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Archive for February, 2012

Pulpit in St. Pierre Cathedral, Geneva

A pivotal pulpit in the Reformation (St. Pierre Cathedral, Geneva, Switzerland)

The band likes to pick on me for my interest in church history. On tour, some nights when it’s my turn to drive a late-night shift, I’ll pop on some church history lectures to keep me awake. The running joke is that it puts them to sleep. It’s a win-win!

While Reilly was in Europe last summer I read a biography on Martin Luther, which was neat to read while being so close to the birthplace of the Reformation. We got to visit Zwingli’s church in Switzerland too, although I still know very little about Zwingli.

What I do know is that Zwingli didn’t agree with Luther (although they wished they had) on the presence of Christ at the Lord’s Supper. He drowned some Anabaptists, which is the tradition I grew up in. And he was killed in battle (Luther suggested it may have been divine judgment for a minister wielding the sword). Zwingli is on a list of bios I want to read. If you know a good one, please share it with me!

In college, I studied in Rome for 10 months, which is where part of my fascination with church history began. Go there. You’ll understand what I mean.

There is much that intrigues me about church history. The doctrines of grace that are so central to my relationship with God seemed so fuzzy to the church fathers until Augustine. Many Christ-followers, in the early church especially, were willing to lay down their lives as martyrs for their faith. They knew that this world was not their home and were “looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.” (Heb 11:10)

I’m by no means an expert in any of this… it’s way too vast. And that’s the very thing that attracts me to it. I don’t feel like I’ve “got it down.” As easy as it is to look back and see the many terrible mistakes and sins of the past, there is still so much to learn.

Sure, Christians throughout history had their blind spots. But I imagine we do, too. I wonder, could a Christian living hundreds of years ago speak more clearly into my blind spots precisely because they weren’t raised in the suburbs, living in comfort, and breathing postmodernism?

Call me crazy… it’s the sort of question that keeps me up at night.

– Matthew

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