COUNCILS OF THE CHURCH


COUNCILS OF THE CHURCH. A monu­mental conflict (recorded in Acts 15) arose in the early Church over legalism, the keeping of Jewish laws by the Christians, as means of salvation. "Now the apostles and elders came together [in council] to consider this matter" (Acts 15:6). This council, held in Jerusalem, set the pattern for the subsequent calling of councils to settle problems. There have been hundreds of such councils-local and regional-over the centuries of the history of the Church, and seven councils specifi­cally designated "Ecumenical," that is, considered to apply to the whole Church. The Orthodox Church looks particularly to these Ecumenical Councils for authoritative teaching in regard to the faith and prac­tice of the Church, aware that God has spoken through them.