If I were to write down all historical events in church history, it would be too many to cite. If I were to write and reflect on them, those ideas as well would be too broad to discuss. Perhaps there will always be something worth noting when we talk about history. But if there’d be anything worth noticing I believe it would be to find truths that will surpass the limits of time. Those I think. are the timeless truths that teach us and guide us as we learn from the past. Lessons that are, forever true and applicable even today. In this blog entry, I aim to give some thoughts on such timeless truths.
1. To start with, historical truth proves the credibility of the Bible and the divine Author behind it. As we look through history and how the Bible itself was formed; we can see very clearly that no other book can compare to the Bible’s history. From the time when it was merely a collection of manuscripts until ita compilation into the book we now have; it has already surpassed countless attacks to its authenticity and doctrine. No other book in history has cost the lives of so many faithful people who died to protect a book’s integrity. It was formed from numerous persecutions and hard work by the people who lived for what it taught. Countless Kings have attempted to erase it from the face of the planet but none of them have succeeded in doing so. Now I don’t know about you, but to me those facts are too extraordinary to have been caused by mere chance or natural power. No man made achievement could compare to what the Bible has gone through. It is undeniably clear, that the Bible could not have survived if it were not for the divine hand that was guiding it step by step until it became the book (or should I say app) we are holding in our hands today. The bible was written and handed down manually from generation to generation, spread throughout Asia, faced persecution, was considered a fallacy, compiled, ordered to be burned, and such yet it still managed to stand strong to this day. Back then, it would have probably been very difficult to understand, but as we look back from where we are now, we cannot find any other explanation that would suffice to how all those events occurred by mere chance.
2. History helps us understand why the church is as it is today. Today we have various denominations of Christianity that are distinct yet are still closely related to each other. Each denomination has its own unique characteristic and as it is so, each also has its own history as to how it emerged. I believe it is very important to understand the hows and whys that were involved in these stories and how each school of thought is correlated to one another. It would be safe to say that each denomination was a product of educated men who stood up for what they knew was right from the teachings of the Bible. It would then be a shame to those great minds [some who died for doing so] to be ignorant of whatever doctrine we identify ourselves with and how it came to be. Those events where it involved men and women who dared to question what authorities claimed, sought to find God in the midst of a fallen society, and whom spent their entire lives to help preserve the original message of Christianity. It gives as clarity.
3. History prevents us from repeating mistakes from the past. Throughout time, it would be foolish to deny that Christianity has at some point, made numerous mistakes and to some, a huge mess in history. There were numerous injustices throughout the church’s history that were not made by those who opposed Christianity but by those who claimed to be of the Christian faith themselves. There were persecutions, murders, political plots, lies, heresies, deceptions, manipulation, and almost every kind of bloodshed and civil injustice that man can think of, that were initiated by those who claim to be under the banner of Christianity; to both fellow Christians and those who do not believe in Christianity. History is littered with these heinous acts; the crusades and some inquisitions are a very good example of this. Sad as these events may seem, most of these events happened because there were powerful men whom with their ideals pursued what they thought was the truth. Whether they meant to do that intentionally or unintentionally, only God will be the judge of that. But still we cannot avoid the fact that those acts by those men and the consequences that lead to those events have left stains on the name of Christianity that will never be erased. The damages caused by those events have been so devastating to the point that those accounts are being used today as proof of the Scripture’s fallacy. We can only hope that the decisions we make today will be the catalyst towards a better future for the next wave of Christians.
4. History shows us that God is in control. As I mentioned in the previous paragraphs, it is very clear that from Christianity’s beginnings until its current state today, the processes that had to take place were very fragile and full of human error. Who would’ve thought that the Bible which used to be a collection of manuscripts would emerge into a highly authoritative book in Christianity today? Who would have thought that there was hope when Christianity’s teachings have been so distorted and implemented incorrectly that it was causing more harm than good? Who would have expected that Christianity could survive after all the mistakes that occurred because of man’s hasty selfish ambitions? No one could! But apparently Christianity has remained alive to this day. There were numerous events both good and bad that helped shape Christianity today. And we cannot deny that those events could not have happened by accident. Each event was carefully planned by an intelligent divine hand that guided history so carefully so that the true message of Christianity will remain regardless of how much man can mishandle the Scriptures. In the eyes of man, the events that occurred seemed out of control and almost hopeless; but in the plans of God, everything was part of the plan. All of it was part of his bigger plan. Therefore we can trust that He would not allow any idea or action to interfere with His original plans. What we have on Christianity today is a mirror of that guidance.
5. It shows God’s love for mankind. Throughout history, we can see how God sovereign as He is, chose to show countless times his great compassion to his creation; mankind. We cannot help but notice how history repeats itself in a very simple cycle. We can clearly see how again and again, man has chosen to turn away from God or distort the Scriptures and how God uses people to eventually bring them back to the true meaning of Christianity through reforms. These great men who were now known as reformers are a very good example of this. History in a sense, tells us of God’s unfailing love and his faithfulness even in the midst of peoples’ unfaithfulness. It tells us of his love story; his story of salvation, to mankind and his desire to bring us into redemption over and over again. How can anyone argue with a loving God like that? No words can fathom how much God loves mankind and how deep his logic is compared to ours.
Indeed, all those events were for the benefit of mankind. But there is a bigger picture that can be seen, a much bigger picture that encompasses both God and human beings alike. It shows that God is indeed a living God and that the teachings of the Scriptures are infallible. Whether we view history from a Christian point of view or not, we cannot help but notice how Christianity has shaped the world so much that it could not have been caused by any natural occurrence or man made achievement. Christianity has influenced the world so much that it seems it becomes very clear that it is not like any other occurrence that the world has ever seen. Christianity is so knitted into world history that it looks as if Christianity is the back bone of the entire universe; the very core in which the world and all events revolve around all this time.