Session 1:Last Days, Tumultuous times. Persecution from the Jews. Persecution from Nero. Justin Martyr and the Apologists. What was early Christianity like? Why did the Gospel spread so rapidly? Ignatius, Polycarp, and Perpetua.
There seems to be an epidemic of historical amnesia in today’s church. To some, it’s as if true Christianity disappeared for 1900 years and suddenly resurfaced with their modern denomination. This ignorance of history is dangerous. An old Russian proverb states, “Dwell on the past and you will lose an eye; forget the past and you will lose both eyes.” For many, history is nothing more than by-gone eras, dusty facts, and long-since-departed souls. However, history is not only a fascinating study of our ancestors – it is also a treasure chest full of wisdom, which Jesus and the apostles repeatedly drew from to teach valuable lessons. Because Christ entered His-story, all history has been infused with purpose. It is the profound story being written by the greatest Author of all time. God sits as Lord of the Universe. He laughs at empires and dynasties, but loves to change the world through the weak and simple. A trip through the colorful centuries of the Church reveals a God who is holy and awesome, His purposes that are beyond comprehension, and His reality that shatters man’s small-minded notions of Him.
When you study history, you will glimpse that plan, buried and concealed by our foolish choices, but there for those with open eyes. History is moving toward a thrilling conclusion in which every enemy of God will be soundly defeated. In the meantime, we would be wise to glean from the past and learn from the mistakes and victories of godly men and women who walked this path before us. Come on this life-changing journey to the first century, and follow the halting progress that the church, with all it warts and wildness, has made through the centuries.