Church History Helps Us to Understand Theology Our Christian doctrine didn’t develop in a vacuum. Contrary to what some people believe, it was not shaped by a few men in some ancient church council. In fact, church councils have often been called to discuss and find biblical answers to questions that had been widely circulating among the people. For example, the Council of Nicea was the result of a long, even literal fight between the followers of Arius and those who maintained the doctrine of the full divinity of Christ. Most of the bishops who attended the council had suffered greatly under the Diocletian persecution. Some had lost some limbs or their sight.
the past. It’s much safer (and humbler) to sit on their shoulders, where we can interact with them, draw from their wisdom, and be deeply touched by their devotion. Simonetta Carr, a former elementary school teacher, has been a home-schooling mother for many years. As a writer, she has contributed to newspapers and magazines around the world and has translated the works of several Christian authors into Italian. Presently, she lives in San Diego with her husband Thomas and three of her eight children. She is a member and Sunday School teacher at Christ United Reformed Church. You can read more about her books and follow her blog at Christian Biographies For Young Readers (cbfyr.com).
To them, the doctrine of the true nature of Christ was of the utmost importance. An attendant to the council, Athanasius, continued to defend this doctrine at the cost of exile and under a constant threat of death. Reading about this passion challenges our insipid convictions and comfortable lives and moves us to take into deeper consideration that invaluable doctrine. Likewise, understanding Luther’s heartwrenching struggle of conscience and his gradual and conflicted discovery of the gospel gives us a much deeper understanding of this gospel and a fuller appreciation of its ramifications. In a sense, then, we are truly standing on the shoulders of the theological giants of our past and benefiting from their teachings. But just standing there and looking further might not do us much good. In fact, as history teaches us, it’s dangerous to look forward without a strong knowledge of www.credomag.com | 25