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Understanding Our Christian Neighbors

Included in the links below are the readings resources needed for the course.

Readings for Course Meetings

Included on this page are readings for the course meetings of Understanding Our Christian Neighbors.

Keith Stanglin

Email for pdf readings.

I highly recommend two books for getting the most out of this study.  Read either one or both, and you will be well prepared for the class.

Ted A. Campbell. Christian Confessions: A Historical Introduction. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1996.  This book takes an objective, analytical approach to comparing and contrasting the major doctrines in the major Christian denominations, based on the respective creeds and confessions.


Robert L. Plummer, ed. Journeys of Faith: Evangelicalism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Catholicism, and Anglicanism. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2012.  This book takes a more subjective, experiential approach, with contributions from authors about why they changed churches and critical responses from others.

And then there are shorter readings that correspond more closely to the scheduled topic.

Schedule (Monday evenings, Jan. 8–Feb. 19, 7:00–8:30 CST):

Jan. 8: Historical Unity and Diversity, Understanding and Assessing

Watch: “Church Compass (of Christian Denominations),” at


See handout “Church History Timelines” [email for pdf]

Read the texts of the Old Roman Creed and of the Apostles’ Creed at

Keith Stanglin, “Apostles’ Creed” [email for pdf]

Jan. 15: Major Christian Divisions


Andrew Louth, Introducing Eastern Orthodox Theology, xiii-xx, 1-15 [email for pdf]


Jan. 22: Religious Authority


Athanasius of Alexandria, “Paschal Letter” (AD 367), sections 4-7, at


Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologiae Ia.i.8, Reply to Objection 2, at


Confession of Dositheus, Decree 2 and Questions 1-3, at



Jan. 29: God and Christ


Creed of Nicaea (325) and Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed (381), at


Definition of the Council of Chalcedon (451), at


Confession of Dositheus, Decrees 1, 7-8 and Question 4 (seven paragraphs on icons and saints), at



Feb. 5: Human Nature and Salvation


Decrees of the Council of Orange (529), at


Confession of Dositheus, Decrees 3, 6, 9, 13-14, 18, at



Feb. 12: Church

Confession of Dositheus, Decrees 10-12, 15-17, at


Stanglin, “Visible Signs of Invisible Grace” [email for pdf]



Feb. 19: Theological and Practical Ecumenism (guest lecturer: Carl Trueman)


Avery Cardinal Dulles, “Saving Ecumenism from Itself,” at


Further Reading

The major pre-twentieth-century Christian creeds and confessions may be found in Philip Schaff, ed., The Creeds of Christendom, with a History and Critical Notes, 3 vols., 6th ed. (1931; reprint, Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1998). This collection is available in public domain and online. See

For a selection of more recent documents and other secondary sources, see the bibliography below.


Baptism, Eucharist, and Ministry. Geneva: World Council of Churches, 1982.


Burgess, John P. Encounters with Orthodoxy: How Protestant Churches Can Reform Themselves Again. Louisville: WJKP, 2013.


Campbell, Ted A. The Gospel in Christian Traditions. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.


Catechism of the Catholic Church. New York: Image, 1994. 


Kelly, J. N. D. Early Christian Creeds. London: Longman, 1972.


Kolb, Robert, and Carl R. Trueman. Between Wittenberg and Geneva: Lutheran and Reformed Theology in Conversation. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2017.


Leithart, Peter J. The End of Protestantism: Pursuing Unity in a Fragmented Church. Grand Rapids: Brazos, 2016.

Levering, Matthew, and Kevin J. Vanhoozer. Was the Reformation a Mistake? Why Catholic Doctrine Is Not Unbiblical. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2017.

Mattox, Mickey L. and A. G. Roeber. Changing Churches: An Orthodox, Catholic, and Lutheran Theological Conversation. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2012.


Murphy, Francesca Aran, and Christopher Asprey, eds. Ecumenism Today: The Universal Church in the 21st Century. Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2008.


Olson, Roger E., et al. Handbook of Denominations in the United States. 14th ed. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2018.


Pelikan, Jaroslav J. and Valerie R. Hotchkiss, eds. Creeds and Confessions of Faith in the Christian Tradition. 4 vols. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003.


Rouse, Ruth, John Briggs, et al., eds. A History of the Ecumenical Movement. 3 vols. Geneva: World Council of Churches, 1993–2004.


Vatican Council II: Constitutions, Decrees, Declarations. Edited by Austin Flannery. Northport, NY: Costello Publishing Company, 1996. Esp. Lumen Gentium, Dei verbum, and Unitatis redintegratio. 


Winer, Georg Benedikt. A Comparative View of the Doctrines and Confessions of the Various Communities of Christendom, with Illustrations from their Original Standards. Introduction by William B. Pope. Clark’s Foreign Theological Library, 4th series, vol. 35. Edinburgh: T and T Clark, 1873.

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