Why Study Church History? Getting Beyond American-Evangelical Amnesia

As a teacher of church history I have to be able to answer the question – “Why do we need to learn this”. I think this blog gives some good answer. It’s not just American evangelicals who have short memories or love following the latest fads. We all need a sense of perspective – and a little humility about how much we think we’ve got “right” …

The Chief End of Man (Old Site)

image003The immortal line of the old song Wonderful World begins……“don’t know much about history….” It sentimentally reveals a deep bias in American life which disposes us to look down on what is old. We celebrate what’s hot. As historian Wil Durant once put it, “we Americans are the best informed people on earth as to the events of the last twenty-four hours; we are not the best informed as to the events of the last sixty centuries.”

Our culture disposes us to a short term memory. We’re a relatively young nation. We are present-oriented. And when it comes to the past, we have amnesia.  Sadly, American Evangelicalism does not escape these trends.

So what’s the benefit of studying history?  It’s massive!  Let me briefly outline some of the blessings of studying church history.

1          It reaffirms a Biblical value of looking to the past
Of course, the Bible celebrates what’s…

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