Church history has a vital role in the development of Christianity. Thus, knowing about it is also essential in our growth as a Christian. So, here are seven reasons that a Christian should know and study church history.
Church history provides perspective
Understanding the current church dilemma is impossible if we don’t have any knowledge of the history of the church. The past gives us the necessary attitude so that we can uphold the teachings of Christ. The past guides us, so we don’t commit the same mistake as our ancestors did.
Studying the church history reminds us that our church leaders, before and now, are imperfect. This perspective gives us a broader and deeper understanding as to the objectives of our ancestors’ actions.
Church history balances us
When we correct a fellow believer who commits a mistake, we over-correct most of the time. We think we are perfect, but we are far from being model Christians. Our church history is the most significant evidence that our ancestors weren’t perfect individuals. Their shortcomings in preaching the Gospel can provide balance in correcting others.
Church history humbles us
Our church history teaches us that no matter how advanced our knowledge is, we will never be free of mistakes. Sometimes, history repeats itself. Our church leaders tend to commit these mistakes. We can never claim that we possess the perfect theology to impart to humanity. This thought alone humbles us from claiming that we are better than our ancestors.
Church history gives us hope
With so many crimes, death, and terrorism in our world, we think that we are in a dark age. However, if we read and study the history of the Christian church, our situation and current situation are much less frustrating than during the old times. Although we suffer persecution from other people and our fellow believers, our history gives us hope because, in the end, God’s glory shall prevail.
Church history reveals the truth
We can find biblical truth and some historical truth in the Bible. However, the historical fact in the Bible is incomplete. We can see the whole truth by studying church history outside the scope of the Bible. Through this history, we discover the many failures of our ancestors in bringing the biblical revelation.
Church history helps defend our faith against heretic accusations
In the Bible, the main actors in the development of Christianity are Jesus, the Apostles, and some historical figures like Pontius Pilate. However, we can find the many people who contributed to the Christian faith we know today in church history. Through studying the underlying motives of these people, we can defend ourselves and our faith against heretic accusations.
Church history aids in understanding the Bible
The authors of the New Testament wrote the books in the Bible, most of them, during the Roman empire. Thus, many of the underlying principles within the Bible might have come from their experiences in the outside world. If we read carefully, many of the writings infer some non-Christian writers during those times. So, if we study church history in context with the Bible Scriptures, we appreciate the motives of these disciples.
With all these reasons, we can never really separate church history and the Bible in fully understanding the Christian faith. These two go hand-in-hand in our theological study. Separating them gives only half of the whole truth.