I’ve been reading through a book called The Story of Christianity by Justo Gonzalez, which chronicles the history of The Church from the time of Christ all the way up to modern day. I’m reading the first volume (Christ to the Reformation) and it has been a fantastic read. If you’re looking for something to read this summer, I’d highly recommend it. Here are a couple things that I have been thinking about as I’ve read…
1) I take my faith for granted. As I have read about the how the church has spread and the lengths people took to preserve the Scriptures, witness to others, and combat heresies, I have grown in an appreciation for all those believers who have gone before me. I’ve often heard about numerous early church councils and all the doctrines they were discussing. But if it weren’t for their commitment to understand and preserve the teachings of Scripture, and if it weren’t for their love of God and devotion to Him, I probably would not be here. Christians who have come before us, if you’re reading this blog…Thank you!
2) The Church is full of messy people. It’s been exhausting and stressful to read about the shadiness of God’s people over the years. One example: for a time in the late Middle Ages (tenth through twelfth centuries), Simony was a common practice. This policy allowed people to buy and sell church positions, because at that time if you were in a position of leadership in the church, you had extreme power because of the land you possessed (which was the main measure of power back then). Imagine if the pastors of The Crossing started auctioning off elder positions to the highest bidder! Like I said – messy people.
3) God is faithful to His promises and His people. He wasn’t kidding around in Genesis 12:2 when He told Abraham “I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.” Despite the messiness in the history of the Church, God has been faithful. So much so that His Church is thriving and growing in parts of the world like never before (Latin America, Africa). The only reason you, me, and everyone else are believers and members of a church (and the only reason you even have a desire to read a blog like this!) is because of the grace of The Father through the Holy Spirit revealing the glories of the His Son Jesus to us. Praise God!