But we do it all through the eyes of faith and gospel hope. The Gospel Coalition supports the church by providing resources that are trusted and timely, winsome and wise, and centered on the gospel of Jesus Christ. Understanding the historical circumstances surrounding doctrinal formulation should make us better theologians. Immanuel Kant expressed the motto of theEnlightenm… One case in point on why this is important is that the theology of the heretical cult of the Jehovah’s Witnesses could have been wiped out if the Church had taken a stand against it. A Defense of God’s Sovereign Glory, My Speed Governor (How the Father Enforces My Sabbath-Rest). Listen in for great conversations and fresh insights on the history of the Restoration. Church history will also give one a tolerance of others who do not agree with him doctrinally. Here are 13 principles for why studying church history is crucial. Churches met … As early as Eden, Eve listens to the serpent, succumbing to faulty interpretations of the past and of God’s revelation in particular. Below are 10 facts you may not know about church history. During such times, the Church is afforded the opportunity to clarify and expound on biblical orthodoxy for the benefit and spiritual growth of the Body of Christ. The church is historically unique. Your email address will not be published. This helps us from falling into doctrinal errors which are not new, but rather old errors stated in fresh ways. This pursuit requires hard work, original research, and a humble spirit. It gets us beyond our natural shortsightedness, faddishness and pride. The history of the church reminds us that Christians can be culprits of foolishness as well as bold titans for truth. Church history helps God’s people understand the movements and sins that Christians have made throughout history. Copyright © 2021 The Gospel Coalition, INC. All Rights Reserved. Church History is the important history of the world. Editor’s note: The purpose of this series is to write on “Issues in the Church” that either aren’t talked about, ignored entirely, or that we want to contribute to the discussion on. Church History: Why It’s Important!3 of !8 Church “history” is the chronological record of significant events in the life of the “church” along with the people involved, their sayings, writings, etc. If... Hebrews 12:26-27, “At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been... On today’s Warriors of Grace show, Dave continues the Snapshots of Grace series, looking at Hebrews 12:4-13 and the purpose of fatherly discipline and correction, enduring discipline as sons, and an encouragement to grow in the grace of God. 1. He is also a voracious reader, in particular of Reformed theology, and the Puritans. Church history is so much more than a collection of names, dates, and events. Your email address will not be published. The history of the Church is rich with the teaching of men and woman who have held to biblical orthodoxy and defended the faith against attacks from within and without. Today, Stephen Nichols cautions Christians that we’re missing out if we aren’t learning from our family story. Our mission is to recount that history and call the nations to repent and believe in the Christ. We tell the truth about the past, give thanks for God’s grace, and repent of sin and failure. Instead, they appropriated the teaching of Augustine who received his doctrine from the early church fathers. People need to have their spiritual, emotional and physical needs met. While I bring some basic assumptions (and standards of historical research) to any historical study, studying and teaching church history is a profoundly theological enterprise. He serves as the Executive Director of Servants of Grace Ministries, the Executive Editor of Theology for Life Magazine, and is the Host for the Equipping You in Grace Podcast. Here is a short list of ten reasons of why the study of Church History remains important for the development and growth of authentic and biblical Christianity and Leadership. Become a monthly supporter to advance gospel-centered resources. As I study early church history, a sense of family identity begins to take on fuller meaning, and I begin to grasp a clearer picture of the grace given to me. Like a branch that grows because of its connection to the tree, we thrive when we stay connected to the church. The relevancy and importance of Church history cannot be stated enough. The effort to discover the natural laws which governed theuniverse led to scientific, political and social advances. The reason why studying church history can show us what is important to the faith is because the Spirit has been at work guiding the church into truth. Calvin and Luther did not engage in doctrinal novelty. Our goal with this series is to help our readers think through these issues from a biblical worldview with lots of practical gospel-application. In addition to safeguarding us from doctrinal error, the study of church history helps protect us from repeating the foolish mistakes of others. It allows us to understand and sympathize with the plight of those who came before us. All other history is subservient to the Church. Wherever you begin (or continue your study of Church history), I encourage you to begin (or continue) to deepen your knowledge in this critical area of Christian theology. In the New Testament, Christians can study the life and teachings of Jesus, Paul, James, John, and Peter. The study of history, when done right, is always a humbling experience. You can follow him on Twitter. https://christianhistoryinstitute.org/magazine/article/important-events-timeline God’s people have a message to proclaim in the gospel. Throughout Scripture, rightly remembering is critical to faithfulness. The church of Jesus Christ remains, as always, a people called to faithfulness in this age as they await Christ’s return and the consummation of his rule in the age to come. God’s Word from the front (Genesis) to the back (Revelation) testifies to the finished work of Jesus. Hall (PhD, University of Kentucky) is provost, senior vice president for academic administration, and associate professor of church history at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. The reason why studying church history can help us interpret the Bible is because the Spirit has illuminated the path for understanding the Bible for centuries. That God is faithful is a fact that the Bible … We are often without human explanation, however, for why his plans take a particular course. Historians must be careful not to casually ascribe divine motive where God has not plainly revealed it. From Scripture we understand his ultimate purposes of redemption and his pledge to build his church. Church history helps God’s people to have a context for a biblical-theological approach to the Christian life and ministry. The Importance of Studying Early Church History Most Christian believers are unaware of the history concerning the founding of America or our Constitution, and they know even less about the founding history of the Christian church. Abandoning the old paths of biblical orthodoxy for doctrinal novelty leads to false teaching. This is what is fascinating about church history: it is a … Much is to be gleaned from the events between the time of the apostles and the present. Enlightenmentthinkers examined the rational basis of all beliefs and in the process rejectedthe authority of church and state. The Enlightenment, also known as the Age of Reason, was a time when man began touse his reason to discover the world, casting off the superstition and fear ofthe medieval world. Along these lines, George Marsden points out that “the most convincing histories will be those that portray their protagonists with faults as well as virtues.” Not only does a biblical doctrine of depravity give us an appropriate skepticism, it also provides needed humility to acknowledge we lack authoritative certainty about what happened in the past. He fought a vigilant battle in the 4th … Faithful men and women have sought to take what they have studied in the Word, apply it to their lives, and to instruct the people of God. Church history is perhaps one of the most overlooked areas of study in contemporary evangelical theology. This belief runs contrary to how we often understand ourselves. A study of church history will reveal that most “innovations” in theology (and sometimes in practice) are simply a re-packaging of old heresies that were rejected by the early church. Matthew 16:18 ESV / 27 helpful votes. But we understand that our knowledge is never full and always clouded. The Church has always had an impulse to reformation around biblical doctrine. And it reminds us that the perseverance of the church has never been dependent on any human being. Outside regularly reading and studying of Scripture, there is no greater subject for Christians to study than the history of the Church. In the process, the Reformers brought biblical doctrine to the masses in order to bring reform to the Church for her health and growth in the gospel. The early church fathers and councils had to determine, for example, what it meant to say with historical confidence that Jesus was both God and man. We must see Christ's scepter swaying in all the events of time. History serves to remind us of God’s faithfulness. Dave is a lover of Christ, His people, and sound theology. One example comes from the life and ministry of John Knox. He is a writer, editor, and speaker living in sunny Southern California. Defend Against Heresies and Cults. As visible outposts of the kingdom of Christ, churches are where this one great story—a metanarrative to rule them all, if you will—continually confronts and collides with the stories of this world and the present evil age. 9 Principles What are the general principles to bear in mind as you begin to work with your teen through anxiety and depression? Not every actor or group will have the same historical significance, but we should be leery of casually dismissing those that may first appear insignificant. Leaving specifically church history aside for a moment, I believe that it is vitally important that members of any society should have a firm grasp of the history of that society, so that they can see where they have come from, and how they relate to other societies round them. One challenge for any generation of Christians is not to whitewash or excuse these failures (for example, Southern Baptists and race; Jonathan Edwards and slavery; John Calvin’s complicity in Servetus’s death, and so on). Christians should look back at the life and example of men in the Old Testament such as Abraham and David. Latest articles. Since Pentecost, God has been demonstrating this grand story of redemption in real places populated by real people, in the church. Though separated by time, we share one Lord, one faith, one baptism (Eph. It is important to know and to learn from church history, as there will always be old heresies cropping up, appearing as new teachings. Church history records the teaching of men and women who held to the truth of the Word and sought to teach the Word faithfully to people. The early fathers formed the foundation of the early Christian church. 2 Why is Church History Important To Know? My goal in this article is to help you to see the primary place of Church History for Christians in defending and contending for the faith once and for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3). While the pursuit of knowledge is commendable, such a pursuit should not be divorced from the need to see that tradition in its biblical and historical place is helpful and necessary for the Christian. A single individual can embody conflicting traits. Sometimes, church history reminds us of the failures and shortcomings of many of our forebears, even our heroes. The study of church history, therefore, preserves both orthodoxy (right doctrine) and orthopraxy (right practice). Understanding Getting an understanding of these disorders is half the battle. Dave received his MAR and M.Div through Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. A study of church history reveals that, in the first centuries of the church, the foundations of every cardinal doctrine and practice were tested and confirmed. by Dave Jenkins | May 26, 2016 | Issues in the Church, Featured. Church history is relevant because of the Word of God. Despite the imperfection of man, Christ has continued to sustain His Bride. The sovereign Creator is also the sovereign Lord.. A robust doctrine of divine providence reminds us that human... 3. A robust doctrine of divine providence reminds us that human history is a giant canvas on which we see God paint his sovereign plan. Facing down such warts with historical honesty is not just a scholarly duty, but also brings glory to God. Before we too easily judge motives, prejudices, or intentions, we must ask how we would fare in others’ shoes. Six Ways to Use Our Website, Why It Matters, and How You Can Help Us, expository preaching: an end goal more than a style, answered to important questions about expository preaching, three keys to sermon listening and note-taking, the priority of regularly communing with God, biblical doctrine: the lifeblood of the Christian life, 9 Principles for Navigating Anxiety and Depression, Scott Christensen- What about Evil? Throughout the Old Testament, God calls his people to recall and retell his gracious saving acts. Article; Seventeen Centuries of Sin: The Christian Past in Antebellum Slavery Debates Church history helps God’s people understand the movements and sins that Christians have made throughout history. Instead of wanting to know the old paths traveled over and over again by godly saints of previous eras, Christians today want something “deeper” and more meaningful. We should also be eager to allow historical actors to speak for themselves, rather than through mediating groups or powers. Get me lecturing to undergraduate American history students on the Cold War and the emergence of political conservatism, and I’m in my scholarly happy place. The Role and Importance of the Church in the Community Meeting the Needs. Dave loves to spend time with his wife, going to movies, eating at a nice restaurant, or going out for a round of golf with a good friend. One of the main reasons for the neglect of Church history is its association with tradition. No matter your nationality, ethnicity, race, or socioeconomic status, if you’re in Christ church history is the story of your true community and family. Step into my world history class and you’ll find me fired up to explain how colonization reshaped the entire world. A... “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” (Mark 2:27; 6:31) If you’ve ever driven a go-cart, you’ll know that the buggy will only go so fast. The emphasis was on a personal relationship with God, learned through the teachings of the apostles. This story has marked the return of the faith to regions that had been reached with the gospel in the first millennium. What are the general principles to bear in mind as you begin work! Places populated by real people, in all the events between the time of the most helpful studies in old... It gets us beyond our natural shortsightedness, faddishness and pride Scott Latourette, rather. Carry out his purpose and will in the character and nature of and... Today ’ s people understand the Movements and sins that Christians have made throughout history old paths biblical. Also a voracious reader, in all the events between the time of the main reasons for the of. 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