Posts Tagged ‘Church History’

I know, especially among undergrad Christians, its really popular to be anti-denominational.  That’s good in a sense because it reflects a sincere desire to be united and affective in shining forth Christ to our world.  But sometimes it seems like it’s just a fad, a pet cause, a way of rebelling against the system.  Church historian Carl Truemen captures the tension well:

The problem comes, of course, from the fact that denominations often exist for very good reasons; because people have strong opinions about things that matter. They may be wrong, but they have strong opinions about things one should have strong opinions about. J. Gresham Machen…talking about the dispute between Luther and Zwingli on the Lord’s Supper in the 16th Century said, ‘it was a tragedy that Protestantism split over a disagreement on the Lord’s Supper, but it would have been a much greater tragedy if Protestantism had been united because neither Luther or Zwingli thought the Lord’s Supper was really that important.’

Trueman has always been one of my favorite authors/lecturers.  His sharp, witty style is always fun to read as well as keenly insightful, and he has an ability to analyze history and make it relevant to today.

Like in these lectures.

He blogs here.

Good reads: 

Trapped in Neverland

From the Versace Vacuum to the Brand of Brothers

Goodbye Larry King, Hello Jerry Springer!

Newsweek on Gay Marriage

A Good Creed Seldom Goes Unpunished

On Meeting Joe Frazier: The Missing Element of Modern Theology

A Little Bit of Comfort for Machen’s Worrier Children


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Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature. 1 Corinthians 14:20.

What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. Ecclesiastes 1:9

Reading church history has shown me very clearly that nearly every new heresy or problem in the church is really not new at all. I have read authors from past centuries on different continents who seem to be describing 21st century America.

The depreciating of clear thinking and clear speaking about God by those who claim to profess belief in him is not unique to our generation. J.C. Ryle saw the same problem ravaging the church of England in the late 1800’s. He called it, in his classic work Holiness, “that vague, dim, misty, hazy kind of theology which is so painfully current in the present age.” Today this fog is not only tolerated but valued. Theology that seeks to articulate truth is scorned and seen as un-useful and outdated, or worse, Modern (gasp). “Things are out of place,” continues Ryle, “and out of proportion. As old Latimer would have said, it is a kind of ‘mingle mangle,’ and does no good. It neither exercises influence on daily conduct, nor comforts in life, nor gives peace in death; and those who hold it often awake too late to find that they have nothing solid under their feet.”

Here’s a fine example of Mingle Mangle. This comes from the description of Peter Rollins’ new book, The Fidelity of Betrayal: Towards a Church Beyond Belief.

“What if one of the core elements of a radical Christianity lay in a demand that we betray it, while the ultimate act of affirming God required the forsaking of God? And what if fidelity to the Judeo-Christian scriptures demanded their renunciation? In short, what if the only way of finding real faith involved betraying that faith with a kiss, like Judas did to Christ?”

Sometimes Phil Johnson’s Po-Motivators sum up best:

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