Monday, July 24, 2017

Rooted

...[C]hurch history is a treasure box, not a map. We err if we look to the past in order to chart the precise path of faithfulness for the future. We are marching to Zion, not retreating to Constantinople or Geneva. For this reason, we should look to the past in order to retrieve the resources we need in order to fortify and renew our faith in the present as we discern with wisdom and prudence the way forward. ....

...[O]ne of the things we must do as preachers, both for ourselves and also for our people, is to lift our eyes from our current moment, to listen to the words of the psalmist, hear the laments of the prophets, recall the stories of our ancestors, visit our church fathers, read and learn from our missionary mothers, and realize that spiritual struggle is the norm, not the exception. ....

By quoting from ancient church leaders, we remind our congregations that our faith is relevant not because it is "modern," but because it is rooted.

We also protect our people from being convinced that their novel, never-before-heard-of interpretation of a text cannot be challenged. The Holy Spirit is not stingy with spiritual insights. He has been at work for thousands of years. We make this truth clear when we quote from ancient saints. ....

To think that I'm better off—just me and the Holy Spirit and my Bible—without ever consulting the Spirit-filled people of God who have gone before me is to impoverish myself from insights that flow through the centuries. ....