A brief history lesson…
We will spend some time on a document of antiquity within the Christian Church. Although the Orthodox Church, all sectarian Catholic Churches and most mainline protestant churches are aware of this specific document, I would say most present day evangelicals (of the mega church variety) and Pentecostals are unaware of its existence.
The NICENE CREED is that document of antiquity and actually pre-dates the New Testament’s canonization (meaning, before the present day New Testament was officially listed and approved by the Church).
The NICENE CREED was composed (during the Council of Nicaea) and adopted originally in 325 A.D. and revised in 381 A.D. It is a statement of faith produced by the Bishops (Apostles) of the early Church to lead the way in destroying a growing belief that Jesus was not God. The early Church saw this corruption growing and decided to consolidate and write and approve a statement of faith which unquestionably stated that Jesus is God.
A Statement of Faith for the world to see. A Statement of Faith every Christian in the world could stand on.
They later made a decree concerning the NICENE CREED that stated: “it is unlawful for any man to bring forward, or to write, or to compose a different Faith as a rival to that established by the holy Fathers assembled with the Holy Ghost in Nicæa.”
The early Church leadership evidently attributed both (1) their coming together in agreement and (2) the writing of the NICENE CREED, to the Holy Spirit.
The ultimate version we have today was composed in 381 A.D.
The early Church did not decide on the composition of the New Testament until 393 A.D. (at the Council of Hippo).
To be clear, the individual sections of the New Testament were already in existence by the time of the penning of the NICENE CREED (all being written in the first century) and they were being used by churches with full attribution of the individual sections (commonly called “books” of the New Testament) to Divine Inspiration. However, during this early period of the Christian Church, the individual books were not given an “official” status and in fact there was disagreement as to what would comprise a “final” list of books for the New Testament.
So, again, before the final formation and agreement of the New Testament, the Church came together in unity to fight against a growing antichrist belief and (with the Holy Spirit) formed a document to officially unify the true Christian Church.
I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible;
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, begotten of his Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father; by whom all things were made; who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; he suffered and was buried; and the third day he rose again according to the Scriptures, and ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father; and he shall come again, with glory, to judge both the quick and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end.
And I believe in the Holy Ghost the Lord, and Giver of Life, who proceedeth from the Father [and the Son]; who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; who spake by the Prophets.
And I believe one holy Catholic and Apostolic Church; I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins; and I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.
~ Daniel Gabriel