No other institution, except possibly the papacy, has more greatly influenced the church and the larger history of the Western world than the ecumenical council. Most of us, however, know little about it.
This course is designed to take you through the fascinating history of the ecumenical (church-wide) council, from its first appearance in Nicaea (325) through Vatican Council II (1962-1965). Most Christians are familiar with the most recent council, Vatican II, but only in name. Now you can go far beyond what you know about councils by experiencing the full story.
This 12-part audio series, created and delivered by one of North America's most distinguished Church historians, explores the deep issues of faith and the sometimes curious issues of clerical behavior with which the councils dealt. Councils, which were principally (but not exclusively) assemblies of bishops, gathered in the name of Christ or the Trinity, who made decisions binding on the whole church. Those decisions were about either doctrine (what Christians believe) or about "discipline" (public behavior, especially of bishops and priests).
You'll explore how councils gave us the creeds, shaped our understanding and practice of the sacraments, and settled major controversies. Although there have been few ecumenical councils in church history, each council stands as a powerful milestone for church development and a platform for change. To explore the councils is to explore the developments of theology and history that have given us the church as we know it today. With this course you will understand why the ecumenical council remains one of the most important institutions in Western civilization.