baptist bumble wrote:
And how might I demonstrate that those "Catholic doctrines" are what those creeds were referring to? Other than just simply stating it.
Depends on whom you are talking to....some people just won't believe anything that suggests the Catholic Church might be right about something no matter how strong the evidence is....but if you are dealing with someone whom you believe to be open to evidence, direct them to the writings of the Fathers, particularly the ones who were contemporaries with the Council of Nicea.
Also, what was the purpose or function of the creeds in general? Obviously they were not to be setup as a rule, independently.
The purpose of the creed was to create unity within the Church....the Nicene Creed, more properly called the 'Nicene-Constantinoplean' creed...was the product of a couple of decades of evolution....but it was all a reaction agaisnt the Arian heresy....at its peak, the Arians outnumbered the orthodox Catholics by about 2-1 or maybe even 3-1 in some places....and it was always a very divisive issue.
In order to heal the division in the Church, the emperor Constantine convoked a council of all the Church's bishops to definitively 'settle' the Arian question....
Over the short term, the Council of Nicea was a failure...it failed to heal the Church and if anything it actually made everything worse. For this reason, a second council was convoked to try to 'settle' the queston a second time....this was the Council of Constantinople in 381.
The creed was basically a way for faithful Catholics to find a parish which was fully orthodox was to see if they accepted the creed....those parishes which accepted, and recited the creed were 'good' parishes, whereas those which did not recite the creed were 'bad' parishes....
Reciting the creed is basically a kind of 'loyalty oath' to the councils of Nicea (325) and Constantinople (381)...it is much like, during war time, a soldier might not be certain whether someone he meets is on his side, or is allied with the enemy. So they set up a 'code word' or somethign to be recited to verify allegiance.
Since no Arian could recite the Nicene-Constantinoplean creed in good conscience, the recitation of the creed was a useful 'code word' to determine if a parish was loyal to the councils.