Friday, March 26, 2010

Trueman on knowing Church History


I have become a regular reader of Reformation 21, mostly because of the posts by Carl Trueman. I very much enjoy his insights and communication style. One of his recent posts details his recent trip to Rome and some teaching opportunities he had among Roman Catholics. Read his post here.

Here's a brief excerpt of Trueman's post that resonated with me as I am currently in the midst of studying Papal history for my doctoral work:

It is self-serving for a church historian to say this - though being self-serving does not make it any less true - that a knowledge of Catholicism is vital for Protestants, and vice versa. The theological and ecclesiastical upheavals of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, shaped as they undoubtedly were by wider factors such as economic, cultural, and political changes, are central to what both Catholicism and Protestantism became.

Catholicism is not simply Protestantism with different doctrines; while we share a common grounding in Nicea and Chalcedon, the two faiths have differing views of authority, of the sacraments, of the nature and function of faith, and of the nature of the church. In an era which oscillates between neglecting history and simply regarding history as something negative or oppressive, it is easy to lose sight of the significance of these differences and reduce them to Swift's Lilliputian struggles over which end of a boiled egg should be removed at the breakfast table; or to misunderstand the differences completely, and, as with the gentle priest who chaired my seminar in Trento, see them as purely matters of seditious individual ambition and the abuse of religious power.

Only a careful, articulate education in the history of Catholicism will help Protestants truly to understand it and, where necessary, argue against it; and the same holds true for Catholics. We cannot even agree to differ with any integrity if we have not taken the time to learn each other's history.

9 comments:

Andrew B. said...

So by your picture, what you are saying is that The Eastern Orthodox 'church' is the One True Church?

And at the time of The Great Schism, The Roman Catholics broke from the Orthodox and not vice versa?

Reepicheep said...

HA HA. No. More so than Rome anyways!!!

Since the "true" Church is invisible, I'm not sure how to illustrate Her in a picture.

This picture is obviously an Orthodox artists idea...

Hence the point of knowing Church History!

Brother Titus said...

Very curious questions: So, what is your doctoral line of study? And, what will your title be when you're done (i.e., Doctor of [What])? Well, congratulations (But, I realize you need to finish first.).

Brother Titus said...

Pastor, I just saw on the blog that you're now on Twitter. That's amazing. Plus, you preach, you blog; and, I've read here before that you're on Facebook, too. Plus - the rest of your life with your family and your doctoral work. Don't you get overwhelmed by it all? Or, did God give you the real ability for time management, so that you don't notice your "to-do" list all that much?

Reepicheep said...

BT, I'm hyper, it's not too tough keeping up really.

Reepicheep said...

BT,
I'm working on a Doctor of Arts in Religion through Whitefield Seminary. After I finish (Lord Willing) I can upgrade it to a Ph.D by doing a full original dissertation. The D.A.R requires an oral defense after the reading/research/writing is done. I'm really doing it just so my wife has to call me "Doctor". Ha ha.

Brother Titus said...

Well, hopefully you don't use that "doctor" line on your wife too often, because otherwise you may have to buy a microwave for your mancave at home to cook the only hot meals you'll be getting at home from then on.

Woody Woodward said...

What? No Rick Comment on this subject? He must be taking care of Dorothy and the new baby?

Rick Calohan said...

Woodster,

I concur with the statements by Trueman, and in the spirit of church unity, Lent, and Holy Week, I am abstaining from any negative comments towards non-Reform Christians. I praise God that by His Grace that I was able to study Ancient Church History, Reformation and Modern Church History, New Testament History, and Calvin’s Institutes via Access online at Covenant Theological Seminary under the tutelage of David B. Calhoun, Professor of Church History. B.A., Columbia International University; B.D. and Th.M., Covenant Theological Seminary; Th.M. and Ph.D., Princeton Theological Seminary and that by His Grace I was able to meet the Professor that had not only a profound impact on me but countless students including Pastors Tony and Nathan at Redeemer Presbyterian on Reformation Sunday 2008.

And yeah kind of busy these days with Dorothy, John Patrick and James Paul ; ) All Praise and Glory be to God Alone!