I was once told that the study of history doesn’t really make sense until we’re adults. Grown-ups brains have the ability to form connections between events, synthesize information, and assess meaning in a way that younger minds aren’t physically able to do. To be clear, this doesn’t mean that younger students shouldn’t study history. Familiarizing them with names, dates, places and most importantly, stories lays an important foundation they carry into adulthood when they can begin to make meaning out of the data they’ve learned.
We in the Church have a unique relationship with history as well as history’s Author. So much of our Christian family story has long been intertwined with the sweep of political, economic, and social events, particularly in the West. Yet I’ve been surprised about how little many believers seem to know about history, and even more specifically, about church history. Frankly, this kind of shocks me. It is our own family story.
Author Michael Crichton said, “If you don’t know history, then you don’t know anything. You are a leaf that doesn’t know it is part of a tree.” That may sound a little harsh, but I appreciate the wisdom in those blunt words. God has been at work among in his community of called-out ones and in the world he loves before, during, and since the canon of Scripture was closed. Knowing the whole story helps us find our place in it. [Read more]