Hold Fast

Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you--unless you believed in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:1-2, ESV)

Location: Cochrane, Alberta, Canada

Thursday, October 27, 2005

So Sad, Yet So True

I've commented many times to friends and family about how amazed I am that modern Christians don't have any sense of their history as a church. It boggles my mind that most professing Christians don't know what sets them apart from Mormons, or why the Reformation happened, or even what it means to be "congregational" as opposed to "presbyterian" or "Methodist" as opposed to Calvinist.

We live in a fast-food culture with a fatally low attention span. That's why history is so neglected in schools - and why we wind up repeating the same lessons over and over. Anyone who doubts my point needs only look at the history of warfare in the twentieth century alone - we needed two world wars to get the message that war is a bad thing, and even still we armed ourselves to the teeth with nuclear weapons and prepared to do it again for the rest of the century. Or, how about genocide? Take the Armenian genocide by the Turks, followed by the Holocaust, followed by the slaughter of Cambodians by Pol Pot, followed by the Rwandan genocide, and now the growing Darfur crisis in Sudan.

In the modern church, it's the same problem. We wind up facing the same heresies and attacks on the faith over and over, because Christians don't think church history and theology is important. Examples include the Da Vinci Code (renewed paganism and Gnosticism), Oneness Pentecostalism (renewed Sabellianism), the Jehovah's Witnesses (the new Arians), and the Latter-Rain / New Apostles movement (the old Marcionite heresy).

This lack of attention to church history translates into an unspoken, unacknowledged assumption that Pentecost was just a few years ago - obviously, because to most Christians church history basically started in the fifties (that's where we left those boring old hymns behind!) How many professing Christians today know what Martin Luther did that touched off the Reformation? How many know why it happened at all? How many know how we got our Bible in the first place? How many know why there's an Eastern Orthodox Church, and why it's different than Catholics and Protestants?

Here's a particularly blatant example - a quote by "sammac" in response to a post at Tim Challies' blog (it's an excellent blog, by the way - check it out sometime!):

I was talking with a Southern Baptist the other day who thought that his denomination had been started by John the Baptist and that the early church used the King James translation of the Bible. When I mentioned the Crusades he thought I was talking about Billy Graham. This is a guy who fixes very complex electronic equipment. He isn't stupid at all, just ignorant.

Enough said. Guys - don't let that be you!


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