I’ve found myself in an unusual situation. For most of my life, I’ve believed Jesus to be the Lord of the world and worthy of our adherence. I’ve gone on mission trips to tell people the good news. I’ve told people that this should be the focus of their lives … and yet, I don’t know too much about the history of my own faith.
Hence the question of this post:
Why don’t more churches teach church history?
In my experience, pastors don’t venture out past Revelation. They may include a quote by one of the Church Fathers or make reference to the Council of Nicea. But church history largely went undiscussed.
As a result of this silence, here’s the type of “history” I’ve been taught by churches:
- The apostles (as recorded in Acts)
- Post-New Testament era: Council of Nicea, good. No mention of the other councils.
- Protestant Reformation (yay, Martin Luther! … oh, and maybe Calvin, too.)
No discussion of the councils. No analysis of the Arian or Nestorian controversies, to name two. No exploration of the divide between the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches. No mention of Thomas Aquinas or the saints (with the exception of St. Franics of Assisi). No thought into the Luther-Zwingli divide over the nature of the Eucharist or Calvin’s sometimes strained relationship with other Protestants outside Geneva. Nothing.
I have an idea as to why this may be, but first I want to hear from other folks:
Why do you think churches don’t delve more into their own histories?