For hundreds of hundreds of years the Christian church has gathered together to write creeds and doctrines that outline the foundation of Orthodox thought. Falling outside of the realm of these beliefs or defining terms helps to clarify what makes you Christian or not. Justin S. Holcomb’s book “The Creeds and Councils” as part of the KNOW Series provides brief intimate overviews of the major Creeds (Confessions of Faith) and Councils (Church Leader Gatherings) from Christian church history.
I have had some intense but short lived love affairs with church history during my decade of adult life. It has always been a flirtatious relationship that I have never fully devoted myself to, and often feel guilty of infidelity reading mainly modern Christian authors while ignoring the plethora of pivotal writings from Christians that charted the course of Christian history. I feel that Holcomb has helped bridge the gap between the information and education I desire on the topic and the time and study required by me to attain such information. From the Apostle’s to the Nicene Creed and the Westminster Catechism to modern theological doctrines such as the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, KNOW: The Creeds and Councils is a wealth of information that has been a joy to read.
No, this book is not a complete treatment of the Creeds or Councils of church history, nor is it intended to be. Holcomb writes, “Know the Creeds and Councils is not an academic book or only for ‘educated lay readers.’ It is designed to be read by individuals or used in a group setting. My hope is that this book will complement more thorough treatments such as Jaroslav Pelikan’s Credo: Historical and Theological Guide to Creeds and Confessions of Faith in the Christian Tradition, which is a nearly seven-hundred page book filled with top-notch historical scholarship on the creeds and confessions.”
I appreciate the approach Holcomb has taken in giving the brief insight an average reader might need before diving into the deep oceans of theological histories the church has progressed through. Each chapter includes discussion questions that are excellent for a personal journal or for driving a small group discussion. There are also a plethora of recommended books throughout that would aid the reader in perceiving the historical accounts and contexts more clearly.
Give the KNOW Series a read. I haven’t been disappointed, and I don’t think you will.