Monday, June 2, 2014

Have you read your church's statement of faith? A book recommendation for you!

Know the Creeds and Councils (KNOW Series). By Justin S. Holcomb. Grand Rapids: Zondervan. pp. 183. 2014. (List Price $12.99 Paperback | $5.99 Kindle)

Christianity did not begin with our Christian experience. We know this intuitively, but apart from a few modern books, our pastors and small group leaders, and a few of the elderly people in church, most Christians don't look back at the lives and beliefs of Christians who came before them. Not many care to look at their local church's statement of faith unless it's up for an amendment at the annual business meeting, much less the creeds and confessions of believers who lived hundreds or almost thousands of years ago. C.S. Lewis, the author of Mere Christianity and The Screwtape Letters, saw this as a debilitating myopia. We must understand and learn from the past if we hope to understand our times, our beliefs, and set plans for our future.

This book from Justin Holcomb functions like a telescope to connect us who live in the here and now with the beliefs and teachings of Christians who came before us, as well as their impact on our churches today. This telescope will not bring into view the details of all the creeds and confessions. Such a work would be much thicker and much more intimidating to those who've never studied (or cared to study) Church history. But what it does is guide readers to see just beyond the horizon, to view things invisible to the naked eye, and to realize that the universe is bigger than we imagined.

Although I come from a church tradition that routinely touts the phrase "No creed but the Bible" (which is itself a creed), I realize that knowledge of the creeds and councils is necessary for understanding my own beliefs, the beliefs of my church, and the beliefs of others around me. In a way, this book can help people realize that they view the world and understand the Bible through a certain framework. Hopefully, it will inspire them to determine their own convictions regarding the Bible's teachings and better distinguish truth from error. It's an excellent book, particularly for those who haven't given much thought to their own church's statement of faith.

I received this book from the publisher for the purpose of review.

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