Why Study Church History?

Church History

There is great value in the study of church history. As we take the time to look back and read about various individuals who have gone before us and of various events that have occurred in the life of the church, there are incredible lessons to be gained. Why study church history and why highlight various heroes from church history?

The study of church history is filled with many practical benefits. I believe we should take time to be familiar with church history for the following reasons.

A Record
The study of church history is valuable because it serves as a record. It is a record of what the Lord has been doing in the church and how the church has responded to the teaching of God’s Word. To look back at God’s providence, provision and protection is an amazing testimony to His faithfulness. This ought to provide us with encouragement. When it comes to the way the church has responded to the Word of God, church history is filled with positive and negative examples (like every generation). These examples provide us with lessons and warnings, as we will face similar situations.

A Reminder
Secondly, church history is a reminder. What does it remind us of? Here are a few things: We are reminded of those who gave up their lives for the cause of the gospel. We are reminded of those who stood firm against false teaching. We are reminded of the importance of protecting ourselves against error. We are reminded of the power of the gospel. Church history is filled with practical lessons that we can benefit from. One church historian stated, “We can understand the present much better if we have some knowledge of its roots in the past”.[1] It is important to be reminded of what the people of God have done before us.

In a non-consecutive series of posts, I will highlight the lives and actions of various individuals from church history. I trust that this serves as an encouragement to many and causes us to thank the Lord for His mighty work through His people.

Many great and faithful characters won’t be mentioned simply because I am not writing an exhaustive textbook on church history. However, I will be highlighting various individuals who I would class as my personal heroes from church history.

Remember, none of these characters are perfect. It was only by God’s enabling grace that they had the commitment and courage to stand on the truth of God’s Word. It is for this reason they are to be remembered as heroes of the faith and we praise God for them.

Who are your favourite heroes from church history?

 


[1] Earle E. Cairns, Christianity Throughout the Centuries, Zonvervan, 1996, p. 21