Protestants: Is the First Council of Nicaea inspired or not?

I have a protestant “friend” (some of you may recall him from my other posts); he was busy attacking Catholics, and when I asked him a question, he quoted the Nicene Creed.

I thought that him quoting a Catholic creed was total BS, because he is completely anti-catholic. (hes one of the people who think we “corrupted” the faith in less than a century).

I asked him how he could think the Nicaea Council was creditable, when he denies how the council recognized the supremacy of the pope.

His response was that it was “inspired for that one [decision], and then it wasn’t anymore.”

Could someone please explain this to me? I’m really confused.
Thanks! God Bless!

Lutherans generally have no problem with the ecumenical councils up until the Council of Trent, after which it becomes iffy. But I don’t think most ‘protestants’ would sit and ponder which councils were inspired and which ones weren’t.

For Lutherans at least, Nicaea is central to our faith (Nicene creed is critical.) However, subsequent councils that addressed things like the semper virgo really don’t concern us, so it never really gets discussed.

The section of the Nicene Creed that talks about the Holy Spirit was added by the SECOND Council.

Yes, to put down a heresy. I didn’t think about that, thanks!

How does the council recognize papal supremacy? Canon 6 seems to give the Bishop of Alexandria equal footing in his jurisdiction to that of the Bishop of Rome in the west?


It doesn’t. No council did pre-schism. I can’t remember if it was Nicaea or Constantinople where Cyprus was granted autocephaly (which it still holds to this day!). This certainly discredits any notion of papal supremacy, smack dab in the early centuries of the Church; much before the idea of papal supremacy became a problem.

In Christ,

Protestants frequently agree that the Catholic Church is and has been right about a variety of things. Without exception, though, we also believe that when John wrote Revelation, that was the last time the Holy Spirit ever inspired anyone in a way that constituted divine revelation that was subsequently written down and preserved.

(hes one of the people who think we “corrupted” the faith in less than a century).

Which century? And does “we” refer to Rome? If so, that would have to be the fourth century or later.

I asked him how he could think the Nicaea Council was creditable, when he denies how the council recognized the supremacy of the pope.

He treats the council like you would treat any regular person. Take your friend, for example. If he tells you the Earth is a sphere (but not a perfect sphere), gives you an accurate depiction of the hypostatic union, and tells you Barack Obama was actually born in Nairobi, Kenya, you will agree with the first two items and disagree with the last one. If he starts jumping up and down saying, “How can you agree with me some of the time and not all the time; it just doesn’t make SENSE!!!”, you would conclude that there is something wrong with him.

Likewise, I conclude that there is something very similar wrong with your way of thinking about this.

You see, people are right about some things and wrong about others. Councils are the same way. If they get something right, you say “That’s right.” If they get something wrong, you say “That’s wrong.” It doesn’t matter who’s saying it. It has nothing to do with “the man,” aka an ad hominem argument where the validity of the premise is linked to a characteristic or belief of the person holding the premise.

Didn’t you think your friend was doing something wrong when he previously seemed to make ad hominem attacks on the CC and disagreed with all things Catholic simply because they were Catholic? Let’s review: That’s wrong, correct? It’s something that he shouldn’t be doing, right? Well, why do you continue to complain when he stops doing that? Is it because you’re upset with him for failing to draw inverse ad hominem conclusions as you do?

His response was that it was “inspired for that one [decision], and then it wasn’t anymore.”

I think your friend’s wrong. Or maybe he’s just doing a poor job of expressing himself. I’m not sure which. I’m leaning toward “wrong.”

That’s absolutely the facts. It does discredit any notion of papal supremacy.

Indeed. If the Bishop of Rome had supremacy over all churches in an infallible fashion, why grant the Bishop of Alexandria such authority over such a large area? Here’s the exact canon:

*Ta archaia ethe krateito ta en Aigupto kai Liboe kai Pentapolei, hoste ton Alexandreias episopon panton touton echein ten exousian, epeide kai to en te Rome episkopo touto sunethes estin. Homoios de kai kata Antiocheian kai en tais allais eparchias ta presbeia sozesthai tais ekklesiais *
**Let the ancient customs in Egypt, Libya and Pentapolis prevail, that the Bishop of Alexandria have jurisdiction in all these, since the like is customary for the Bishop of Rome also. Likewise in Antioch and the other provinces, let the Churches retain their privileges. **

No council of the Church, not local, or provincial, or general or ecumenical, is inspired. Their acts have various degrees of authority, depending

*]on the subject-matter (discipline, doctrine);
*]on the degree of authority engaged
*]on the canonical status of the council (local, provincial, general or ecumenical)
*]on the degree of authority the acts are intended to have
[/LIST]but though the acts of a council may be authentic acts of the Church, & for that reason authoritative, they are not inspired, unless in a very loose sense; but since using that word could lead to confusion, it’s much better to use the correct term, and say they are assisted. This assistence is a special application of the assistence enjoyed by the Church at all times - but it is not inspiration, because that was a charism in the Church which the authors of the Books of the Bible enjoyed. The Prophets were inspired, including those who wrote nothing; so were the NT prophets & the authors of the NT books. The Fathers were not; they are not foundations of the Church, unlike the Apostles & Prophets; and neither are the Fathers of the various Councils.

There are a lot of historical variables in the law and theology of the councils of the Church: Vatican II defined nothing, but it is of greater authority than the Second Council of Orange of 529, which is doctrinally very important, the definitions of which have ecumenical force, because they were in due course adopted as such by Rome; yet Orange II was a provincial and not an ecumenical council.

I hope that’s not too confusing :slight_smile:

So you’re interpreting this as, because the bishops of Alexandria and Antioch had jurisdiction over certain areas, there was therefore no Papal supremacy?

Also, i’m confused as to your statement of " If the Bishop of Rome had supremacy over all churches in an infallible fashion". Is this contrasting supremacy over all churches in a fallible fashion? Sorry, just confused by the correlation between supremacy and infallibility, which may not really be necessary in this context. :confused:

Says who? The Church of Gottle of Geer? :rolleyes:

In Christ,

The Catholic Dictionary of 1955, actually. I prefer to rely on authoritative sources - such as that, approved authors, authorised interpretations of the meaning of the Church’s acts, & so on and so forth. They have great advantages over us moderns.

Maybe you would like to say what you find worthy of criticism - if you don’t, how can I (or anyone else) do anything about it ?

So, let me get this straight, you’re saying that Ecumenical Councils are not inspired? :eek:

In Christ,

This is news to me as well :eek:

ahhh, but is that dictionary inspired? As to whether the first council of Nicaea was inspired,…Gottle and his dictionary got it right.

I HIGHLY doubt it. I cannot see any Catholic dictionary saying that Ecumenical Councils are not inspired. After all, the Roman Catholics have 21, whereas we Orthodox have 7. Everytime you turn around or sneeze, there’s another Ecumenical Council (I’m kidding about the frequency).

In Christ,

I don’t know whether I should respond, Thurif, as you already got banned and came back on here in a resurrection waiting to get banned again…LOL :shrug:

LOL i know, and it hasn’t happened yet since we talked about it! And I’m trying to be nice too, lol.

Hi Andrew.
It begs the question; if the Bishop of Rome already had universal jurisdiction, why was it even necessary for Nicaea to designate his jurisdiction?


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