I noticed some deficiencies in many churches
As I have visited churches and schools around my area I discovered that a number of people are interested in Church History but not wanting to take full blown college or seminary classes (due to either time or money restraints). I have been a guest speaker at a number of churches and noticed there IS a curiosity by those attenders to better understand how God has worked in the lives of His people. Most churches in which I grew up were very deficient in the presentation or even knowledge concerning God’s activity through His people in the past (Church History). A majority of the history of Christianity is a blank to most Christians and I would like to do my part in rectifying this deficiency. I believe this deficiency comes from at least 3 things: the boredom with history in general, a reaction to Roman Catholicism, and following in the steps of the Reformers.
3 Reasons why people do not study Church History
‘History is boring’
When asked why many people don’t enjoy studying history the usual answer is ‘it’s boring’. In their schooling most have been inundated with names, places, and dates without being informed of the significance of those name, places, and dates. The student had names and dates as required memorization, yet are not told (or at least emphasized) the importance of that date or person. For example, they could be told to memorize the date 1776, to signify the signing of the Declaration of Independence and then the Revolutionary War in the New World (eventually the United States of America). But the internal struggle for the signers and their dedication to ‘liberty or death’ loses something in the study. I believe this tedium over studying history contributes to the gap in knowledge for the average church goer.
A reaction to Roman Catholicism
Another reason your normal church does not teach or understand Church History is (I believe) a reaction to Roman Catholicism. Let me first off state that this is NOT AGAINST Roman Catholicism but a misunderstanding or misinterpretati0n of emphasis in Catholicism. Most observers of Catholicism understand the stress on the importance of the work of the saints from Catholic theology. It is my opinion that Protestants have historically reacted to ‘everything Catholic’ so they will ‘not do what the Catholics do’. I believe this has lent to a failure on the part of Protestants to want or need to study history.
A product of the Reformation
The third reason I think studying Church History in most mainline churches is not stressed is because they are following in the steps of the reformers. One of the ideas that is a result of the Protestant Reformation is Sola Scriptura (scripture alone). By the 1500’s in Europe the Catholic Church had many, many doctrines and practices that came into question by the reformers. One topics which was emphasized was ‘we don’t need to learn about the history or the saints, we just need the Bible’. Either intentionally or unintentionally a byproduct of the Reformation was Protestant getting rid of knowledge of God’s history in order to solely study God’s word. I think this has been a detriment to the churches. Many will never know the wealth and depth of theology because they have not nor will they ever study their history.
Because I have observed this trend of historical deficiency in the churches with which I come in contact, I am taking it upon myself to present the History of Christianity so people may learn the importance of it. I see myself as a teacher at heart, so I am more than willing to research topics or questions asked of me and report on them to you. In my mind it does God a terrible disservice to neglect His workings through His people. I mean after all He actually worked in the lives of various individuals to think through the mysteries and non mysteries of the Christianity in the past to come to a valid conclusion.
What I want from you
I would like to ask for your assistance. My goal in this blog is to help you in your Christian walk. I would like you as my readers to send me comments (both good and bad) to help me do a better job. I WANT YOU TO LEARN ABOUT CHURCH HISTORY and answer questions you may have. So I would encourage you to send me suggestions for study or questions you have concerning theology. If you have any ideas about who to study, or what movement (monasticism, heretics, The Protestant Reformation, The Great Awakening, The Social Gospel, etc.) I would enjoy reporting on them for you.
PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE SEND ME YOUR COMMENTS.
Thank you, God Bless.