On The Same Path

“The whole argument about tradition in this book has been predicated on the sober recognition that it is actually quite easy to go wrong in theology, and that we need the insights of precisely those within the Church with whom we disagree if we are to learn and progress. . . . The creeds essentially codify the patristic synthesis concerning the doctrine of God. The occasion for the promulgation of creeds were generally Christological and Trinitarian heresies, which made claims about who God is that were judged unacceptable. Now, in seeking to discern who, however wrong we may think them, still should be regarded as a Christian brother or sister, and who has left the faith some way behind, it seems to me that the doctrine of God is crucial. Two people who both alike confess one God in three Persons, and the hypostatic union of divine and human in Jesus Christ, are seeking to serve the same God as each other; someone who denies one of these crucial points is, from a Christian point of view, running after idols of their own construction. Given this, however wrong I may think someone who confesses these points is on other matters of faith and morals, they are on the same path as I am on, also imperfectly; the difference between us can only ever be in degree. Someone who confesses a different God, by contrast, is doing something different to what I am seeking to do” (Stephen R. Holmes, Listening to the Past: The Place of Tradition in Theology, 162-163).