One of the more encouraging recent trends has been the increase in books looking at a variety of councils and creeds. While most of these recent books look at the Reformed confessions and that is important, those aren’t the only confessions that are important for Christians to understand. In his new book Know The Creeds And Councils Justin Holcomb seeks to provide an accessible and relevant overview of Christianity’s most significant statements of faith.
Every generation requires Christians and the Church to interpret and restate its bedrock beliefs, answering objections and concerns of the day. In this book, Dr. Holcomb walks readers through centuries of creeds, councils, catechisms, and confessions with a focus on dates and places with an emphasis on the living tradition of Christian belief and why it matters for our lives today. The book opens with looking at the Apostles’ Creed then the Council of Nicaea and the Nicene Creeds, the Councils of Ephesus and Chalcedon. In chapter five the author explores the Athanasian Creed and in chapters six through eight the councils of Constantinople, Carthage, orange and Trent. Chapter nine examines the Heidelberg catechism, chapter nine the thirty-nine articles of religion and chapter eleven the Westminster Confession of Faith. Chapter twelve looks at the second Vatican council. The book concludes with a look at modern confessions such as the Lausanne Covenant and the Chicago statement of faith.
The strengths of Know the Creeds and Councils are its accessible and its relevance. Many Christians today think that the latest and greatest book is the most important thing ever written. While that view is prevalent in the Church today it is not completely true. Christians have been seeking to engage in theology since the early second century up to the present day. This means that Christians have a rich tradition of sound theology that has sought to engage the Word of God in thoughtful and God-honoring ways. The creeds, confessions and Councils that Dr. Holcomb looks at in this book are important for Christians to understand. The one weakness which Dr. Holcomb concedes in his book is that his book doesn’t explore everything about the creeds and councils. To alleviate this concern, he provides his recommendations for further study.
Know The Creeds and Councils is a very good book that will serve as a primer for those who don’t know much about the creeds. This book would also be used well in the classroom or for small groups and Sunday school classes wanting to go deeper into the Christian faith. I highly recommend Know the Creeds and Councils, it is a book that will help Christians at every stage of their Christian life to understand that the Christian life is not about the latest and greatest fad, but grounded in the old and rich heritage of the past that informs our present understanding of God’s Word and theology.
Title: Know the Creeds and Councils
Author: Justin Holcomb
Publisher: Zondervan (2014)
I received this book for free from Zondervan for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”