“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” – Acts 4:12
The class I am currently taking online through Liberty University is Church History. The first part of the class has covered the time period just after the Disciples up until the fourteenth century. I have found it to be the most enjoyable class that I have taken so far in my graduate studies. To hear about the faith of the early church leaders who carried on the instructions of Jesus to take the Gospel and make disciples. Their commitment to the Word of God should be inspiring to us today. They faced widespread persecution within the Roman Empire, yet in spite of the many that lost their lives for the faith, teaching and disciple making continued.
The persecution finally stopped in 313 A.D. when Emperor Constantine made Christianity legal. The focus of the early church was now on the various false teachings that had been going on. Biblical truth needed to be known and taught, there was no room for false teachings that would lead people astray.
Much of the false teaching focused on Christ. False teachers taught that, Jesus wasn’t really God, or that He isn’t eternal, He was created by God. They were weakening the view of Christ as the God-Man, who is eternal, and the sacrifice who paid the penalty for our sins. Even today people will talk about Jesus as only a good teacher, or someone who lived a good life but wasn’t really God. Just like the early church we need to stand up for the truth of Scripture and what it teaches about Christ.
Things got so bad with false teachers that in the year 325 A.D. Constantine gathered together the early church leaders and they discussed and sought out the Scriptures to come up with a universal teaching about Christ. Their work is actually a part of our Statement of Faith as a church, The Nicene Creed. These men read the Scriptures and saw how the Scriptures described Jesus.
We need to be in God’s Word as well. Currently, we are studying the Book of James, and starting in 2018, we will begin a two year series of preaching through the entire Bible. The obvious question is “why?” The answer is because we need to know God’s Word and what it teaches. We don’t want to repeat the mistakes from church history. We need to have a solid foundation so we can teach and live in a way that honors God; this is what James is all about!
We are thankful for those that have come before us, and we are mindful of those that are coming after us. Let’s continue in the instructions of Christ by learning, teaching and making disciples.