Greg Strand is EFCA executive director of theology and credentialing, and he serves on the Board of Ministerial Standing as well as the Spiritual Heritage Committee. He and his family are members of Northfield (Minnesota) EFC.
Don Sweeting, President of Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando Florida, writes of the importance of church history for American Evangelicals: “Why Study Church History? Getting Beyond American-Evangelical Amnesia”
Sweeting lists 11 reasons, which I highlight:
Church history is one of the most helpful studies in the preparation of Christian ministers. It gets us beyond our natural shortsightedness, faddishness and pride. It becomes a source of warning, wisdom and encouragement. It provides spiritual sparks to awaken us and lift our eyes so that we might have renewed hope. And it gets us beyond our own American evangelical amnesia.
I would draw two conclusions. First, Sweeting’s reference to “amnesia” would mean that at some point in the past, something of our history was known. That is stated a bit more optimistic than may be warranted. I am not sure the history has been known, so there is not something there to forget. Second, the only thing I would add to Sweeting’s post is an exhortation to study church history!
In a future post, I will provide a reading list for those interested in heeding the exhortation.