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Sunday, February 05, 2023
church & ministry
Burden of a Post-80s Preacher: How Can Rural Believers Learn Church History?
A picture shows remains of a church building.A picture shows remains of a church building.

It is generally believed that for a long time, rural churchgoers have generally lacked the study and knowledge of church history. Actually, many of them almost haven’t touched this field at all.

Recently, a pastor named C (pseudonym), who serves in a rural church in Central China said that he had always borne the burden of hoping to lead believers to learn church history, but had not put his thoughts and burdens into action.

C said that without studying and understanding church history, believers could easily be converted by heretics or even cults. Afterward, they still believed that they had benefited much and their horizon had been widened due to their ignorance of not studying the church history well. "What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9) Many heresies of today had already happened in history. Therefore, it is indeed very important to study church history, but it is difficult for believers to listen to it. Meanwhile, there is no suitable opportunity to speak to them about it.

He explained, "At the moment, I think it is possible to make church history part of the sermons. Every time I preach, I can talk a little bit, preferably some parts that are related to the content of the sermon. Many a little makes a miracle. Eventually, believers will have learned and understood it. Church history is outside the Bible after all, for which it has to be integrated into the sermons, rather than singled out for study. Many conservative Christians who can't agree with anything other than the Bible may object to talking about the extra-biblical content. They emphasize 'sola scriptura', the same as I do. However, different people have different understandings of this term. Conservative believers think that they can only speak what’s in the Bible, and nothing else, not even theological books. There are actually quite a few such people, especially in rural churches.”

I think that pastor C’s idea of delivering sermons with a little church history is worth a try under the current circumstances. When more believers learn and understand church history, they can really hold to biblical orthodoxy and defend the faith against attacks from heresies and cults by uprooting them from living soil.

- Translated by Shuya Wang

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