RS 150 Final Exam,
John Leith introduces Creeds of
the Churches with a brief essay, "The Creeds and their
Role in the Church." There he brings up many of the functions
of creeds we've encountered this semester. Your final exam is
to follow in his steps and test his conclusions.
Choose two confessions from Leith. These cannot be confessions
you have treated in your in-class presentations or your research
paper. Analyze each confession in terms of any
three of the following:
- Its historical influences
(2-3). How does your confession reflect its historical setting?
- Its roots in and relationship with
a concrete community in the past and/or present (4-5).
What is its implied community? How might that community have
changed over time? How much (or little) respect does your confession
enjoy in its community?
- Its liturgical function (5-7).
How does (or doesn't) the confession function in Christian worship
(in services, or accompanying sacraments), or serve Christian
worship in general (say, as a guide for preachers)? You may find
consulting a liturgical text (like the Catholic Missal, Anglican
Book of Common Prayer, or Presbyterian Book of Common Worship)
to help you answer this question where some creeds are concerned.
- Its catechetical function
(7). How is the creed used to form disciples and "new members"?
- Its "hermeneutics" or
principles of biblical interpretation (8-9). How does
your creed offer a scheme for interpreting Scripture, not merely
in preaching, but in all its community's biblical practices?
What is that scheme?
- The influences of heresies
(9). How is your community reacting to particular visions of
Christianity it finds inauthentic? How are those visions indirectly
shaping its own Christianity?
- Its witnessing or prophetic function
(9). How might your creed be "a marching song" or "battle
cry" to a corrupt Church? What battles is it fighting?
- Its function as an authority
for the community (10-11). How does your creed exercise or
reflect authority within its community? How does that authority
derive from, compete with, conflict with the authority of Scripture
in that community? What is its authority outside your community,
if any? In what ways is it open to future revision by the community's
more ultimate authorities?
Finally, after analyzing both confessions,
I'd like you to assess the completeness of Leith's introduction.
Are there important functions or aspects of creeds you've learned
about which Leith should mention in the next edition of
Pay close attention to the actual
text of your confessions, and draw on the in-class presentations,
Young, Olson, or other secondary sources as you find them helpful.
Cite all secondary sources, including the work of your fellow
You may work together in your research,
but the actual writing must be your own. You may turn in your
exam while I am proctoring exams in Clark A from noon until 2
p.m. on Wednesday, May 3 and Thursday, May 4. Or you may turn
in your exam in the RS office, in the paper holder outside my
office, or under its door, any time before I leave at 2
p.m. on May 4.