As we study the subsequent history of the church we learn about seven great church councils. These are sometimes called the seven great ECUMENICAL (ek-you-men-ical) councils which means they were held on behalf of the whole Christian world. (Ecumenical literally stands for the quest to recover unity among the many different Churches of Christendom. These councils claim to represent the mind of the whole Church, and as such they have a distinct authority)
Why did the church leaders (usually called “BISHOPS”) come together for these councils? It usually happened this way: Certain teachings, that did not fall in the particular milieu of Christian teaching, would be spread among the churches. Concerned church leaders would then see a need to meet together to decide what the true teaching of the church really was. The council would be held, and a statement of belief or a CREED would be written to show what the true teaching of the church really was.
The seven great church councils are as follows:
- The Council of Nicea (325 A.D.) (To settle the Arian dispute)
- The Council of Constantinople (381. A.D.) (To assert the personality of the Holy Spirit and the humanity of Christ)
- The Council of Ephesus (431 A.D.) (To emphasize the unity of Christ’s personality and to condemn the views of Pelagius)
- The Council of Chalcedon (451 A.D.) (To state the relationship between the two natures of Christ)
- The Council of Constantinople (553 A.D.) (To deal with the Monophysite dispute)
- The Council of Constantinople (680 A.D.) (To condemn the Monothelites)
- The Council of Nicea (787 A.D.) (To deal with problems raised by the image controversy and to decide that the worship of images should be allowed)
The first four of these councils dealt with some very important issues relating to the Person of Jesus Christ, and it is to these that we will be giving our attention. In the next few posts.
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