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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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For a review of the study conducted on Week # 1, you can read a sermon on this passage entitled “The Mission of the Church” found here https://ramblingpastorman.wordpress.com/2008/07/27/the-mission-of-the-church-–-matthew-2816-20/.

Homework for Week # 2:

  • Memorize Luke 10:2.
  • Complete the “7 Neighborhoods” Evangelism worksheet (found here https://ramblingpastorman.wordpress.com/2010/09/06/7-neighborhoods-evangelism-worksheet/.)
  • Make a list of 5 people from the “Seven Neighborhoods” worksheet and begin actively praying for opportunities to share the gospel with them.
  • Read I Corinthians 15 several times.  From I Corinthians 15:1-8, answer the following questions:
    • What is the gospel?
    • How important is the gospel?  Be specific.
    • What response is demanded by the gospel?
  • Optional activities: Make a list of some common misconceptions regarding the gospel in our culture today.  Discuss some of these common misconceptions regarding the gospel with a fellow Christian this week.

Please feel free to post any thoughts or questions regarding Week # 1 or the upcoming study.  I would love to get input from you!

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I was recently introduced to website called Theology Network.  It is sponsored by the UCCF: Christian Unions in England.  There is some exceptional resources on this site.  I have particularly been edified by some of the audio sermons and lectures by Michael Reeves.  I highly recommend this site in general and Michael Reeves’ material in particular.  You can find out more about this site here http://www.theologynetwork.org/ .

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Tim Challies posted an interesting article on the effects of “celebrity culture” in the church and how this impacts our appreciation of the God-given pastor in our local church.  Its worth reading… you can find it here http://www.challies.com/archives/articles/ive-never-been-mistaken-for-brad-pitt.php.

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Tim Challies posted a great excerpt from Mortimer Adler’s book, “How to Read a Book.”  In it, Adler explains what it means to truly “own” a book.  You can read it here http://www.challies.com/archives/articles/quotes/false-reverence.php .

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Over at the Desiring God blog, John Piper has given us a helpful reminder on what “Christian Hedonism” is… and why we should pursue our joy in God alone.  You can find it here http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/RecentlyAdded/4205_Rebuilding_Some_Basics_of_Bethlehem_Christian_Hedonism/ .

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Back to Blogging…

Sorry for the break in blogging. My family and I have recently relocated to Payson, Arizona, where I am serving as a chaplain for the local hospice.  I have been without internet service for the past 3 weeks… life goes on… but just barely.

Soli Deo Gloria!!!

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