Church, Christianity, and History

Christians/churches are often prone to one of these two tendencies, as Carl Trueman notes:

“An idolatry of the new and the novel, with the concomitant disrespect for anything traditional; or a nostalgia for the past which is little more than an idolatry of the old and the traditional.  Both are disempowering: the first leaves the church as a free-floating anarchic entity which is doomed to reinvent Christianity anew every Sunday, and prone to being subverted and taken over by any charismatic (in the non-theological sense!) leader or group which cares to flex its muscle; the second leaves the church bound to the past as its leaders care to write that past and thus unable to engage critically with her own tradition.”

“Humble and critical engagement with history is thus imperative for the Christian: humble, because God has worked through history, and we would be arrogant simply to ignore the past as irrelevant; critical, because history has been made by sinful, fallen, and thus deeply fallible human beings, and thus is no pure and straightforward revelation of God.  It is this balance of humility and criticism that we must strike if we are truly to benefit from history.”

From Trueman’s fine collection of essays, The Minority Report (Scotland: Christian Focus Publications, 2008), 116-117.  By the way – it’s at less than $12, it’s a steal!

shane lems

sunnyside wa

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