The Nicene Creed is Calvinistic
At the heart of Calvinist and Reformed theology is an assertion that God is responsible for and sovereign over everything. That would include our creation, election, justification, sanctification, resurrection and life everlasting.
If we can accept that premise, then let's also admit that other theological systems allow for powers apart from the sovereignty of God; things which God cannot or will not control. Such powers would include the will of man, the operations of science, the communication between this world and worlds beyond the grave, and the 'laws' of nature and of probability.
So let's look at what the Nicene Creed teaches:
God is described as "maker... of all things visible and invisible" That is to say, He has created not only the "seen and unseen" (as it falsely declares in some versions of the Nicene Creed) but also that which we cannot ever see.
The plan of salvation in Jesus Christ is established "... before all worlds..." He is not merely at the beginning of time, but His existence is actually before the beginning. Notably, the Nicene should not be rendered to say that Jesus Christ is "eternally begotten". This would render Him subject in part to the constraints of time. We are taught in the real Nicene Creed that the purpose of salvation was established by God before time itself existed, that events in time have no bearing on God's plan of salvation.
The Nicene's salvation storyline is very simple: He died... He rose... He sitteth (on the throne)... He shall come again. There is no intervening dependency upon the will of man, the intervention of saints (or of Mary), or operations of nature that are independent of God's sovereignty. God is plainly and simply the author of salvation.
God is the maker of "the Life of the world to come." We are not the makers of heaven. Its design God's alone, and should we be privileged to be with him in heaven, it will not be because we deserved it.
This completes the picture that the Nicene Creed paints for us. God is the maker of that which was before our world, of that which is our world, and of that which comes after our world. He is the alpha and omega, and apart from Him nothing is... and nothing happens.
Because Anglicanism purports to agree with the NIcene Creed, authentic Anglican theology must therefore be understood to agree with it and to support the principles on which it is founded. In the following five points, the reader will see that the principles drawn from the Nicene Creed are also to be found in Calvinism and in the theology of the 39 Articles, namely that:
Man's situation is such that he is in no position to save himself. Calvinists call this man's "total depravity."
God established His plan of salvation apart from the influence of His creation, that it was complete before time began. The plan of salvation is not conditioned upon things beyond His control. At the end of time the world is precisely as he elected. Calvinists call this "unconditional election."
The resurrection whether to heaven or to eternal damnation, is precisely as He wished it to be before time began. The targets of atonement are all His choosing. They do not choose themselves. He established a separation between the saved and the lost and does not allow His mind to be changed by attitudes or deeds or events of which He himself is not the author. Calvinists call this "limited atonement."
The completion of God's plan of salvation is a sure thing. The Grace of God is irresistible, and His Power is unlimited. Calvinists call this "irresistible grace."
God will let none perish from his hand, nor save more than He chose to save. His plan and sovereign Will were complete from "before all worlds" such that the "life of the world to come" which we anticipate is what He made for us before we even knew him. Calvinists call this "perseverance of the saints."
The Nicene Creed preceded the Reformation by 1200 years. It preceded Augustine, who is often claimed to be the precursor of the Reformation, by 200 years. As much like Calvinism as the Nicene Creed seems to be, it is the theology of the early church and of the Apostles.
What is astounding is that modern Anglicanism, or what I call "Neo-Anglicanism", ridicules the reformed (Calvinistic) formula (the five points), stands back from the reformed Anglican confession (39 Articles), and re-establishes many of the heresies condemned by the Council of Nicaea.
Authentic Anglican theology can be found only by returning to the 39 Articles, the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, and the authentic Creeds. Modern Anglo-Catholics, Anglican Evangelicals and Anglican Charismatics all take exception in one way or another to the principles of the English Reformation. They are all "Neo-Anglicans."
Now me again: I am not sure we need to return to the 1662 prayer book but I do think this has a lot to say about our preaching and teaching. If you want to learn more about this, stay tuned, for we are about to launch into the Truth Project that will unpack all of this and help us to see what a Biblical world view really is.