I know most of us get just about all our knowledge about church history from our church run bible studies. It seems that most of the professional clergy, meaning those who earn money from their participation in church, only seem to want to give us the good side of history. The old saying that “history belongs to the victors” is also true in the Christian church. It seems local pastor/priests, seminary professors, theologians, and such don’t really come out and tell the average layman just how messy Christian church history is, that is if they even know it themselves. They tend to want you to see a very logical and God-guided progression from point A to point B to point C.
After even my initial studies I found that church history is a very messy topic indeed. It is full of contradictions and power struggles. There is definitely a dark side in the history of the church that often doesn’t come to light. In that way it pretty much reflects the world around it. Like it or not most of the struggles are around getting and maintaining power. Of course with power also comes one degree of corruption. Church history has some of that also.
One of the things I will be discussing soon is about faith and belief. Many today tend to blend these two things together but they were in fact VERY different things in the early church. Another advanced warning is that although our Bible contains early church history it is by no means the only source. There have been recent discoveries that shed additional and sometimes contradictory light on what actually happened during those early years. In this study we will be looking at some of the gospels and other early writings that were not included in the fourth century compilation of our current day bible. Some of them, as is even possible with the four in our bible, are likely forgeries meaning that they were not written by the person identified in their titles. But even the forgeries are very useful in helping to give us the complete story.
I will be talking quite extensively about the effect the Roman ruler Constantine had on the history of the church. In short he changed everything and some, if not much of it, was for the worse rather than the better. I was surprised just how much detail is available from this period of church history.
That is enough for now. As you can see from even this post we will be looking into corners of church history that are not typically taught to laymen such as us. Of course I will be giving the good but I will not skip over the bad. It also is an integral part of church history. In order to make things better tomorrow we need to know the whole story of how we got to where we are today. I’m not sure just how long this study will run so I will just let it run its course. It would not surprise me to see this study exceed the three years of the one into Jesus’ words but I have no way of knowing that right now..
Until the next time I bid you peace…..