18.1.06

Carrying the Baton

Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it. — George Santayana


Hugh has asked a really interesting question of his fellow bloggers in this post.

"Other than the Bible, which book has recently made the most difference in your life and why?"

I have to confess, I am not a great reader. I love reading the Bible, and read it at least twice a day, but apart from when I am on holiday I tend not to read a great deal of other books. To give you an idea of my general pace of reading, it took me nine months to read Moby Dick (but it was worth it).

The book I have chosen is "The History of the Church, by Eusebius." It may strike some as odd that an ancient history book, rather than a modern inspirational Christian paperback can be lifechanging, but let me explain why. First, I read it in response to the Holy Spirit. I felt very stongly stirred that I needed to know more about the history of the early Church. Not for an intellectual exercise, but because if it was not for them we would not be here. As Eccelesiastes says: There is nothing new under the sun. Many times in our debates in theology we are just reinventing the wheel that was crafted by masters many centuries ago. If we learn how these early heroes of the faith stood firm from such pressures both from without (horrific tortures and deaths) and from within (from insidious heresies) and remained true to the faith, it will inspire are stir us and save us from going round the same mountain again and again, when we should be pressing into new land.

I read the account of the Gallic Martyrs at the time a member of our church was tragically killed in a motor accident. It really brought home to me that this life is fleeting, and that what really counts is the mark we make on eternity. This book is full of giants of faith, who carried on the baton from the first apostles. Now, down through the centuries, the baton has passed to us. All that they fought for, all that they lived for and all that they died for, now rests on us. We did not begin this race. God's plan was not in trouble before we came along. If we fail God will raise up others to pick up the baton and run. But we have this awesome privilege to be part of this race, and we owe it to our Lord, and to all who have gone before us to run with all our might. We have come to the Kingdom for such a time as this. We are part of the great eternal History of the Church that is still being written.

[Well done Hugh for bringing blogging monologues into a fruitful dialogue. I'd like to see much more of this type of blogging.]

1 comment:

Hugh Griffiths said...

Chris - thanks for taking up the challenge and for a challenging post. You are in good company - I remember John Piper speak and he too would advocate a few carefully chosen books read slowly and thoughtfully make a much bigger difference than mounds of hastily read titles. You are absolutely right to look towards church history - heroes of the faith are there to inspire!!