“He who does not learn from the past is condemned to repeat it.” George Santayana This applies to all of life, especially to leaders called to discern the movements of the Holy Spirit. The following is an 11-minute church history lesson. It is intended to encourage us to learn from streams in the global church that are vastly different from our own. Take a look.
The greatest richness and learning that comes out of us learning church history, especially early church history, is the perspective it gives us on the North American church. This leads me to the next few lessons. The first relates to the state of the church today in light of history. One twenty two year old in our church put it well: “I had no idea how weak we as the church in America are until I heard/saw all this.” This came out of listening to the purifying effect of the persecutions up to 311 ad where Christians experienced 129 years of persecution and only 120 years of relative peace. This eliminated any notion of half-way, nominal Christians rather quickly. Christianity is an Asian religion with rich African roots, not Western. They continually moved Eastward in their mission. Who knew there were three “Christian kingdoms” in Asia before the Roman Empire. One seminary alone, in. Read more.
One of the great challenges for leadership, and the church in any generation, is to see itself as clearly as possible within the large scheme of history so as to not limit or distort the gospel to a cultural, ethnic, or nationalistic agenda. How do I be a Christian in the 21st century West dominated by pleasure, comfort, money, secularism, upward mobility and in a conflict with Islam that looks like it will go on well-beyond our generation? How do we be the church when nominal Christianity is the norm ? Last week my good seminary friend, Scott Sunquist, came and taught a church history course at New Life on Friday night and all day Saturday. For twenty plus years, I have longed to partner with someone like Scott. He is a PHD from Princeton Theological Seminary, a former IVCF staff worker and now a professor at Pittsburg Theological Seminary. He has been studying and writing on. Read more.