Someone has said that for many Christians, church history began with the first Billy Graham crusade. They think that as long as we derive our beliefs from the Bible, we can ignore the two-thousand-year history of God’s people. Church history, they reason, is really only of benefit to scholars and historians. What possible relevance could the past have for the present?
How easy it is to forget that we are heirs of a rich history that began with the New Testament and continues on to this present day. To study church history is to study the ways of God; it is to appreciate His providential guidance of His people. We forget that the better we understand yesterday, the better we will understand today.
“The Reformation” refers to a spiritual rebirth that took place in Europe back in the sixteenth century. Many of us believe that it is, by all accounts, the most important recovery of the gospel since the days of the New Testament. When the Reformers were forced to define their faith in the crucible of controversy and hot debate, their conclusions had ramifications that shook their world-and we can still feel their influence. Look around the evangelical world today and you’ll agree that we have to rediscover these same truths if we want our own churches to be all they can be for the glory of God.
Many people ignore the fundamental beliefs of the Reformation, thinking that there might be a better way to rescue our nation from the assault of secularism, pagan spirituality, and the proliferation of false religions. Others are unaware of what the fundamental issues of the Reformation really were, much less appreciate their relevance for today’s world. The doctrinal apathy among many Christians in our nation is deserving of tears.
– From Dr. Erwin Lutzer’s incredible book Rescuing the Gospel: The Story and Significance of the Reformation
Dr. Lutzer is finally taking a small group on a Reformation tour to England and Scotland! See a video of his recent teaching from our trip to Germany.