Category: Church History

Reformation as Rediscovery of the Gospel

Countless historians have gone to great lengths to explain the Reformation through social, political, and economic causes.[1] No doubt each of these played a role during the Reformation, and at times a significant role.[2] Yet most fundamentally, the Reformation was a theological movement, caused by doctrinal concerns.[3] Though political, social, and economic factors were important, observes Timothy George, “we must recognize that the Reformation was essentially a religious event; its deepest concerns, theological.”[4] What this means, then, is that we must be “concerned with the theological self-understanding” of the Reformers.[5] But more can be said. Yes, the Reformation was...

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Knowing Your Roots: The Place of Church History in the Christian Life

In recent weeks I’ve been asked a couple of questions that go along the lines of something like this “Why do you study Church History so much?” or even better “Why do you always lead off your sermons with some historical illustration, how is that applicable to me today?” As soon as this question is asked, I find myself methodically creating an argument for the importance of understanding church history as a modern day Christian. However, in recent days I have observed the argument has turned into the necessity of having an abundant knowledge of church history and how...

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The Five Solas of the Reformation and Their Importance Today

The Reformation in the 16th century is long known as a religious renewal which we refer to today as the Protestant Reformation. This movement is known to have changed the course of Western civilization, but what is often not understood about this event is that no one single man caused it. For example, it didn’t begin with Martin Luther (1483-1546) when he posted his Ninety-Five Theses on the church doors of Wittenberg on October 31, 1517. Luther’s “Tower Experience” is said to be where he came to grasp the definitive doctrine of the Reformation: justification by faith alone. With...

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Bold Reformers Refuse to Compromise the Truth

My grandfather, the late Rev. V.W. Steele, used to say, “Never compromise the truth.” “Don’t ever sell you soul for a mess of pottage,” Grandpa would surmise, with fire in his eyes. He understood the deadly influence of compromise, which plagued the church in his generation. He saw the crippling impact of liberalism, which waged war against the Bible and stifled the people of God. Few people listened to V.W. Steele’s counsel. Even fewer are listening today. So, compromise continues to make inroads in the lives of God’s people, in the local church, and in mainstream culture. The Trauma...

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A Short History of Catechisms and A Review of The New City Catechism

For the last year and a half I’ve had the privilege of using Tim Keller’s, New City Catechism. In this review I will give you the definition of catechesis, a brief history of catechisms in the Church,  as well as a few thoughts on how New City Catechism would be useful in the Church today. Dr. JI Packer says that Catechesis is “the church’s ministry of grounding and growing God’s people in the Gospel and its implications for doctrine, devotion, duty and delight.” Quite simply, it’s a method of oral instruction involving question and answer techniques.  But many today...

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