Does History Matter?

April 7, 2010

First Council of Nicea

I’ve been surprised when some Christians have a “so what” reaction to early church history. I guess they figure that if their belief is true, then it doesn’t really matter what has happened in the past. If they do show any reverence or interest in history, it never includes a time period that precedes the Protestant Reformation.

I can remember this sentiment. We didn’t go looking for the historical church – we knew so little about it that the thought never even occurred to us. Instead it found us and hit us with its full force. And quite suddenly there were many things which we could no longer ignore; ideas that we could no longer be wishy-washy about.

I think that any Christian who takes their faith seriously must also take the early church seriously. Without the early church, there is no faith. There is no teaching of the apostles. There is no creed. There is no Bible. There is no example of countless Christians who took their faith so seriously that they were willing to die for it. Without the early church, we would not know who Jesus was. We would not know about God beyond the books of the Old Testament. We would not know orthodox doctrine. Truth – and subsequently our path to salvation – has been handed down to us from our forefathers in the faith.

Does history matter? If you take true faith seriously, then yes – history is of utmost importance. If you ignore history, you are missing out on the fullness of faith.


2 Responses to “Does History Matter?”

  1. Chris Paul Says:

    I feel that most people do not care about the early church because of the effects of the Protestant Reformation. God became a personal God and less bound by the history, teachings, and traditions of the church. I like to think of it as a “Fast Food” God. Very quick and easy, made to order, and without any homework involved. I have found that most Protestants do not even understand or know the very foundation of their own doctrinal belief. It amazes me completely.

    • David Says:

      It’s quite enlightening to read about early church history, especially when you’ve grown up with the idea that church history doesn’t really begin until Martin Luther.

      Questions like “Where did the Bible come from?” or “What am I supposed to be doing after I become a Christian?” or “Why don’t we believe or do X, Y, and, Z when the earliest Christians clearly did?” are never really addressed.

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