Don Sweeting lists some of the blessings of studying church history:
- It reaffirms a Biblical value of looking to the past.
- It tells us the rest of the story.
- It frees us from faddishness.
- It is an antidote to arrogance.
- It exposes us to some of the issues faced by the church in every age.
- It helps us see further than we naturally can on our own.
- It gives us insight into our own culture.
- It provides warnings about what to look out for and what not to do.
- It can be used to spark a longing for awakening and revival.
- It Implants hope in dark times.
- It offers company and help in difficult seasons of ministry.
Read the whole post for more explanation of these points.
Last week I listened to these talks by Michael Haykin (Sermon Audio) and recommend them to you. If you don’t know much about church history, Haykin’s lectures are a good place to start.:
Next up on my audio list is a biographical sketch of Thomas Cramner.
Update: In the comments, Juanita pointed me to a few messages on revival in 18th century England that Michael Haykin gave recently at a conference at her church.
Peter Leithart recommends Robert Louis Wilken’s The First Thousand Years: A Global History of Christianity. He calls it “a substantial historical study,” but also one that “assumes little prior knowledge.” I’m thinking of buying it for my church library.