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Noted theologian and scholar, Reverend Francis Young is an ordained Methodist minister who has dedicated her life to explain the origins of the Christian faith and how it has been shaped and formed through the years.
She has helped to clarify the various nuances of the Christian faith and has shed light on what it means to have relationship with God.
The Book – The Making of the Creeds
In the book, “The Making of the Creeds”, Young delves into the origins of the Apostles Creed and the Nicene Creed and helps to explain how they arose as a direct result of the early church struggling to understand the concepts of incarnation and the Holy Trinity1.
In it, she elaborates on how the early fragmentation of the church (i.e. having no distinct centralized order and being separated into numerous denominations and factions over different continents and regions) precipitated the need to develop a clear statement of faith.
The main argument that the author is trying to impart to readers is that the Creeds as we know of them today are far from being a mere set of phrases routed in tradition and theology, rather, they were a means by which salvation was realized for the members of the church and can be considered “the heart” of early Christian theology.
Strong Points of the Book
One of the strongest aspects of the book lies in its use of non-technical phrases and wordings in order to explain the historical significance of particular events, doctrines and theological concepts.
By ensuring that the text can be easily understood by a reader without a considerable background in Christian theology, this results in a wider audience being able to understand the message that Young is trying to impart in the book regarding the significance of the Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed in Christian theology as well as in the present day Christian faith.
Another strong point of the book lies in its use of a historical backdrop of events in order to show how the Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed came to develop into its present day iteration over time.
Through this method of depiction, readers are better able to appreciate the struggles that defined the early church and how the Creeds and doctrines that we know of today were actually developed as a direct result of the desire of the early church to bring the message of salvation to its constituents.
On the other end of the spectrum, one of the weaknesses of the book was surprisingly its first chapter which was lacking in sufficient content and dealt with concepts that would have been better off left for a later chapter.
It should be noted though that in terms of its theological import and the manner in which it helps to explain the theological circumstances behind the creation of the Creeds, the book is quite a good read.
It’s qualities are further enhanced by the fact that it is not too long and can be considered a brief yet concise method of helping to explain one aspect (i.e. the development of the Nicene Creed) of Christianities evolution over time.
Overall, the book is an excellent source material for understanding the development of the Creeds as we know it today.
Neither being overly complicated nor lacking in detail, “The Making of the Creeds” by Frances Young enables students of theology or even regular Christians to better understand the various developments in Christianity’s past.
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Lewis, John Underwood. 1993. “The making of the creeds.” Theology Today 50, no. 3: 480.
1 Lewis, John Underwood. 1993. “The making of the creeds.” Theology Today 50, no. 3: 480.