Know what you believe | The Nicene Creed | with Phillip Cary | Episode 235 (part 1)

Sep 05, 2023

How well can you articulate your Christian belief system? How can you spot false theology? Who are trusted resources to interpret Scripture? The Nicene Creed is a fundamental element to understand and experience our faith and live out a high Christology. So, today Stephanie welcomes university professor and author Phillip Cary to discuss the significance of the Nicene Creed in Christian tradition. Phillip recently released a new book, The Nicene Creed: An introduction, which is one of Stephanie’s favorite reads this year- and this is saying a lot!

Listen to the first half of the conversation, Episode 235: 
And the second half, Episode 237: 

You can also watch Stephanie and Phillip on our YouTube channel: 

Over the course of two episodes (235 and 237), Phillip and Stephanie touch on the Nicene Creed’s widespread usage among different denominations, how it serves as a boundary and center for the faith, how it was written to combat heresy about who Jesus is, and how it has served as a unifying factor for different Christian traditions. They dive into what a creed is, with the Nicene Creed being the most widely used and recited by about a billion Christians every Sunday during liturgies. They explore the Creed's significance, how it establishes boundaries and centers our faith, and how it powerfully anchors our belief in Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The conversation also delves into the infinite depth of the Christian faith, as well as more topics such as the significance of Mary's role in the birth of Jesus, the role of Pontius Pilate, who are both mentioned in the Creed, and the topic of who teaches the truth about Jesus Christ and how the Creed is the litmus test of sound Christian doctrine. This episode will anchor your faith in a proper high Christology in simple terms and offers important insights into the significance of the Nicene Creed for Christians of all traditions. If you're interested in the history and importance of Christian creeds, this episode is definitely worth a listen!


Understand and celebrate what we believe! For centuries, the Nicene Creed has been central to the church’s confession. The Nicene Creed: An Introduction by Phillip Cary explores the Creed’s riches with simplicity and clarity. Cary explains the history of the Creed and walks through its meaning line by line. Far from being abstract or irrelevant, the words of the Creed carefully express what God has done in Christ and through the Spirit. The Nicene Creed gives us the gospel. It gives biblical Christians the words for what we already believe. And when we profess the Creed, we join the global church throughout history in declaring the name and work of the one God—Father, Son, and Spirit. Gain a fresh appreciation for the ancient confession with Phillip Cary’s help.

Buy the book (Stephanie could not recommend it strongly enough!) here: 


Phillip Cary is a prolific writer of courses and books, professor of philosophy at Eastern University near Philadelphia. He is also the editor of Pro Ecclesia, a theology journal for Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox churches. Phillip has a doctorate in philosophy from Yale University, where he studied St. Augustine, one of the great church fathers. His favorite theologian is Martin Luther, and he writes about Luther's ideas. Phillip loves The Nicene Creed because it summarizes what Luther means by gospel - the story of who Jesus Christ is and what God has done in Christ for us and our salvation. He has been working on a book about this topic for a long time, so we gladly celebrate The Nicene Creed: An Introduction today.


1. How important is the Nicene Creed to your faith and why?

2. What is your experience with different types of Christian churches and how has it influenced your faith?

3. How do you think the Nicene Creed serves as a unifying factor among different Christian traditions?

4. Do you believe the Church is currently experiencing confusion and division, and if so, why?

5. How do you think studying the Nicene Creed can broaden one's understanding of the faith?

6. What is your interpretation of Mary's role in the birth of Jesus and the significance of her words "Be it unto me according to Your Word"?

8. What does the concept of translation mean to you in the context of Christianity?

9. How do you understand the meaning of the term "Catholic" in the Nicene Creed?

10. Why do you think the Nicene Creed was necessary for maintaining the faith in Christ and avoiding theological error?


1. What is the Nicene Creed?

- The Nicene Creed is a confession of faith that comes from the Latin word credo, meaning "I believe." It is a widely used creed in the Christian tradition and is recited by about a billion Christians every Sunday during liturgies.

2. How has attending different types of churches influenced Stephanie’s approach to Scripture?

- Attending different types of churches has broadened Stephanie’s understanding of Scripture, as she has been exposed to different interpretations and perspectives.

3. What is the significance of the Nicene Creed for different Christian denominations?

- The Nicene Creed serves as a common source of unity for different Christian denominations, as it represents the DNA of those churches.

4. How does the Nicene Creed serve as a boundary and center for the faith?

- The Nicene Creed sets beliefs such as the full deity of Jesus and serves as a boundary and center for the faith by ensuring that those who recite it have a shared understanding of core beliefs.

5. What is the book discussed in this episode and what is its content?

- The book discussed in this episode is about the Christian faith and its creed. It explores the Nicene Creed and its significance in the Christian tradition.

6. What are the key beliefs outlined in the Nicene Creed?

- The Nicene Creed outlines the belief in one God, the Father, and in Jesus Christ as the only begotten Son of God who was crucified for our salvation and rose again on the third day. It also includes the belief in the Holy Spirit, one baptism for the forgiveness of sins, and the resurrection of the dead.

7. What does "Catholic" mean in the context of the Nicene Creed?

- In the context of the Nicene Creed, "Catholic" means universal, not just Roman Catholic.

8. What is the essence of High Christology?

- The essence of High Christology is the focus on who Jesus is.

9. What is the history behind the Nicene Creed and why was it written?

- The Nicene Creed was written to combat heresy about who Jesus is, specifically the belief held by Arius that the Son was created by God the Father and therefore not equal to him.

10. How does the Nicene Creed celebrate God's giving of Himself to us through Christ?

- The double focus on the double nature of Jesus in the Nicene Creed allows us to understand how God gives Himself to us in the flesh of Christ for our salvation, making the confession of the Creed a celebration of this understanding.

Catch up with Stephanie's latest episodes on the Gospel Spice podcast!

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