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.
Evangelicals have often not done well when it comes to church history. We have often so over-reacted against the Roman Catholic church and its understanding of Tradition (please note the capital T) that we avoid it completely (even tradition with a small t). This is unwise and unhealthy, and it has adversely affected Evangelicals over the years.
Thankfully, though this is being rectified, we still have a long way to go. As a small antidote, here is a brief reminder of the important role church history plays in the lives of Christians and the life of the Church.
Church history helps us realize that people are people in any age. And some issues seem to surface in every age of the church because the universal denominator is the same: people.
It helps us to see things through the lens of church history. There are no new problems; just new versions of old ones. And there are not many new solutions. In fact, it is often the case that the best solutions are old ones; the kind that have been tested in the crucible of time. Church history helps us think clearly about the old and the new with the hope that one could repeat the best of the past while leaving behind the worst.
"Something Old or Something New? The Clarifying Value of Church History" by Mark Vroegop, The College Park Blog (September 28, 2012)