The Herb Of Grace

Theology and Poetry, Politics and Prose

Church History & The Protestant Loss Of Time July 28, 2008

        I have become haunted by Christian history.  Now I don’t mean that in the way I assume you think.  I am not haunted by the ghosts of past Christian sin.  I am stalked by a realization, new to my protestant mind (or more precisely: my communitarian-baptist-evangelical-vineyard mind), that as the Church we have a history, that we are essentially a historical family. 

        This was new to me; I think growing up in evangelical youth groups and summer camps firmly cemented the implied notion that there was nothing of substance or value in any events after the gospels and before the 20th century.  When Christian history was spoken of in my above mentioned childhood contexts, it was mentioned in derision and lament at the mistakes of the Catholics, the Puritans, the medieval Christians, the post Luther Lutherans (for of course the only history I did know was that someone wonderful named Luther ‘liberated’ the Church so that we could today enjoy such religious ‘freedom’ and ‘spontaneity). 

           One got the sense, and I know I am unfortunately far from alone in this, that we were part of the Church that had finally got it right and prayed like the Pharisee, “Thank You Lord that I am not like your ignorant children of old!”  Acting and speaking as if there was nothing good to find in that time between Jesus and Billy Graham was, I am thinking now, a sub-conscious proclamation that there is no time, that now is the only moment, that even the gospel and Jesus and all the apostles are merely spiritual truths that have always been the same and are only now being grasped.