Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Church History in Plain Language

I'm spending a few minutes of my morning time reading a chapter from Bruce Shelley's Church History in Plain Language.  The chapters are small enough to read quickly, narrative enough to be fun and informative enough to be instructive.  There's real power and joy and lessons in reading the story of God's people as a community and as individuals.  Shelley keeps it moving, as he says was one of his goals, and tells great stories.  

It's a large book but it's amazing how much we can read and what progress we can make by reading a manageable chunk daily.  Shelley has made each chapter the perfect length.

I've taken seminary courses on Church history but this book is honestly just as helpful, if not more so.  What is the saying that tose who fail to know history are doomed to repeat it?  Knowing Church history gives us the ability to acknowledge ancient heresies and attacks in their modern skins.

So far this is a must read.  Thanks for the recommendation @joshuareitano.  Now if only I could require all our Confirmands to read it...

Some quotes from today's chapter:

"...the attempt to tie the gospel to the latest theories of men is self-defeating.  Nothing is as fleeting in history as the latest theories that flourish among the enlightened and nothing can be more quickly dismissed by later generations."

"In orthodox Christianity redemption came not by some secret knowledge of spiritual realms but by God's action in history." 

"Man's evil is not in his body; it is in his affections.  He loves the wrong things.  This affliction is so deep, so basic to man's life on earth, that only a special Savior can free him from himself...Man does not need a teacher.  He needs a Savior."

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