Friday, October 5, 2012

Church History

In seminary my favorite subject was Church History, for two reasons: it was fascinating, and totally new to me. I didn't know a thing about what had happened in the Church since the Book of Acts. I wasn't alone in my ignorance; most Protestants know little about the heroes of church history. If you're Lutheran, you likely know about Luther; if you're Presbyterian, you've likely heard of John Calvin; if you're Baptist, Spurgeon's name should sound familiar. But for the most part, I've found that church people don't know church history. Our Catholic friends have the saints, which gives them an awareness of what's gone on...but since we don't venerate people, we've neglected to talk about them. I've tried to correct this by having books on church history here in my church library, and to occasionally preach a biographical sermon on a significant figure in church history. And I don't limit the list to Congregationalists. Over the 13 years that I've been here I've given bio sermons on: George Whitfield, John Knox, David Livingstone, Eric Liddle, Joshua Lawrence Chamberlin, C.S. Lewis, John Calvin, William Bradford, St Francis, St Patrick, St Augustine, St Nicholas, Martin Luther, Adonirum Judson, Charles Spurgeon, John Bunyan, J.S. Bach, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, John Newton, John Bunyan, Suzanna Wesley, D.L. Moody, Jonathan Edwards, and the Four Chaplains of the Dorchester...and I hope to do more in the months & years to come. The lives of these anointed individuals are inspiring and instructive.