What I Learned From My Church History Class



pic from flickr by fatalbeauty1956

pic from flickr by fatalbeauty1956

I was not sure that I was going to enjoy this class or learn much from it. I was not really looking forward to taking the class. That all changed. I enjoyed the discussion boards and reading the book. I tell my college students that I am a “book junkie” because I enjoy reading so much. I have always tried to piece together how the church changed so drastically from the time Paul wrote his last letter to Timothy to the Catholic church. Reading the text, Christianity Through The Centuries, helped me learn what I did not know. Even a few years after Jesus died, different false teachers started rising up to challenge that Jesus was really who he claimed to be. That is probably one of the reasons that some of the letters of Paul and John had a slight slant towards apologetics. I lean toward the belief that the Catholic church is a form of false prophet. The text says that when Innocent III became pope, he believed that he was the “vicar of God.” The text also says that the Catholic church believes that the pope stands above man and below God. What kind of nonsense is that? The pope is just as much a sinner as any other human being. He needs forgiveness just like everyone else. The thing that bothers me the most is how the Catholic church leads people astray. On page 276 of our text, it says, “Indulgences were associated with the sacrament of penance. After one had repented of sin and had confessed it, one was assured of absolution by the priest, provided satisfaction was made. It was thought that the guilt of sin and eternal punishment for sin were forgiven by God but that there was a temporal satisfaction that the repentant sinner must fulfill either in this life or in purgatory. This satisfaction might be a pilgrimage to a shrine, a payment of money to a church, or some meritorious deed. The indulgence was a document that one could buy for a sum of money and that would free him from the temporal penalty of sin.” Seriously? This is the kind of garbage that Christians should get ticked at. People that believe that kind of garbage are being led astray. The Catholic church today continues to lead people astray. I have never looked at the Catholic Bible but I am sure it is pretty different if compared with a Christian translation. I thank God for people like Martin Luther and John Calvin who got so fed up with the church that they tried to reform it back to the true Scriptures and wanted to see the church be run biblically. I have never understood why people in the Catholic church settle for the trash they are fed. Why do these people settle to believe that another human being can forgive sins on behalf of God? This to me is harder to believe then to believe Jesus came down from heaven, grew into a man and died on a cross for our sins. This is why evangelism is so important. People need to know the truth. I cannot force anyone to believe contrary to what they believe, but I can present them with an alternative viewpoint based on the truth of Scripture.
This class has brought more to my viewpoint of how to do ministry than I thought it would. I try to use what I learn in all my classes to use in my college ministry. The text shows how the church becomes twisted and starts to teach false doctrine. It is amazing to see that the truth of Scripture survived all that and is still thriving today. As one reads the text, they can slowly begin to see how God worked throughout history for the truth of the gospel to survive. This is much encouragement for me or anyone in ministry. God will work out his plan with us or in spite of us. Job tells God, “I know that You can do all things, And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted” (Job 42.2). I am encouraged that God is all sovereign and he will stand beside me in my endeavor as long as I walk in obedience to him and do what he has called me to do. I have struggled to understand why it is so hard to find a ministry position that will help me pay the bills so my wife can come home when our baby is born. I know now that God will lead and guide us and show us the way to go when he is ready to reveal that to us. Until then, I am going to stay planted doing college ministry at our church. I am not always patient but I look forward with anticipation at what God is going to do next.