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     The sign outside the building reads, “The church of Christ Meets Here – Established in 33 AD.” In other words, we are the direct descendants of the original church founded by Jesus. We claim no affiliation with any Christian person or any Christian group that lived after the death of the last Apostle. We follow only the Bible (sola scriptura) and, for the most part, disregard the almost 2000 years of history that has shaped Christianity.

     That is our claim but, in my judgment, it is not entirely our practice—nor should it be. The fact is that every Christian group today has been formed to some degree by the history of Christianity.

     Take, for example, the doctrine of the Trinity. The word “trinity” is not in the Bible. Furthermore, the theological concept of the trinity is nowhere fully delineated in the Scriptures. The idea of the Trinity, however, is what sets Christianity apart from other major religious traditions.

     The development of the Doctrine of the Trinity is the result of a lengthy process that began with the witness of the first century Christians, proceeded through an elaborate discussion among the early church fathers, and concluded its first chapter with the so-called Cappadocian formulation. This formulation was codified into creeds produced at the ecumenical councils at Nicea and at Constantinople.

     The fact is that if you believe in the Doctrine of the Trinity, and I assume that most people reading this article do, then the precise details of what you believe about the triune nature of YHWH God do not come directly from Scripture but, rather, from the Doctrine of the Trinity as it has been hammered out through the course of Church history.

     The point is that because we are beings encapsulated within time we are products—to one degree or another—of history. We may not knowingly form our thoughts based exclusively upon history; however, if we are honest we must confess that many of the Christian doctrinal beliefs and religious practices we hold dear have been shaped by Christian thinkers other than the original Apostles.

     The truth is that we DO have a history. I would rather study that history openly in order to learn from it than I would to deny that we have one. The danger of denying that we have a history is that we can blindly hold to religious beliefs and practices with no direct knowledge or understanding of their sources.

4 Responses to “Do We Have a History?”

  1. Darlene Says:

    Found your blog thru Dwight’s. Looking forward to reading. Love you guys,
    Darlene

  2. rolando martinez Says:

    I do not believe in the trinity and am glad to see that you understand it is because of church history this concept was formed.

    In church history the books were added, subtracted, added again and so forth. In Christianity, there are today less and more books in the NT. Who is correct? Even those that have the 27 books have many bibles that have different translations.

    There are over 2,000 different denominations of Christians, who is correct?

    Did Jesus indeed establish a “new church” or was his purpose to bring the people of Judah to the kingdom of God? Many questions but few answers.

    Since neither the non denomination or denominational churches at this time recognize the Roman Catholic Church as the head of Christianity how can a statement such as the history of the church fathers as hammered out by them be accepted as valid?

    Since I do not believe that anyone me included can be completely objective it is difficult to discuss things without our prejudices getting in the way.

    My belief is that one of the hardest things in this life is to ADMIT TO ONESELF that they have be wrong. Blessings, Rolando

  3. Scott Walker Says:

    Dear Brother Bob,
    I was given your blog by one of our members because I am currently teaching a class on the roots of the restoration. I am an unqualified and untrained lover of history and I have been reading a lot over the past few years about early church history 30-300 and the reformation and the restoration. It is very interesting to me to see the similarities between those three periods. I agree with what you said in your blog. My opinion is that the humanist basis of the reformation in the renessance is really the source of our thinking about scripture interpretation and ultimately penchant for division. I think that our founding fathers (Campbells, Stone,…) would be ashamed of what we have done to a “unity” movement. I resently told our class that I have no desire to be distinguised by “church of Christ”, “Christian Church” or “Disciple of Christ” but if I must have a tag I would prefer “restoration church”. Anyway, just wanted you to know that I appreciate what you said in your blog.
    May God Richly Bless your day!
    Scott Walker
    elder Lafayette Church of Christ
    Ballwin, MO

  4. Edward Fudge Says:

    I applaud your insistence that we do have a history and that we will not have the most accurate insight into who we are, and why we are who we are, until we acknowledge and seek to understand that history. That is what I have tried to do, in light of the gospel, in a little booklet titled “The Restoration Movement Fulfilled in Jesus Christ,” available only online but free of charge at http://www.EdwardFudge.com/written/restmvmnt.html

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