Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Foundation of Church History

Many view church history as the history of all denominations. Seeing how that a 'church' is considered to be anything that one claims it to be or that 'the church' is all of Christendom, a proper study of church history is hard to come by. From our studies, we have seen that a true church is not what is described above, but those churches that have authority from the Lord, hold to New Testament Doctrine, and practice New Testament polity, and identify themselves as such. A true church is made up of saved, properly baptized, believers organized together to fulfill the commission. There will be a sought out purity, a Theocratic/congregational government, soul liberty, with the Word of God being the absolute Authority and the church the executive and authority in all church matters.
It is more of a challenge to study true church history due to the fact that for centuries true churches were hated, murdered, and persecuted as heretics. Their records burnt and destroyed, their churches forced into secrecy, and their writings condemned as heresy by both Catholic and Protestant. Most 'church history' books today are or are based upon Catholic and Protestant historians and view points.
It is therefore, without shame, that I confess that my study is a study of true church history, one can say, Baptist history. It is my desire to remind our generation and the one to come of the men and ladies who gave their lives, gave up their vocations, saw family and relatives put to death for the same faith we so freely enjoy today.
We owe them! We owe them more than to keep making heroes in our Christian Schools out of Calvin and Luther who put our fore-fathers to death for OUR FAITH. We owe them more than to keep praising the Anglicans and Puritans who beat Obadiah Homes for refusing a false baptism and church. We don't even know who men like Shubal Stearns, Isaac Backus, John Clarke, and Jenkin Jones are. We think the Waldensians are people that look for a poor sighted boy that wears red and white stripes! We must learn our history!
The legacy of failure to have taught these things in generations past is evident in the readiness with which members of Baptist churches change their affiliation to heretical churches. -J.W. GriffithA Manual of Church History

We must, as Baptists, study our church history. A proper study of true church history will remind us of the promises of God. We will see our Lord's hand in protecting His churches and ensuring that perpetuity promised to them. A proper study will also revive us in the pursuit of purity. When we understand what it cost those before us in the faith to preserve for us what we liberally enjoy today, it should make us "stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord." 1 Cor. 15:8. There is a generation following us, will they find faith?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Church's Past

Thus far we have spent a good deal of time studying and re-examing church practices, church pretenders, and now we will begin a study of the church's past. There are a myriad of books covering the subject of church history, and it is not my intent to exhaustivaly study the topic. I do desire to give honor to whom honor is due. I do desire to show gratitude to our Baptist fore-fathers, many of whom died a martyr's death so that we may have what we have today.
I believe it should be clear by now, but our church history starts with the church that our Lord Jesus began in His earthly ministry with that of His disciples. Our church history does not include the Catholic Church, protestant churches, or any man made denomination. Our church fore-fathers do not include men like Martin Luther, John Calvin, or Zwingli.
I believe it is imparative that we study and know our church's history. I believe most Baptist do not know their history, and the result has been a watered down doctrine and watered down separation. We have allowed our Abeka and Bob Jones curriculums to teach our children a false church history. We have glorified Luther, the Puritans, Anglicans, and Calvin and made them honorary Hebrews 11 inductees.
May we take a fresh look, allow the Lord to show us truth, and honor with a grateful heart those that took a stand for our faith.