Friday, July 24, 2009

Trueman: The Case for Church History

Some guest posts from Carl Trueman at The Sola Panel on the importance of church history:
  1. The Theological Importance of Criminal Profiling
  2. Sticking It to the Man
  3. Learning from the Pretenders
Here's an excerpt:
. . . [I]n affirming the value of their history and the sovereignty of their God, the church stands as a witness against the wider culture, which throws off the claims of God and, from science to teen culture, despises the past as any source of wisdom for the present, let alone the future.

Thus, stuffy and archaic as some would see it, the recitation of the Apostles' Creed is potentially the most dangerously subversive act of cultural terrorism one might engage in on a Sunday. Far from being a hidebound exercise in dusty conservatism, it is potentially an act of absolute rebellion and revolution against the system, the man, the company, the establishment, the corporation or simply ‘them’—however one wishes to characterize those who hold the levers of cultural power.

And what is true of the Creed is surely true of history in general. The historian of the church (the one who is committed by conviction and equipped by training to study the past—the one who is committed and equipped to demonstrate that, despite the received wisdom, we are connected to the past, that studying the past enables us to understand the present better, and that learning from the past helps us to articulate the faith with more self-awareness and self-reflection)—the historian of the church is the one who has a key role to play in the unit of countercultural resistance that is the local church.