• What’s the best way to help people at your church learn church history? Question and Answer

    I’m not sure why you wouldn’t want to offer a separate class in church history, because it is a distinct discipline. Certainly you can encourage some interest in church history in a sermon, occasionally having an illustration out of church history. When talking about prayer, particularly the prayers of parents for their children, preachers have often talked about Augustine’s mother Monica. When she saw him leave the church and, for a time, really commit himself to an anti-Christian philosophy and lifestyle, she prayed for him and beseeched the Lord to move him. The Lord heard those prayers, and Augustine gave … View Resource

  • What are your favorite classic works throughout church history? Question and Answer

    You could have one for every century. I only have ninety seconds, so we’ll skip a few centuries. In the early church, I love the Martyrdom of Polycarp, which is a second century text. It gives us fresh insight into what was happening in the church at that time. It helps us think about what it means to be a Christian in a culture that is hostile to Christianity. The Martyrdom of Polycarp is the first stop. Then we’ll skip a bit to the 400’s. We’ll pick up Augustine’s Confessions and Leo’s Tome. A “tome” is a big book, but … View Resource

  • What level of importance should church history have in my walk as a Christian? Question and Answer

    First of all, at the ordinary level, these folks are your family as a Christian, and it really is terrific to get to know them. The second thing is that the more we know about the past, the more we are preserved from repeating the mistakes of the past. The third thing is that we learn that even our heroes had feet of clay. That’s a very important lesson for us to learn so that we don’t engage in a kind of guru idolatry in our time. Then, speaking personally, I think ordinary Christians can best learn about the history … View Resource

  • What is the greatest challenge in the church today? Question and Answer

    I think the greatest challenge in the church today is probably no different from any day, and that is that if we really believe in God and His sovereignty we’ll learn to pray together. One of the things that has always burdened me is that in the life of the church it’s the prayerlessness of the church that stands out most of all. Also, I think another challenge in the church is this: that life is becoming tremendously dysfunctional, especially in the Western world. Families are becoming tremendously dysfunctional. We can moan and groan and lament that, but one of … View Resource

  • How did the early church fathers interpret the “rock” of Matthew 16? Question and Answer

    Matthew 16:18

    I would say if this were the lightning round we could say, true. The notion that Peter himself was the rock rather than his confession being the rock seems first to be articulated by a bishop of Rome in the third century. Now, the third century is very early relative to us, but it’s a long time after Jesus—two hundred and fifty years after Jesus. And this is a sort of solitary point of view of the bishop of Rome initially, not even followed up by all later bishops of Rome in the ancient church period. So yes, I think, … View Resource

  • What is the mission of God as we look to the next 500 years? Question and Answer

    2 Corinthians 12:9-10

    GODFREY: As I sat listening to the international panel, one of the things that struck me was how truly global Christianity is today, much more so than it was at the time of the Reformation. And to some extent that is the fruit of the Reformation, and we can really rejoice in that. But the historian in me sat and pondered those parts of the world that once were full of churches and Christians and gospel-light, where that light has so significantly gone out. I’ve been contemplating writing a book for which I have a title. I have a friend … View Resource

  • How should the North American and global church pray for and serve each other? Question and Answer

    LOPES: I think one of the ways that churches in the Global South can help the Western church is to remind them of the need to remain faithful to Scripture. I know there are exceptions, but as you look as a whole, it appears that the churches that are growing in the Global South have a stronger faith in the authority of Scripture, and they are willing to die for that and to live out what they believe is the Word of God. I say that there are exceptions, of course. I know that the church in the West has … View Resource

  • Why should I become a formal church member? Question and Answer

    By however a church does it, and churches do it in different ways, what we are actually doing by becoming a formal member is saying “I’m committing myself to you. I’m committing myself to the Lord, and I’m committing myself to you.” That brings together two really important elements in the Christian life: our faith and trust in Christ and our life for Him; but also our commitment to all those in the fellowship to whom He has committed Himself. Becoming a formal member of the church is very, very important, because if you don’t do it, in a sense … View Resource