Men Enthusiastic About Theologymeat

The Descent Clause

We’ll gather at Tom Lang’s house on Thursday, February 26th at 8pm. This time, we’re looking at that enigmatic line in the Apostle’s Creed: “He descended into hell”.  This has been interpreted in at least 6 ways throughout the ages.  And since the 15th century, some have argued for its removal altogether from the creed.  What does the clause mean?  Is it biblical?  To help you prepare for the discussion, here are a few resources you might familiarize yourself with.

Contemporary Critics

The Supreme Court has ruled that limited distribution for the purposes of education is legal, but to avoid real copyright infringement, I would ask that you not distribute the following 3 articles.  You should already have received a password to access them.

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An excellent, albeit distinctively Dutch defense, may be found in Daniel R. Hyde, In Defense of the Descent.  Reformed Heritage (2010), which is available for purchase here.

Creeds and Confessions

The Apostle’s Creed:

I believe in God the Father Almighty Maker of heaven and earth. And in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord; Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, Born of the Virgin Mary, Suffered under Pontius Pilate, Was crucified, dead, and buried; He descended into Hell [lit., Hades]; The third day he rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. I believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy catholic Church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. Amen.

The Athanasian Creed (38): Available here

The Heidelberg Catechism: Q&A 22-23, 44:  Available here

The Westminster Confession of Faith, 8.4: Available here

The Westminster Larger Catechism, Q&A 50: Available here

The Westminster Shorter Catechism, Q&A 27: Available here

A few of the passages of Scripture you should be familiar with

Psalm 16:8-10
Matthew 12:40
Luke 16:19-31
Luke 23:43
John 19:30
Acts 2:27, 31
Rom 10:7
2 Corinthians 5:8
Ephesians 4:7-10
1 Peter 3:18-19

I’m looking forward to our discussion.

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