Editor’s Note: This article is part of a series on “Learning Humility through Church History” by Jason Duesing, vice president for strategic initiatives and assistant professor of historical theology at Southwestern Seminary. To read other articles in this series, click here.
The study of the history of Christianity forces a confession of ignorance. Just as Martin Luther quipped to Desiderius Erasmus, “Your thoughts of God are all too human,” the student of the history of Christianity soon realizes that there is a similar humanness to our thinking with regard to God’s work in history. We know little and, sadly, too often care little about that which could change much of what we believe and much of how we live.
Students today are more equipped to discuss the world of popular culture than the near-ancient worlds of Christian culture. The tragedy here is that the two worlds, ancient and modern, are not that different. Sin is still sin, God is still God, and man is still man regardless if he reads Charles Simeon or watches Dwight Schrute.
Sin is still sin, God is still God, and man is still man regardless if he reads Charles Simeon or watches Dwight Schrute.
Knowledge of such will warn students of the perils of our current situation, while at the same time giving them a promise of hope that change can come. For example, studying the revival that was the Reformation reveals that the intervention of God in the lives and hearts of men and women can drastically change all that is accepted as the status quo. This warning and promise benefits students only when they first admit they do not have the knowledge of such warnings and promises.