I am growing more and more fond of Steve Lawson, particularly his look at church history. This series is fantastic, and I’ll be listening to them again to get all the information. These messages are delivered at the Friday morning ‘Men’s Seminary’ meeting at Christ Fellowship Baptist Church. We are greatly blessed to be able to sit in on these sessions.
In his series ‘Long Line of Godly Men’, Steve Lawson recently covered the life of Augustine of Hippo, one of the most influential men in church history. Lawson looks intently at Augustine’s battle with the monk Pelagius, and draws some timely conclusions the church needs to hear today. We enjoy a thousand years of history to see that the outworking of Pelagianism is secular humanism, while the outworking of Augustine is Reformed Theology. Shortly after, a halfway house between these two theologies emerged, that being Semi-Pelagianism, which dogs the church today.
Augustine was also the writer that had a tremendous impact on Calvin and Luther. Part 3 looks at how our understanding of the fall, man’s nature and sin directly effects everything else we believe including the Christ’s work on the cross and evangelism. The distinctions Lawson examine are critical for a correct gospel.
The first message listed, ‘From Clement of Rome to Augustine of Hippo’ is an excellent overview of the first 400 years of church history. Unfortunately, I am unable to locate this message since CFBC has moved the audio on their website. If you find it please leave a comment with a link to this audio file.
Michael Phillips, the pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Fremont, California, taught his congregation once a month on a specific doctrinal heresy from church history. This kind of teaching is valuable in that it helps to sharpen our minds in exercising doctrinal discernment. We gain great benefits by looking back on how the church handled the heresy.
Some of the heresies he’s been looking at include Gnosticism, Judaism, Arianism, Pelagianism, the Iconoclast controversy, Transubstantiation, Liberalism, Neo-Orthodoxy, and Open Theism.
It’s important for Christians to have a grasp of heresies that the church has battled over the centuries, because they often return with new clothing, and the unprepared Christian is likely to fall into these old pits. Phil does an excellent job of looking at some of the major heresies that are revisiting the church today: Socinianism, Arianism, Pelagianism, Gnosticism, and Judaizing. This is an excellent 6 part series that will shore up some weak points in the church today.
Phil Johnson, Director of Grace to You, is pastor of Grace Life adult fellowship group at Grace Community Church, the pulpit of John MacArthur.
Dr. David Calhoun’s seminary courses on church history are well known, and now are available online from Covenant Theology Seminary. This course covers the history of the church from the book of Acts to the dawn of the Reformation.
Church history is one of the big weaknesses of most Christians, and many errors we easily fall into could be avoided with a basic knowledge of church history. Calhoun makes church history accessable, interesting and relevant.