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Archive for the ‘Church History’ Category

A couple of days ago I posted some thoughts on why I think church history is important and I linked to a blog post by Rick Rose on the same topic.  Here is another post, entitled “Avoiding Chronological Snobbery” by William Boekestein over at the Reformation21 site talking about the same subject.  His conclusion is that knowing church history helps us to:

1) Appreciate the sovereignty of God.

2) Apply debated biblical teachings.

3) Defend against heresies and cults.

4) Resist being captivated  by fads (this is a big need today!!!)

5) Reevaluate common church practices.

6) Live courageous Christian lives today.

It is worth reading the whole post to see how he fleshes these out.  You can find the article here http://www.reformation21.org/articles/avoiding-chronological-snobbery.php.

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I have been disturbed recently by the ignorance of so many Christians regarding church history.  This became apparent to me recently as I was talking with several professing Christians about October 31st being Reformation Day.  No one I spoke with had any idea what I was talking about.  None of them knew what Martin Luther’s 95 Theses were.  None of them knew anything regarding the impact of Luther on Protestantism today.  (Granted… I come from a Baptist tradition.  The results might have been different if I had been talking with some of my Lutheran friends.)

Church history matters!  Here are three reasons why:

1) Without some basic knowledge of church history, how can we truly understand the development of many of our most precious Christian doctrines?  Where do we get the word “Trinity”?  How did this often disputed doctrine become dogma?  Sure… we derive this blessed truth about God from Scripture… but how did it become formulated in the manner which we hold dear today?  Read church history…

2) Furthermore, it never ceases to amaze me how heresies never go away… they go “underground” for a brief period of time (some don’t even do that…) only to resurface later… perhaps under a different name… but still just as heretical.  Why reinvent the wheel when confronting these heresies when church history provides us with a lasting response from the saints who have gone before us?

3) Finally, studying church history reminds us that we have a great cloud of witnesses who have gone before us… men and women who lived for the glory of God and who laid the foundation which we often take for granted today.  We may not always agree with the actions of the saints of old… but studying their lives can be a great inspiration AND a solemn warning as we strive to live the Christian life.  (For some helpful resources in studying the lives of various Christians from history, consider reading or listening to some of John Piper’s biographies of past saints (you can find them here http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/biographies/by-title) or listen to Mike Reeves biographies of notable figures from church history (all entitled “Introducing…”)  You’ll have to scroll down the page, but you can find the audio of Mike Reeves lectures here http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/biographies/by-title.)

This rant of mine was sparked off by a blog post by Rick Rose (HT: Tim Challies) entitled “6 Reasons to Love Church History.”  I think his post summarizes succinctly why it is important to study church history.  It is not a long post and worth your time to read.  You can find it here http://www.rickandsusanna.com/2010/10/6-reasons-to-love-church-history.html.

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