Do you have a favorite creed? Maybe you like the Nicene Creed best of all and recite it every Sunday in church. Or do you prefer the Apostles’ Creed? Lots of Christians like the Apostles’ Creed and it is easily one of the all time top creeds. And who could ignore the Athanasian Creed? Wow! It’s such an impressive creed with serious heft and real teeth. The Athanasian Creed says you better start thinking about God like Athanasius decreed or you will be lost and damned! That may sound harsh but according to the Athanasian Creed it’s just the way things are. Perhaps the disciples of Athanasius should properly be called Athanasians instead of Christians. If the words of Athanasius can decide your salvation they might be even more important than the words of Jesus! Have you ever wondered if Jesus has a favorite creed?
Jesus Has a Favorite Creed!
It turns out that Jesus has a favorite creed too. It is pretty straightforward really. “Hear O Israel, the LORD your God is one LORD!” (Deuteronomy 6:4). The ancient Jewish Shema was deeply upsetting to proponents of the trinity! They preferred, “The Lord your God is Three and One”. In spite of all the church councils over the centuries no one has ever figured out a way to get rid of that pesky old Shema once and for all. In spite of the decisions of church councils and human governments throughout history, Jesus was (and is) so committed to the truth of the Shema that it formed the basis of what He declared was the greatest commandment of all.
Jesus’ Personal Creed Was Outlawed by Rome!
Like a lot of things He said, Jesus’ favorite creed caused some serious controversy. As a result, Jesus’ personal creed was outlawed by Rome! The Justinian Codex or Corpus Juris Civilis (Body of Civil Law) banned the Shema in 529 AD because it was deemed much too Jewish. Unfortunately Jesus’ creed also implied criticism of the Trinity… so it had to be banned under penalty of death. Strangely enough, Christ’s adversaries on this issue still claimed to be His disciples! The prohibition against the Shema was written into Roman law during the reign of Justinian I thereby overruling the clear will of the Savior. We think promoting trinitarian dogma by outlawing Jesus’ favorite creed (at the point of a sword) doesn’t seem like God’s way at all… but it does seem like something Satan would approve of. As Jesus said, “By their fruits you will know them.”
PS: I suppose Justinian’s prohibition against the Shema made a lot of sense to the emperor and to the trinitarian bishops who ruled the state church. It doesn’t make much sense to the rest of us though. Now that you know this interesting bit of history why not share it with your friends? They should know about it too. Thanks and God Bless.
Copyright 2022 by Bob Shutes