The Chalcedonian Creed
This creed is really important to help with understanding the error of Eternal Subordination of the Son. It is pronounced Cal-seh-don, not Chal-seh-don.
History of the Creed:
The Chalcedonian Creed was adopted at the council of Chalcedon, which met to fight against Monophysitism (the belief that Jesus only had one nature) in 451. Monophysitism became a theological issue because Eutyches, a presbyter/Bishop that was present at the council of Ephesus and who fought against Nestorianism (the belief that Jesus had two distinct natures that were joined by one will). Unfortunately, his passion against Nestorianism went so far that he went to the other extreme and taught that Jesus had one will and one divine nature.
There’s a few subsets within Monophysitism that have different nuances within the beliefs that I won’t be able to fully break down here, but I may try to revisit them later. There is a Trinitarian Glossary (http://bit.ly/tgtrinitygloss) with a brief overview of most of them. I do want to point out a couple of phrases in the Chalcedonian Creed that address specific heresies:
- “Co-essential” is directed at Arianism
- “Co-essential with us” is directed at Apollinarianism
- “Two natures” refutes Eutychianism
- “Without division, without separation” refutes Nestorianism
That said, it is important to recognize that Jesus had both a divine nature and a human nature and that each nature had its own will. I will also be discussing this a bit more in tomorrow’s post on the Athanasian Creed, but the CARM link below thoroughly outlines where we can support Jesus having both a human and divine nature through scripture.
Controversies Regarding the Creed:
The Chalcedonian Creed was not as readily accepted as the other creeds I’ve talked about. The Coptic Church dissented on the decision because they held more closely to a oneness view. The Oriental Orthodox Church also did not agree because they didn’t see the creed as being against Nestorianism enough. Churches that rejected the Chalcedonian creed formally separated from the Eastern Orthodox Church, as well. This schism resulted in a mass persecution of Coptic Christians by Eastern Orthodox Christians. This was sadly the first time in Christian history where Christians persecuted other Christians.
Reformed Liturgical Use and Confessional References:l
The creed is affirmed currently by Anglican churches and Dutch Reformed churches, but not as widely proliferated as other creeds. I think it’s largely put on the back burner in favor of the Athanasian Creed, which we will be discussing tomorrow.
Resources to Learn More:
- Monergism; http://bit.ly/monchalcedon
- Ligonier: http://bit.ly/ligchalcedon
- The Reformed Brotherhood: http://bit.ly/trbchalcedon
- TGC Coptic Church: http://bit.ly/tgcChalcKDY
- TGC Hypostatic Union: http://bit.ly/tgckdyhypo
- TGC The Incarnation and Two Natures of Christ: http://bit.ly/tgc2natures
- Carm Two Natures of Jesus: http://bit.ly/carm2natures