Church history is a vital area of study for any concerned Christian. Many positive elements will be demonstrated in time from such a study.
First, a serious study of “His-story” will kindle within the believer a spirit of toleration. Far too many believers feel they have exclusive possession on ultimate truth in all areas of biblical knowledge, which is not the case. Manmade denominations exist as a reaction or a response to other factors, which must be understood. There is room for respect to be shown for different conservative theological positions all the while identifying the crucial doctrines and holding fast to the faith. The area of prophecy has divided many sincere Christians over details which only time will prove which position is correct.
Second, a study of church history enables a Christian to understand the current church situation. If a person knows how a church arrived at its present status it is easier to understand the different points of view. The past has many parallels to the present and because of this certain mistakes need not be repeated.
Third, a study of history enhances the believer’s conviction there is a sovereign God who is working all things after the counsel of His own will. Individual pieces when viewed might give the impression the vessel is broken and fragmented but when put together just right and viewed from a divine point of view there is a wonderful vessel which is perfect and fit for the Master’s use. God knows what He is doing and if every had His perspective they would agree. Sense would be made out of much that appears to be irrational.
Fourth, a study of history demonstrates mankind’s desperate need for God. There are wars and rumors of wars. There is bloodshed and violence. Sexual immorality is spreading terrible diseases. Men and women full of madness are giving themselves to self-destruction. God speaks through judgment on nature or nations but the message is more often than not lost until the spiritual dimension is considered.
Fifth, a study of history provides a greater appreciation of the cross as the focal point for a pivotal change. The world before Christ and the world after Christ are different.
Sixth, church leaders profit by being students of church history. God has been pleased to speak through religious leaders. That wisdom of the ages is still available for use.
Seventh, a study of church history will provide a greater appreciation for art, literature, music, poetry, plays and novels. The arts as a whole have been blessed with creative genius inspired by Christ. There would be a vast void if the Christian influence were to be removed from the arts.
An eighth importance of the study of church history is that such a study helps to explain the various denominational divisions. Some denominations can be justified, some cannot for they have moved away from any resemblance of a historic faith.
Finally, a study of church history will enable the student to deal with real concerns of society. There are social needs to be met.