Guarding the preaching and the faith: kerygma and the rule of the truth from Paul to the Nicene creed
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] The Rules of Truth found in the works of Irenaeus (c. 180-200 CE) and Tertullian (c. 203-210 CE) and the doctrine contained in the Nicene Creed (325 CE) are remarkably similar though the Rule and the Creed were composed over 100 years apart and in different locations throughout the Roman Empire. The Rule and the Creed each emphasize that there is one creator God, that Jesus is the son of God who was born of a virgin, that the events of Jesus' life as well as his death, resurrection, and future re-appearance to judge humanity took place, and that the Holy Spirit exists. These commonalities are too significant to dismiss as merely coincidence. Instead, they can be explained by the kerygma, which, despite the diversity of early Christianity, was a unifying presence over time and geography. In order to demonstrate the influence of the kerygma, I will trace its presence through Paul, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Tertullian, and the Nicene Creed. Furthermore, it is the inherent flexibility of the kerygma allowed early Christians to emphasize certain parts of it in order to most effectively combat the various threats to the Church at the time each Rule or Creed was composed. As time went by and the needs of the church changed, the kerygma was captured in increasingly prescriptive, unchanging forms. As such, the Rules of Irenaeus and Tertullian are more rigid than the formulaic doctrinal statements found in Paul and Justin, while the Nicene Creed represents the most rigid, formal, and universal adaptation of the kerygma the Church had yet produced.
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