Venturing Out into the Previous
Typically evangelicals view church historical past as if our principal custom is the final 5 hundred years—that’s Protestant historical past. Then you definately may make a second, extra tentative step into the earlier fifteen hundred years of church historical past.
With that, it’s kind of like Protestant theology is the citadel that you simply dwell in. These are the individuals that you simply see on a regular basis, after which sometimes, you may decrease the drawbridge and exit and discover within the forest surrounding the citadel, and interact with the theology of the early church or the medieval church.
All of Church Historical past
One of many issues that has inspired me to undertake a extra inclusive angle towards church historical past is the way in which the Reformers considered church historical past. They didn’t consider themselves as beginning a brand new custom. They not solely drew from the early church, however they solid their entire effort of reforming the church when it comes to going again to the purity of the early church.
All two thousand years of church historical past will be your theological neighborhood.
At one level Calvin mentioned, “All we’re trying to do is go back to the purity of the fourth century.” So I believe being a Protestant doesn’t imply you need to solely view one portion of church historical past as your custom and reject the others. I believe what it means is that you’ve Scripture over you as your authority for all of church historical past, together with Protestant church historical past. However all two thousand years of church historical past will be your theological neighborhood, and you may draw from the whole custom.
Gavin Ortlund is the creator of Theological Retrieval: Why We Want Our Previous to Have a Future.