Tuesday, January 8, 2008

church history is my family history

I was just re-reading a little bit of Mark Dever’s blog series on Where’d all these Calvinists come from? and I found #7 on his top 10 list was J.I. Packer and Knowing God. Well, having read Knowing God, I can say the book did impact the way I viewed my relationship with God, especially his description of the Christian faith’s unique view of God as “Father.” In addition, re-reading this blog is timely as I am currently listening to audio recordings of a course on History and Theology of the Puritans that Packer taught at Reformed Theological Seminary (downloaded from iTunes U). Having gone through public schools where I was taught, through The Scarlet Letter, The Crucible, and a slew of history courses, that Puritans were…well, Puritanical, hypocritical and a little diabolical, this course has been interesting and enlightening. And reading on this blog that Packer is in his 80s made me remember my seminary classes with Daniel Holcomb, a man who is not nearly that old, but still old enough to retire. The great thing is that these men haven’t retired. They continue to teach those who would carry on their love for historical theology.


Oh Father, how great you are to let me, a sinner, call you Father! How great you are to forget my sins and welcome me into your kingdom and family. May I never get over the joy of knowing that you are my God and my Father. You not only rule my life, but you do so with the loving grace and guidance of a father who wants me to grow and mature. You work all things for my good.

And Father, I thank you for the blessing you have given me and so many others through the ministries of men such as Drs Packer and Holcomb. These men have truly dedicated their lives to your glory—not as monks cloistered away from the world—but as evangelists sent out into the world. These men have helped me see church history as more than names and dates, but as a history of my church family. I can trace back my biological lineage a few generations, but thanks to church historians, I can see my spiritual lineage for centuries. I am able to rejoice in my heritage because church historians keep that heritage alive and flame the fire in the hearts of others.

I pray your church will awaken to the glory of our history so that we can see how your hand—your Spirit—has been working to guide and nurture your church throughout the ages. And father, I pray that you would do great things in our church today so that future generations would be able to see how you worked in us.

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