Why Know about the Christian Creeds & Councils?

I was raised in a Southern Baptist tradition that rejected creeds, catechisms, and councils.  Yet the denomination conducts denominational meetings much like a council that lays out the representation of its beliefs on a regular basis in a type of confession.  In a tradition of rejecting tradition, I was unfamiliar with the Apostle’s Creed and the Christian calendar until I went to seminary.  Courses in Christian history and systematic theology opened my eyes to the connection we can have with Christians over the centuries and the richness that can come from creeds and confessions. 

Here is a basic definition of each (as described by Justin Holcomb):
  • Creeds – Set forth the basic beliefs of the church, the faith entrusted to God’s holy people, drawn from Scriptures and connects all Christians in all places and time. 
  • Confessions – Distinguish orthodoxy from heresy and draw the boundary around what is Christian and what is not.  Confessions can also define a group’s beliefs on secondary issues, applying faith to the here and now.
  • Catechisms – Outline of teachings on the basic principles of Christianity in a question and answer format to make them easy to understand.
  •  Councils – Bring Christians together from all over the world to work out solutions to questions. 

Knowing about these four C’s can root us in the foundation of why we believe what we believe as Christians.  They can help us process the divisions and differences between Protestants and Catholics, why this big split in Christianity occurred, and whether or not it was right to split.  While we should not look for reasons to divide, we know that there are issues worth disagreeing about.  Overall, we must recognize that it is with humility that we must approach knowing God and that His ways are a mystery.

If you are unfamiliar with the four C’s and the history of Christianity, I highly recommend Justin Holcomb’s book Know the Creeds and Councils.  In the introduction, he explains the purpose of creeds and how they were used, the purpose of confessions, the usefulness of catechisms, and the councils that shaped Christianity.  His succinct summaries bring each of these to life as he shows how the essentials of the foundations of the faith were established and preserved, and their importance to Christian life.  Each chapter has a bibliography of references for further reading if you want to go deeper.  (I was provided a complimentary copy of this book from Zondervan Publishing in exchange for my honest review).

How to Really Love Your Adult Child - Book Review

Raising children is rigorous and can be physically, emotionally, and financially draining.  Someone once said, “The choice to be a parent is the choice to have your heart walking around outside your body as long as you live”.  My oldest child has entered the world of adulthood.  Where she once stepped all over my feet, she now steps all over my heart. And I love her beyond what any words can express. The nature of our relationship is changing.  It is beautiful, and I’m loving every minute of it. But I am not without questions.

Today’s adult children that are just graduating and seeking employment are feeling the repercussions of the Great Recession of 2007-2009, and their struggles are unique compared to any other generation in history as they try to find their way of independence in the world.  Today, the nest does not empty as quickly, and sometimes after the nest has been empty for a while, they come back.  This can present conflicts that we must work through, such as differences in lifestyle issues and rules of the house. Hurdles to independence may need parental intervention.  Or not. 

Ross Campbell and Gary Chapman help us understand the nature of adult children today and show us how to build a healthy relationship in their book How to Really Love Your Adult Child.  Along with insight to understanding, they also address grand-parenting, becoming an in-law (not necessarily in that order), as well as how to continue to take care of yourself. They address forgiveness for hurts on both sides and how to handle conflicts and draw boundaries, whether or not your adult child is back in your nest.

Dr. Campbell and Dr. Chapman are qualified to give such advice on many levels – occupationally, educationally, and experientially, especially in a personal sense.  One complaint I have is that this book is dated. I’m a Gen-X parent, and the book is aimed at the baby boomer generation, as if the baby boomer authors do not realize that Gen-X parents are now entering this realm of adult children.  But they have experience with much of what they talk about and advise.  Some of their illustrations seem overly optimistic and fake, but they also sprinkle in illustrations with not-so-idyllic endings. So overall, they do a great job of being helpful while positive and inspirational.  I would recommend this book to any parent of adult children ages 17-40 who is seeking some uplifting advice and understanding of their adult children.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Moody Publishers in exchange for my honest review.