I have profited greatly from my Church History course at Reformed Theological Seminary. While I wouldn’t expect someone to enroll at RTS simply to take the class, there is no need! Thanks to technology and the glory of the internet, you can go and download the lectures for free at iTunes U. Consider this my endorsement.
After having completed the course, I had a few more thoughts regarding Church History.
- History confirms human nature. There are a plethora of things that have changed since the early church. Cultures have come and gone, empires fallen, discoveries and advances made. But one thing that has not changed is the human problem. While technology or culture may shade or color the manifestation of sin, the problem of sin is as old and constant as the garden of Eden.
- Honest church history (and history in general) ought to mitigate against chronological snobbery. C.S. Lewis described chronological snobbery as the false assumption that the present and all that it entails is intrinsically superior to the past. With so much focus on the present in social media, the publishing of new, exciting books, new TVs shows, new iPhones, new everything, there seems to be an abiding focus on both the blessed present and the hopeful future. After studying some of the triumphs and the failures of the past, such intrinsic optimism seems misplaced. I don’t think it demands that you be pessimistic about the present. It just keeps us honest.
- There is so much more to learn. Of all the courses that I’ve taken, it seems that Church History has left me with the one of the greatest senses of inadequacy. I would imagine that I suffer from “knowing enough to be dangerous.” I hope that with a continued pursuit, I can further benefit from the lessons of the past.