The Marks of the Church: the Church as Catholic

Every Sunday we confess in the Creed that we believe in “one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church”. But what do we mean when we confess the Church as catholic? For many people the word “catholic” simply means “Roman Catholic”—i.e. the Christian confession centering upon the universal leadership of the Pope of Rome. Obviously reading such usage into the Creed would be anachronistic, for the Church of the fourth century did not center…

The Marks of the Church: the Church as Holy

Every Sunday we confess in the Creed that the Church is “one, holy, catholic, and apostolic”. But what do we mean when we say that the Church is holy? Obviously it cannot mean that we believe that everyone in the Church is of exemplary behaviour. Sadly, the history of the Church, both ancient and modern, is replete with scandals and stuffed with prima facie evidence that all Christians do not always behave…

The Marks of the Church: the Church as One

Every Sunday we confess in the Creed that the Church is “one”—i.e. we confess the unity of the Church of God. But what does this creedal confession mean? In what sense is the Church one? It cannot mean that the one church is made up of all the various different Christian denominations, for when these words of the Creed were written these different denominations did not exist. Rather, the Creed is here…

One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church: What Does the Word “Church” Mean?

Every Sunday the Creed is said in Church in which Christians say the words, “I believe in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church”. It many ways it is an odd thing to say. In the Creed we confess things that are matters of faith, things contestable, maybe even controversial. Thus we confess that God the Father almighty made the heaven and the earth, including all things visible (such as animals and men)…

Knowing the Master’s Manger

In the opening verses of the Book of the Prophet Isaiah we find the following words: “Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth, for the Lord has spoken: ‘Sons have I reared and brought up, but they have rebelled against Me. The ox knows its owner, and the donkey its master’s manger, but Israel does not know; My people does not understand’” (Is. 1:2-3). With these words the prophet begins his…

(Another) Merry Hipster Christmas!

The Hipster Nativity Set is (sadly) back in the news. A year or so ago, some enterprising entrepreneurs created this Nativity set, which includes the traditional figures, but all in a distinctly hipster form. Joseph has a man-bun and is taking a selfie. Mary is holding a Starbucks latte in one hand, making a peace sign with the other, and is making a duck-face. (The selfie, when she sees it, will reveal…