Growing up in the George household meant that whenever we took a trip of any kind a history lesson was inevitably going to happen. We stopped at what seemed like every historical marker, road sign, marker or plot of ground where something historically significant had taken place. You would not believe how many empty fields I’ve had to look at in my upbringing! Our trips to Colorado took forever because of this tradition. Looking back on it now I’m thankful for the energy my parents spent in teaching us the past. Each of my brothers and I now have an interest and respect for history and its significance. Case in point, my brother Luke is raising goats and their names are all of great explorers through the ages. And if you know the nature of goats, it quite appropriate.
Church history is a trail of signs and markers that are an invaluable guide to help us in the present day church. The history of the church is a beacon for us today. It guides us in orthodoxy and sound doctrine, keeps us from heresy, and is the record of God’s outworking in providence and the visible work of his Spirit in the lives of his people.
The Reformation and the figures that we are familiar with have impacted all of us is some form or fashion: John Hus, John Wycliff, Martin Luther, Phillip Melanchthon, William Farel, John Calvin, Theodore Beza, Martin Bucer and many more. It reminds me in part of Gods faithfulness in Romans 11:4,
“I have kept for myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.”
This is in reference to Elijah crying out to God at the lack of faithful worshipers of the God of Hosts in I Kings 19.
During the Reformation in the stagnant condition of the Roman church the Spirit of God moved in a way that has similarities of the apostolic age. The Lord upholds his people. The Lord keeps those who are his and in his providence he gave to his church men understanding and love of his word.
Looking back to the history of the church can help keep us from heterodoxy and being flattered by every wind of doctrine (Eph 4). All through the ages there are visible sign posts of what the Spirit of God has done to keep his church progressing forward.
He is active and faithful and we are a part of that history.