I acknowledge that Aotearoa New Zealand is currently in Lockdown Level 4 (since last Tuesday midnight, until at least this coming Tuesday midnight). There might be more important/relevant things to say than what I say below. However that might take a day or two more to reveal exactly what they are, apart from, of course, and in uniform with all authorities and sensible people, encouraging compliance with government instructions, booking for vaccinations (my first is this Tuesday), and getting tested if there is reason to do so.
Recently on Facebook an Auckland colleague, Ivica Gregurec, posed a question about Anglican support for removing or retaining the filioque clause in the Nicene Creed. I had a brief exchange with him there and then, but this post, although prompted by his, is my responsibility and any comments you make in response should be to my words - engage with Ivica's words where he posted! So:
Back in the day, the original Nicene Creed of the undivided church held that the Holy Spirit proceeded from the Father (fullstop). A bit later, the Third Council of Toledo in 589 added "and from the Son" (i.e. the filioque) to the Nicene Creed but it never took on in the East. When East and West split in 1054 one of the issues was the filioque and to this day the difference remains (except where, in some places in the West, the filioque has been dropped (including, so I understand, by individual congregations).
The Book of Common Prayer remained thoroughly Western on this matter, as does our A New Zealand Prayer Book (1989, 2020) - in keeping, as far as I know with nearly all, if not all other Anglican provinces of the Anglican Communion. For what it is worth, I think the filioque is theologically justified and have no particular motivation to omit it from the Nicene Creed.
Nevertheless there are a few questions to explore here, not least on the blog of someone otherwise inclined to promote church unity.
1. Who among Anglican individuals, parishes, dioceses or provinces tacitly or formally approves (and practises) omission of the filioque?
2. Is dropping the filioque something Anglicans should do in order to be unified with Eastern Orthodox?
3. If we did so drop the clause, would we fall out of that ecumenical favour we currently have with Rome?
4. (2 and 3 perhaps coule be combined to) Should Anglicans only drop the filioque if the Roman Catholic church does so, as part of a combined Western drive toward reunification with the East? (Ditto ... Lutherans ... Reformed ... etc).
5. (The wording of this questioned is biased towards a concern I have!!): Should Anglican provinces only drop the filioque when all provinces are agreed to do so, that is, drop the filioque only when the Communion as a whole does so?
6. (Making a different point) Why should the Western Christendom "we" drop the filioque? Isn't the filioque true and we should ask the Eastern Orthodox to join us in saying it as their contribution to unity?
7. Whether or not the Westerners added to the original creed and whether or not the Easterners are ecumenically cheesed off with the West, isn't the trump card against the filioque that it is a novelty added to the pristine, primitive Nicene Creed?