Sunday, April 21, 2013
The Council of Nicea
I was talking to a good Christian woman the other day who was, I guess, trying to, as they do, convert me to HER GOD. For whatever reason, she thought she was the only person who believes in the Almighty. The conversation started because she was preaching verses from the King James Bible along with other falsehoods concerning Christianity. Being that I love history and know it, she made a huge mistake!
The discussion got heated, from her point of view, when I told her that King James was the King of England. He who lived around 1600 and commissioned to have his version of the Bible written that she reads. King James was a diabolical ruler, homosexual, and killed his mother. Then I ask her if she knew of the conference held in Nicea. This staunchly religious woman knew nothing of either, yet she preached the “Word”. So I thought I would give her the history of Christianity, which by the way is very different from faith.
So I started with the Council of Nicea that took place more than three hundred years after Jesus lived in 325 A.D. This historic meeting, by order of the Roman Emperor Caesar Flavius Constantine, defined or decided Christianity as we know it. Nicea was located in Asia Minor, east of Constantinople. At the Council of Nicea, Emperor Constantine presided over a group of church bishops and leaders with the purpose of defining the true God for all Christians and eliminating all the confusion, controversy, and contention within Christ’s church.
The Council of Nicea affirmed the deity of Jesus Christ, painted by a European around the same time, and removed his blackness from the consciousness of the faith. There is no need to debate Jesus’ completion because at that point in time there were only two people in the region - Romans and Jews. It is a fact that black people was the original Jew. At that conference Constantine established an official definition of the Trinity - the deity of The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit under one Godhead, in three co-equal and co-eternal Persons.
Constantine, and its debatable, was a converted Christian, called for a council meeting to be held in Nicea with the bishops of the Christian church to resolve escalating quarrels and controversy mounting to a bitter degree of disunity among the church leadership concerning theological issues. The failing Roman Empire, now under Constantine’s rule, could not withstand the division caused by years of hard-fought, “out of hand” arguing over doctrinal differences. He saw it not only as a threat to Christianity but as a threat to his rule.
Therefore, at the Council of Nicea, Constantine demanded that the Christians settle their internal disagreements and become Christ-like agents who could bring new life into a troubled, beaten-down empire. Constantine felt “called” to use his authority to help bring about the unity, peace, and love, all for which Christ stands. He and the bishops had reason to worry about the future survival of Christianity within the Roman world empire, let alone the survival of his world empire. The Council of Nicea, led by Emperor Constantine, was the meeting to settle differences, to become like-minded, all to the glory of Christ.
The main theological issue and focus had always been about Christ or so His-Story tells us. Since the end of the Apostolic Age and beginning of the Church Age, saints began questioning, debating, fighting, and separating over the question, “Who is the Christ?” Is He more divine than human or more human than divine? Was Jesus created / made or begotten? Being the Son of God, is He co-equal and co-eternal with Father God, or less and lower in status than the Father? Is the Father the One and only True God, or are the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit the One true God? “True God of True God,” “One Being, Three Persons”, a tri-unity called “Trinity”? Jesus said, “Who do you say that I am?” (Matthew 16:15).
Once the Nicea Council meeting was underway Constantine demanded that the 300 bishops make a decision by majority vote defining who Jesus Christ is. Constantine commanded them to create a “creed” doctrine that all of Christianity would follow and obey. A doctrine that would be called the “Nicene Creed,” upheld by the Church and enforced by the Emperor. The bishops voted to make the full deity of Christ the accepted position for the church. The Council of Nicea voted to make the Trinity the official doctrine of the church. However, the Council of Nicea did not invent these doctrines. Rather, it only recognized what the Bible taught, and systematized the doctrines.
John’s Gospel declares Jesus the be the Divine eternal Logos, agent of creation and source of life and light (John 1:1-5,9); the "the Way, the Truth, and the Life" (John 14:6); an advocate with heavenly Father (1 John 2:1-2); sovereign (Revelation 1:5); the Rider on a white horse (Revelation 19:11-16); and the totality of the Son of God from the beginning to the end (Revelation 22:13). The author of Hebrews reveals the full deity of Jesus through His perfection as the most high priest, Melchizedek (Hebrews 1; Hebrews 7:1-3), and the full humanity (Hebrews 2). The Divine-human Savior is the Christian's object of faith, hope, and love.
The Council of Nicea affirmed the Apostles' teaching of who Christ is - the One true God in Deity and Trinity with the Father and the Holy Spirit. When I shared this fact, my devoted Christian friend admitted she was not aware of this or that this is why the Catholic Church, the same church that sanctioned slavery, was to be the authority of the Word.
At the end of our conversation, I reminded my friend that King James’ twenty-eight version of the Bible in many ways took a page out of history using the good book to solidify his reign. My point is simple: three-hundred year after Jesus lived Constantine gave us a version and sixteen-hundred years later King James did it again.
Believe whatever you wish but if you preach - know what it is you are preaching. God means power and power is knowledge! And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…
Twitter @ John T. Wills