why church history

In Sunday School we are going through a survey of Church history. Some have asked why we are spending time studying Church history? Shouldn’t we be focusing on theology or doctrine or apologetics? While all those things are great to study, Church history also has a lot to offer us as Christians.

Much like the Israelites were told repeatedly to “Remember this day in which you came out from Egypt, out of the house of slavery, for by a strong hand the Lord brought you out from this place,” we need to remember what God has done throughout the life of the church. This will give us perspective and encouragement when we doubt how God can bring about the salvation of the world with all the current chaos. As we study the characters, events, victories, struggles, heresies, councils, and confessions of the Christian Church, we will see His hand in it all, and we see how he works in the midst of and through it all.

Five of the reasons we are studying church history are:

  • Faithfulness. If we want to stay faithful to the truth, we need to understand the attacks truth has suffered in the past.
  • Perspective. It’s impossible for us to understand where we are now if we don’t know how we got here.
  • Balance. We are often quick to over-correct. Reading through history we see the pendulum often swing from one extreme to the other.
  • Humility. Without historical perspective, it’s easy to think that we are a lot smarter than we are. Studying Church history cautions us about becoming prideful in our own theology.
  • Hope. It’s very easy for us to think that the Church is in a very dark age, but the situation is far from hopeless and as the Church continues to fulfill its mission to preach the Gospel to all nations God will continue to make his kingdom more manifest on earth.

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