1. Church history can be a fun way of making a boring history lesson relevant to our church lives.
We can learn about things we see every week in church. It’s good to know where the sacraments of marriage and the Lord’s supper originated. We learn why we have only two sacraments instead of seven. Because we see these sacraments performed so often, knowing their history gives us a deeper and richer understanding of why we do things. This knowledge should only serve to further strengthen our faith.
We discover how we fit into history and into God’s plan. We discover why we do things, and why we don’t do other things. Through church history, we learn why it is we have fought tooth and nail for some things, but have let liberty rule other areas in church life.
2. Church history draws a direct connection between the work of Jesus and the trajectory of history.
In church history, we learn the actions of Jesus has had effects that have continued throughout history. We see how Christianity has grown from a religion of a few obscure people in the first century to the biggest religion on the earth, estimated to include 30% of the world’s population.
3. Knowing church history leads to a better understanding of theology.For example, knowing the five points of Calvinism was originally a rebuttal to the Arminians five articles of belief is useful knowledge because where we stand on these theologies deeply affect our view of God. Knowing Martin Luther’s magnum opus, Bondage of the Will, was a rebuttal to the common heresy of the day, free will (propounded at the time by Desiderius Erasmus) is useful as it, profoundly affects our belief in God’s omnipotence and willingness to ‘interfere’ in our lives.
4. Knowing church history shows us why protestants are protestants and Catholics are Catholics.Why aren’t all Christians just one big happy family? Whether you wish for unity with Catholics or not, church history shows why Christians have so many denominations, starting with the big split with the Catholic church in the 1500s. Church history also shows us how the Anabaptists formed, and when (and why) Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses popped up. Church history reveals the gross corruption of the popes and their persecution of pious Christians who wanted to read the Bible for themselves.
5. Church history isn’t boring.It’s filled with adventure, the likes of Robinson Crueso. There are plenty of fun, weird and wonderful facts about prominent characters in the church. For example:
6.Studying saints’ biographies is fascinating!
This cloud of witnesses should spur us on to live for Christ. Every time I sing Amazing Grace, I think of John Newton’s life. Although he had a hard life, Newton experienced grace repeatedly in his life. So many times, he should have been killed, but for God’s grace. Looking at Adoniram Judson’s life of great faith also makes me reflect on my own life and ask what am I giving up for the sake of the gospel.
7.In today’s age of scepticism, church history is a great tool for teaching our children faith isn’t something that’s just been dropped on us in the last few years.
This has the effect of anchoring kids in truth. Knowing Christianity has its roots in the beginning of creation gives children a stronger faith.