Celtic CrossCeltic Christian:

Seven Distinctives

Compiled by Monk Preston (Co-Founder and President, The Prayer Foundation).


Image: The Prayer Foundation logo (with white Celtic cross on a green shield).

An Ancient Celtic Christian Mindset for Today


"Eisd ri gaoth nam beann gus an traoigh na h-uisgeachan." 

("Listen to the mountain wind, 'til the streams abate."  -Old Gaelic Saying)

Image: portion of illuminated manuscript page from "The Book of Kells."Image: of a Celtic shield.

Hope, Equality --                    Mystery, Environment --
Holism, Immanence, Simplicity.

The Celtic Christian viewpoint, or way of looking at the world, held by both ancient (5th -12th Centuries), and post-modern Celtic Christians, is not exclusive -- that is, one can have the distinct Celtic Christian mindset while remaining Baptist, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Mennonite, Anglican, Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, or a member of any other Christian Communion. _____________________

You may ask, but what exactly did the ancient Celtic Christians believe and teach doctrinally?  Exactly the same as any ancient, medieval, modern, or post-modern believing Christian: the orthodox Christian Faith as stated in the universally accepted Nicene Creed; the only Creed held in common by Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholics, and Protestants.

These same Nicene Faith beliefs are again clearly stated in the prayer, St. Patrick's Breastplate (also known as The Deer's Cry, or Lorica).

"...we make our own the profession of the faith that we carry in our heart...We have the catholic faith in the creed, known to the faithful and committed to memory, contained in a form of expression as concise as has been rendered admissible by the circumstances;" -St. Augustine of Hippo (Before 430 A.D.)

...that which has been believed everywhere, always, and by all. -Vincent of Lerins (450 A.D.)

"In essentials, unity.  In non-essentials, liberty.  In all things, love."

The Seven Celtic Christian Distinctives: __________________________________________________________

  1). Hope - Looks first for the good rather than the evil in all things.

  "And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good." -Genesis 1:31

"And now abides faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love." -I Corinthians 13:13  


  2). Equality - Of men and women, clergy and laity.

 "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for you are all one in Christ Jesus."                         -Galatians 3:28

  "You also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ."  -I Peter 2:5


  3). Mystery - The Infinite God cannot be fully comprehended or explained by finite man.

"Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen." -I Timothy 6:16

"Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God." -I Corinthians 4:1

"And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached to the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory."                      -I Timothy 3:16

"O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!  How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!  For who has known the mind of the Lord?  Or who has been his counselor?  ...For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever.  Amen." -Romans 11:34-36   __________________________________________________________

  4). Environment - Stewardship of God's Creation.

"Then the LORD God took the man and placed him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it." -Genesis 2:15

:"Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas." -Psalm 8:6-8

"Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful."               -I Corinthians 4:2  


  5). Holism - Awareness of the sacred in all times and places; refusal to compartmentalize life.

"And these words, which I command you this day, shall be in your heart: And you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up." -Deuteronomy 6:6-7

"For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's."          -Romans 14:8

"Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:" -Ephesians 1:9-10 __________________________________________________________

  6). Immanence - God is present with His Creation.

"For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be the glory for ever.  Amen." -Romans 11:36

"That they should seek the Lord...though he be not far from every one of us: For in him we live, and move, and have our being;" -Acts 17:27-28 __________________________________________________________

  7). Simplicity - Emphasis on the "main and plain" basic essential doctrines: "Mere Christianity", The Nicene Creed.

"But I fear, lest by any means...your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ." -II Corinthians 11:3

"For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:" -I Corinthians 15:3-4

"And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.  For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified." -I Corinthians 2:1-2  

A Memory Aid:

"HeMeHis": An acronym composed of the first initials of each of the words: Hope, Equality -- Mystery, Environment -- Holism, Immanence, Simplicity.

  Photo: of our actual Celtic Cross Shield (TM).  The Prayer Foundation Logo and Trademark.  Phot Copyright 2007 S.G.P.  All Rights Reserved. _____________________________________________________________________

Source: The list of the seven Celtic Christian "distinctives" is from the website of the Rivermont Avenue Baptist Church; Lynchburg, Virgina.  They have been re-phrased or re-written, and rearranged, with Scripture References and a Memory Aid section added by S. G. Preston (Monk Preston).  _____________________________________________________________________

Related Pages:

St. Patrick: Apostle of Ireland
  • Patrick
  • ____________________________________________________________

        Copyright 2008 S.G.P. All rights reserved. 




    What was once "traditional" is now strangely "innovative."

    Celtic Christianity (and Celtic Christian worship) is attracting a unique blend of young adults, who are drawn by its beauty and mysticism, and the elderly, who appreciate its contemplative peacefulness and quiet.  

    Church leaders refer to this as a gathering of the "pre-moderns and the postmoderns."   

    What was once "traditional" is now strangely "innovative."

    "How will the postmodern church worship?", asked Chad Hall of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, writing at coolchurches.com.

    "One thing we know about postmoderns is that they are extremely experiential.  

    That is, they learn, grow, develop and commit based on their own experience with truth, not according to someone else's encounter or someone else's retelling of an encounter." _______________