Why the Filioque Sucks: An Explainer

The Filioque was added to the Nicene Creed unnecessarily and without due ecclesiastical process. Also, it messes with the orthodox expression of the mystery of the Trinity and rearranges it into a hierarchical ladder. Is it any wonder then, that pneumatology has become such a widely neglected discipline in western theology?

There is an aesthetically pleasant balance that emerges sans Filioque, with the Son “eternally begotten” and the Spirit “eternally proceeding” from the Father.

Another orthodox source I was reading recently pointed out that God the Father is always described in the Scriptures as the the source of the Godhead. Christ is called “the Son of God” and the Holy Spirit is “the Spirit of God”, but the Father is never called “the Father of God”, but simply “the Father”.

Anglicans have called for the removal of the Filioque from all future Prayer Book revisions since the 1978 Lambeth Conference. In the Presbyterian Church (USA)’s Book of Confessions, the Nicene Creed is included with the Filioque, but a note is made regarding the controversy. The decision to keep it in appears to be based on the historical fact that Presbyterianism draws its theological heritage from the western (i.e. Roman) stream of Christianity, which is where the Filioque originated.

Nevertheless, the 1989 Presbyterian Hymnal places parentheses around the relevant words, like so:

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of Life, who proceeds from the Father (and the Son).

This is how I print the Creed in my church bulletin. It marks the controversy and gives those who know their history the option of not reciting the Filioque. I print the words, even though I personally disagree with their inclusion, because that is how the Creed appears in our Book of Confessions.

I’m with the Dean on this one. You can read his thoughts and decide for yourself.

Reglogged from the Crusty Old Dean.

We, in the West, many of whom have been coddled by establishment and cultural hegemony, can shrug more easily at whether words matter or not.  As the Egyptian Coptic Bishop Bishoy put in in the news release that prompted this whole blog post, “As a church that has been persecuted for most of its existence, our faith and faith issues are exceptionally important.”

Click here to read the full article.

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