What happened at the Council of Chalcedon?
The Council of Chalcedon was the fourth ecumenical council. In 451 AD, leaders from all of Christendom gathered to define the incarnation of Christ once and for all.
Within the lifetime of the apostles, some Christians were already having a hard time reconciling Jesus’ divinity with his humanity (2 John 1:7). Was he only partially divine, or only partially human? Was Jesus even human at all?
The implications of these questions were huge: the answers could affect whether Jesus had the power to forgive sins and offer eternal life. Without a real human body, could he really die? If he didn’t die, the wages of sin remained unpaid (Romans 6:23) and their faith was in vain (1 Corinthians 15:17).
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What Is the Apostles’ Creed?
The Apostles’ creed is the oldest statement of faith in the Christian church, written sometime in the second century AD. The creed defines core Christian beliefs about God, Jesus, the church, salvation, and other theological topics.
By the fourth century, it was widely believed that each of the twelve apostles contributed one article to the creed under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The Catholic Church still traditionally attributes each article of the creed to a specific apostle.
In this video, Michael Bird, instructor of the online course on the Apostles Creed from Zondervan, explains:
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Christianity Did Not Begin When We Were Born — An Excerpt from “Know the Creeds and Councils”
Obviously, Christianity did not begin when we were born…Today’s Christianity is directly affected by what earlier Christians chose to do and to believe. (9)
This is the central claim to Justin Holcomb’s new book Know the Creeds and Councils. And it's a good one.
He is right about the faith we profess and practice: "we are the recipients of a long line of Christians’ insights, mistakes, and ways of speaking about God and the Christian faith.”
Yet, as reading today’s excerpt will show you, rather than dismissing those “insights” and “ways” as archaic pablum, Holcomb helps interested Christians transform their view of creeds, confessions, catechisms, and councils into springboards of worship to a truly gracious God.
After reading this excerpt share it with your people, so that they can appreciate the historic bedrock of our faith and respond in worship.
What’s the Difference Between Creeds, Confessions, Catechisms, and Councils?
"Today's Christianity is directly affected by what earlier Christians chose to do and to believe." (9)
That's the central claim and driving force behind a new book by professor and Episcopal priest Justin Holcomb. The book is Know the Creeds and Councils, which provides an accessible overview of the historical development of Christian thought.
In a culture obsessed with the latest and greatest, Holcomb’s handy guide will help the modern Church rediscover the historic Christian faith. And he begins by helping us rediscover and differentiate four important terms: creeds, confessions, catechisms, and councils—while explaining why they’re so important.
1) Creeds: Basic Beliefs
The creeds “set forth the basic beliefs of the church that have been handed…
Introducing the KNOW Series: Hospitable Guides to the Historic Christian Faith
Recently I assembled a new stroller for our soon-to-be-delivered baby. For the life of me I couldn’t figure out how to put the darn thing together! Until I read the instructions.
Same thing for linking my iPhone to our new car: a hair pulling experience to be sure. Until I read the manual.
Sometimes Christianity can be like this.
While we can draw on our years of study, even then sometimes we’re left where our people are: Scratching our heads at not only the what of the Christian faith, but the how and why.
The Holy Trinity is one of those “what’s.” What exactly is the Trinity and how would you explain it? How did the Church come to describe God in this way? And why were other ways rejected?
Same for how God became Jesus, as a new book explores. How is it Jesus is both God and man? How did we recognize and ratify this other-worldly event?
Enter a new set of engaging, to-the-point guides to the historic Christian faith. In the new KNOW Series, pastor-theologian Justin Holcomb will assist you and your people in more deeply understanding the foundations of the faith, beginning with Know the Creeds and Councils and Know the Heretics.
Here are three reasons why the Church needs KNOW, who these guides are for, and how they will benefit us in the same way those instructions and that manual benefited me.