic
It seems altogether appropriate that we should express our faith in the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, but is it not at least questionable, even idolatrous, to be professing belief in the Church? That we do profess this in the Creed signals perhaps the most fundamental truth about the Mystical Body; it is a sacrament of Christ that participates in his divinity. The One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church offers forgiveness, calls us out of the world, and invites us toward the life of the world to come.
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