"Studying church history reminds us that our God is on His throne. He reigns. He is perfectly accomplishing His purposes and providentially preserving His people and his truth in every generation. No matter how bad society becomes — no matter how antagonistic or immoral — we already know how history ends. What comfort there is in remembering that the Lord of history is working all things together for His glory and our good.
One of the greatest theological lessons any believer can learn is to rest in the sovereignty of God. The Scriptures are filled with examples of men and women who trusted God and acted upon their faith in Him (cf. Hebrews 11). Church history, likewise, consists of wonderful examples of faithful Christians whose lives are testimonies to the providential care of their heavenly Father."
In one sense it is sad that the history of the church is so marred by doctrinal conflicts, but in another sense that is precisely what the apostles anticipated. Even while the New Testament was still being written, the church was contending with serious heresies and dangerous false teachers who seemed to spring up everywhere. This was so much a universal problem that Paul made it one of the qualifications of every elder that he be strong in doctrine and able to refute those who contradict (Titus 1:9). So the church has always been beset by heretics and false teachings, and church history is full of the evidence of this.
Obviously, then, we who love the truth cannot automatically shy away from every fight over doctrine. Especially in an era like ours when virtually every doctrine is deemed up for grabs, Christians need to be willing and prepared to contend earnestly for the faith.
I write this on the eve of another baptism in our church; of several more who will stand before their friends and families and make an initial step of obedience, giving testimony of what has already taken place in their hearts, giving glory to God and making a declaration that they will follow Christ. And as we look today at what is happening here in this church, in the lives of so many, we can easily say "we did the right thing, for look at what has happened, but we need to hold back that thought."read more