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Know the Creeds and Councils

(KNOW Series)

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  339 ratings  ·  68 reviews
In every generation, the Christian church must interpret and restate its bedrock beliefs, answering the challenges and concerns of the day. This accessible overview walks readers through centuries of creeds, councils, catechisms, and confessions---not with a dry focus on dates and places, but with an emphasis on the living tradition of Christian belief and why it matters f ...more
Kindle Edition, 183 pages
Published April 29th 2014 by Zondervan
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Aug 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
This was a good starter book on knowing the major creeds and councils throughout the history of Christianity. I have to say, I was relieved when I read through this book and I didn't disagree with the key components of Christianity. I'm not a heretic! Well, I guess I still may be, but any doubts I may have had about my belief structure have been mostly put to rest. So score one for Sunday school.

This is a rather dense topic, but it was broken down into manageable chunks that didn't overwhelm. I
Neil Kruger
Oct 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent concise introduction to the significant creeds, councils and catechisms in church history. The book is meant to be informative and not polemical and is geared towards fair and charitable representations that serve that purpose.
I would definitely recommend Justin Holcomb's Know the Creeds and Councils. This isn't the first book I've read on the subject of church history, though I wish it had been! The book I read was thick, scholarly, and in my opinion, poorly organized. This one, on the other hand, was reader-friendly, well-organized, and written primarily to be UNDERSTOOD. In the introduction, he defines the four key terms used throughout the book: creeds, confessions, catechisms, and councils. He shares his purpose ...more
Ian Clary
Excellent, easy to read, clear introduction to creeds, confessions and councils from the early church to the 20th century. Highly recommended.
Kevin Halloran
Jul 20, 2019 added it
Shelves: 2019
A helpful, introductory level book on creeds and councils.
Doug Hibbard
Jun 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Quick, tell me what Trent, Nicaea, Heidelberg, and Westminster have in common. Do you know?

If you are a Christian, it would be good for you to know. These are someLinks to Zondervan Page, but it's cheaper elsewhere! of the cities where groups of Christians have gathered to express the Christian Faith. While each of these, and others in Know the Creeds and Councils, were not perfect in their formulations, these Councils helped us know what Christianity is.

It is quite certain that, as a Believer,
Aug 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is an accessible, short volume of historical theology that exams and compares the major Protestant Confessions, the ancient Christian Creeds and major church councils. The laymen who is interested in how and why the church has developed and used historic creeds and councils will find this to be an easy to understand work that should be of useful reference for years to come.

Justin Holcomb, an Episcopal priest, and professor at Reformed Theological Seminary, has taken a difficult task - takin
Sep 02, 2014 rated it liked it
This book is a great book and a good complement to Know the Heretics, though I found one flaw that bothered me. This book moves more beyond the early church, not just covering the early creeds but moving into councils from the Reformation era and even a few in the 20th century. Thus it is more broad, covering Catholic councils (Trent in the 1500s, Vatican II in the 1900s) and Reformed confessions (Westminster, Heidelberg Catechism). It is the absences in this broadness that makes me pause though ...more
Adam Shields
Nov 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Short review: This and its companion (Know the Heretics) are a good introduction to early theology of the church and how that theology developed. The early creeds in particular are important to the church because they are almost universally affirmed, but many are less sure about what they are affirming. This is a good book to help the reader (or an adult study group) understand how the creeds were developed and what they contain and then how the later councils have continued to impact our curren ...more
Todd Miles
Sep 28, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nice concise summaries of the great creeds and ecumenical councils. For each creed or council, Justin Holcomb provides sections on historical background, content, and relevance. There are even discussion questions. Helpfully, Holcomb writes with evangelical sensibilities, so his sections on relevance are encouraging and challenging for those of us who share the same. I recommend it - great resource.
Andrew Bankson
Jan 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
A short, sweet, and brief introduction to the major creeds and councils throughout Christian history. Holcomb writes in a readable, almost conversational, yet well-informed style. Though writing as a Protestant minister, Holcomb does a good job of telling the history of the church Catholic in a relatively unbiased manner.
Oct 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Before reading this book I knew very little about the topic. This short book gave an excellent overview by examining the key historical Christian creeds, confessions, catechisms, and councils throughout church history. Justin Holcomb first defines the terms and then in each chapter (where he's discussing one of those four from history) he gives the historical background, the content, the relevance, along with discussion questions and "for further reading" suggestions. This made the flow of the b ...more
Peter Witkowski
Jan 02, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Using only 192 small pages, Holcom accomplishes the herculean task of providing his readers with helpful introductions to more than thirteen creeds and doctrinal statements. Each of his chapters chronicles the historical background, the content, and the relevance of documents such as the Apostle’s creed, the Council of Trent, and the Chicago Statement on Inerrancy. At the end of each chapter, the author provides his readers with discussion questions and a list of books for further study, making ...more
Jeremy Gardiner
Mar 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent overview of the major Creeds and church councils.

The ones covered in this book include: Apostles Creed (140 A.D), Council of Nicea/Nicene Creed (325), Ephesus (431, 449, 475), Chalcedon (451), Athanasian Creed (Late 400s), Constantinople (381), Carthage and Orange (419/529), Trent (1545-63), Heidelberg Catechism (1563), Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion (1563), Westminster Confession (1646), Second Vatican Council (1962-65), Lausanne Covenant (1974) and the Chicago Statement on Biblical
Stephen G.
Nov 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Mama always said, "Eat your broccoli!" Reading this book is like eating your theological broccoli. Perhaps I'm not as scholarly or as spiritually mature as most pastors as I don't get excited about creeds and councils. I can't say I was longing for the opportunity to read this book. Yet Holcomb clearly and concisely lays out the important creeds and councils of church history, and he manages to do it in a way that is enjoyable.

What I most appreciated about Holcomb's book is his charitable tone.
Jun 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Good study of the major councils, creeds, and confessions of the church. Holcomb covers: The Apostles' Creed, Council of Nicaea and the Nicene Creed, Councils of Ephesus, Council of Chalcedon, Athanasian Creed, Councils of Constantinople, Councils of Carthage and Orange, Council of Trent, Heidelberg Catechism, Thirty-nine Articles of Religion, Westminster Confession of Faith, Second Vatican Council, Lausanne Covenant, and the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy.

Holcomb looks at the historica
Rick Perez
Dec 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
For the layman and those not familiar with Church History these are great instructional reviews! The KNOW series also includes separate booklet reviews on KNOW The Heretics of the Early Church, KNOW How We Got Our Bible and KNOW Why You Believe. All these are booklets are great overviews, easy to read and understand are well worth the time. You can read each booklet in couple of hours. I'm using them to supplement other studies. ...more
Luke Gorsett
Nov 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Outstanding primer

This book really put in perspective the importance of the councils, creeds catechisms and confessions formulated right around significant moments in church history. I was particularly helped by a more robust understanding of the 39 articles and its uses. I was greatly helped by the context surrounding the different confessions around the reformation and what the aims and goals driving their production. Easy read. Much benefit
Christina C
Aug 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
A good introduction book. Each chapter outlines a different Creed or council and discusses the historical movement around each event and then discusses the relevance to today's reader. Each chapter ends with discussion questions and references for further reading.
This book is not "academic" so it is not for someone who is looking for all the historical details. However it is a good primer on the topic.
Aaron Ventura
Jul 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book by Justin Holcomb and found it to be a well-rounded and refreshing introduction to the relevant history surrounding some of the major creeds, confessions and catechisms. There are good discussion questions at the end of each chapter making it perfect for a small group book study. Recommend!
Sep 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Readable, clear descriptions of all the major ecumenical church councils and most of the major creeds, confessions and catechisms. Explains in an easy to follow manner the history, motive and results of each, and their enduring relevance for believers today. Highly recommended to help modern believers avoid the ever present threat of ‘chronological snobbery’ (as C. S. Lewis calls it).
Michael Boling
Aug 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Understanding the history of the church is an important element of the faith. Digging into the past, while for many is often viewed in a negative light as being dull and boring especially when it comes to reading about church councils and creeds, is nonetheless vital. Its importance resides in the need to have a firm grasp on what it is we believe, how such beliefs were developed throughout church history, the issues that were being dealt with by the various church councils and the subsequent es ...more
Chad Duke
Apr 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book is really clear and basic for people wanting to know more about the Church. I think he did a great job in giving the relevance of each section and some questions to help us think about certain things.
Christopher Davis
Apr 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent overview.

This is certainly an excellent overview of the historic creeds of the church. Objective and useful regardless of denominational affiliation. A great start I g point for church history. Well done Justin Holcomb!!!
Phillip Howell
Apr 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This Is A Great Introduction

Who doesn’t appreciate a concisely written book? This book is a great introduction and overview of Christian church history. I recommend this for pastors, students and any Christian with a desire to learn about the history of the church’s beliefs.
Josiah Richardson
Sep 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
A short and concise summary of the most important Creeds and Councils throughout the Church history. The basic affirmations/denials are listed as well as an explanation of the purpose and goal of each one. Quick as a rollercoaster, but it won't make you nauseous when you're finished. ...more
May 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
Very helpful book! All modern-day Christians should learn these things. We are standing on the shoulders of giants, and don't even know it. Knowledge of church history, as expressed through the creeds and councils would stop a lot of craziness of the modern evangelical church. ...more
Emma Grace
Feb 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Succinct and manageable chunks unpack some of the major creeds, councils, and catechisms. Recommend to new believers or other people curious about beginning to dive deeper in their knowledge of church history, especially if it seems overwhelming
David Haines
Dec 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
A great little introduction to the creeds and councils, throughout the history of the church. A great primer for the subject.
Greg Bailey
Apr 18, 2018 rated it liked it
A brief but useful introduction to the major creedal documents and church councils of history.
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Justin Holcomb is an Episcopal priest and a professor of theology and Christian thought at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Reformed Theological Seminary. He previously taught at the University of Virginia and Emory University. Justin holds an M.A. in Theological Studies and an M.A. in Christian Thought from Reformed Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. from Emory University. He serves on the b ...more

Other books in the series

KNOW Series (4 books)
  • Know the Heretics (KNOW Series)
  • Know Why You Believe
  • Know How We Got Our Bible (KNOW Series)

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