A Website for Basic Christian Doctrine

Some Lessons from Church History

By Jeremy Cagle

In 1941, Adolf Hitler launched Operation Barbarossa, Nazi Germany’s invasion of the Soviet Union. It would last close to a year and prove disastrous for the Nazi army. Facing a Russian winter and stretched well beyond its supply lines, the operation cost Hitler close to one million men and eventually led to his defeat in World War II.

The interesting thing about the disaster is that it had happened two centuries earlier under Napoleon Bonaparte. In his attempt to take over the world, the French general was stalled and ruined in Russia. Although he never lost a battle on Russian soil, his men starved, froze to death, and suffered innumerable hardships. Their loss there would lead to Napoleon’s surrender and the demise of his French Empire.

It has been said that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. That is true in the affairs of the world, and it is true in the affairs of the church. There is an enormous benefit to studying church history. It reminds us not to repeat the mistakes of the past.

It has other benefits as well. Romans 15:4 says:

For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

History instructs us and gives us encouragement. It teaches us the lesson of perseverance.

First Corinthians 10:11-12 also says:

Now these things happened to [Israel] as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall.

History humbles us. It warns us not to be proud. The things that happened in the Old Testament happened as examples that we might remember: “Let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall.”

God definitely wants us to learn from history. Whether it is biblical history or church history, He wants us to learn from those who have gone before. Yet, so many Christians forget to as Bruce Shelley writes:

Many Christians today suffer from historical amnesia. The time between the apostles and their own day is one giant blank. That is hardly what God had in mind.1

Or as Justo Gonzalez states:

From its very beginning, the Christian message was grafted onto human history. The Good News Christians have proclaimed through the ages is that in Jesus Christ, and for our salvation, God has entered human history in a unique way. History is crucial for understanding not only the life of Jesus, but also the entire biblical message.2

History has a special place in the heart of God. It is crucial for understanding the biblical message. A good portion of the Bible is history and, as the Bible tells us, God is sovereign over all of it. He made it happen. History is “His Story” as Jesus reminds us in Matthew 10:29:

Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.

Sparrows do not even fall to the ground apart from the hand of God.

Isaiah 46:9-10 says:

For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me,  Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, “My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure.”

God declares the end from the beginning. His purpose will be established and He will accomplish whatever He wants. History is one way that we see this.

So what does history tell us about God? What does it tell us about ourselves? As we turn back the hands of time, what lessons do we learn? What truths do we see?

Here are a few of them. They come from different ages in church history, most of them focusing on the Modern Age.

I. CHURCH HISTORY TELLS US THAT THE TRUTH IS WORTH FIGHTING FOR

(THE AGE OF THE FATHERS: 90-590)

If church history teaches us anything, it teaches us that the truth is worth fighting for. Certain doctrines are worth defending at all costs. Jude 1:3 tells us to “contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.” Second Timothy 1:14 says: “Guard . . . the treasure which has been entrusted to you.” Christians have taken these commands seriously from the very beginning.

In the early years, the fight revolved around the deity of Christ. The Bible makes it very clear that Jesus is God. He was called the Son of the Most High at His birth3 and worshipped,4 and John 1:1 says: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

Yet despite all of that, the early church still fought over Jesus’ deity. In fact, so many people fought over it in the 300’s that one bishop said about the city of Constantinople:

If in this city you ask anyone for change, he will discuss with you whether God the Son is begotten or unbegotten. If you ask about the quality of bread, you will receive the answer that “God the Father is greater, God the Son is less.” If you suggest that a bath is desirable, you will be told “that there was nothing before God the Son was created.”5

Therefore, a man spoke up to refute the error. His name was Athanasius, the bishop of Alexandria. In fact, Athanasius was so vocal about Jesus’ deity that he was exiled from Egypt five times over it. He led the church in Alexandria for 45 years, and 17 of them were spent in exile.

And the exiles were turbulent at best. His people loved him and they could not stand to see him go and the authorities resented that, so it was written about one of his banishments that:

In the early hours of Thursday, June 13 [356], after a service . . . just as all the congregation except a few women had left, the church . . . was stormed and violences perpetrated which left far behind anything that Syrianus had done. Women were murdered, the church wrecked and polluted with the very worst orgies of heathenism, houses and even tombs were ransacked throughout the city and suburbs on pretense of “seeking for Athanasius.”6

In spite of all of the violence, however, Athanasius stuck to his guns and was nicknamed Athanasius Contra Mundum or “Athanasius Against the World.” His enemies also called him “The Black Dwarf” because he was short and dark-skinned.

And it was all worth it because the truth won out in the end. Early on in his ministry, Athanasius helped write the Nicene Creed, which says:

We believe in one God,
The Father Almighty . . .
And in one Lord Jesus Christ,
The Son of God,
Begotten of the Father
The only-begotten,
That is, of the essence of the Father,
God of God,
And Light of Light.7

In other words, Jesus Christ is God. He is of one essence with the Father and the second member of the Trinity. Christians still hold to that Creed today. It was written 1,700 years ago and we still turn back to it to affirm our doctrine. Thanks to Athanasius. Thanks to the Black Dwarf. He showed us that the truth is worth fighting for.

II. CHURCH HISTORY SHOWS US PATTERNS

(THE MIDDLE AGES: 590-1517)

With the Fall of Rome, the Christian world entered a time of unprecedented darkness that has been referred to as the Dark Ages or the Middle Ages. It was a time when Europe was immersed in darkness and governed by one entity: the Catholic Church.

The word Catholic means “universal.” So, in that sense, every Christian is Catholic but the people of the Middle Ages understood the term differently. The Catholic Church, to them, was the church that had its headquarters in Rome.

The Apostle Paul actually wrote a letter to “all who are beloved of God in Rome.”8 The Roman Church started out as a legitimate, Gospel-loving community but it began to mediate disputes between other churches and, eventually, to rule them. The true church made up of “all who are beloved of God in Rome” became a power-hungry institution that lost sight of the cross and, over a period of a thousand years, it developed several cult-like patterns such as legalism.9

Legalism is the teaching that you have to do good works to be saved. In their famous Council of Trent, held in the 1500’s, the Roman Catholic Church said:

If anyone says that a man who is justified and however perfect is not bound to observe the commandments of God and the church, but only to believe, as if the Gospel were a bare and absolute promise of eternal life without the condition of observing the commandments, let him be anathema [damned].10

If anyone says that justifying faith is nothing more than confidence in divine mercy, which remits sins for Christ’s sake, or that it is this confidence alone that justifies us, let him be anathema [damned].11

In other words, faith is not enough to save you. You have to do good works too. You have to obey the commandments of God.

Cults teach this today. The Jehovah’s Witness and the Scientologists teach it. So do the Mormons. According to Joseph Smith: “Keeping the commandments of God will cleanse away the stain of sin.”12 Brigham Young also said:

Some of our old traditions teach us that a man guilty of atrocious and murderous acts may savingly repent on the scaffold; and upon his execution will hear the expression – “Bless God! He has gone to heaven . . . This is all nonsense. Such a character will never see heaven.13

The Roman Catholic Church, however, did not stop there. They also embraced the doctrine of authoritarianism, which says that they are the only real authority that God approves of. According to the Second Vatican Council of the 1960’s:

The task of giving an authentic interpretation of the Word of God, whether in its written form or in the form of Tradition, has been entrusted to the living office of the Church alone [the Roman Catholic Church].14

While that statement was made fairly recently, it summarizes the doctrine of the Middle Ages. The Roman Catholic Church is the only one who can interpret the Bible. They are the only ones who know what God really says.

That sounds a lot like the teaching of Christian Science. In the Christian Science Journal of December 21, 1899, Mary Baker Eddy wrote:

The Bible, Science and Health, With Key to the Scriptures [Eddy’s book] and my other published works are the only proper instructors for this hour. It shall be the duty of all Christian Scientists to circulate and to sell as many of these books as they can.15

In other words, Eddy’s teachings are on the same level as Scripture. Her writings are “the only proper instructors for this hour.” The task of giving an authentic interpretation of the Word of God has been entrusted to her.

The point is that church history shows us patterns. The atrocities that took place during the Middle Ages are not over. They are still being repeated today by the occult. This is the scary side of church history. When you glimpse into the past, you see that not everyone fights for the truth. Some people fight for lies. Some teach heresy and they persecute anyone who does not teach it too.

The good news, however, is that there are other patterns we see in church history which show us that

III. CHURCH HISTORY PROVIDES ENCOURAGEMENT

(THE PROTESTANT REFORMATION: 1517-1700’s)

On the flip-side, church history also provides us with great encouragement. Another pattern that we observe in looking back is that there has always been a remnant. Not everyone has given into the heresies of legalism and authoritarianism. Some have fought it.16

A classic example of this comes from the Protestant Reformation. An entire article in this edition of JTST will be devoted to this but let me just say that the Protestant Reformation occurred because a group of men did not cave into the pressures of Rome. They stood up to the Pope and his emissaries.

In doing so, they created five major principles or Solas of the Reformation:

Sola FideSalvation through Faith Alone

Sola GratiaSalvation by Grace Alone

Sola ChristusSalvation in Christ Alone

Sola ScripturaAuthority in Scripture Alone

Soli Deo Gloria – Glory to God Alone

Just to read those points is a breath of fresh air after the Middle Ages, but it came as more than a breath. It came as a hurricane. Those five ideas swept through Europe in the 1500’s with a ferocity that has rarely been seen in history. The people of Geneva, Switzerland summarized their impact in a Latin phrase that they posted all across their city: “POST TENEBRAS LUX.” It means, “After darkness, light.” With these doctrines, the darkness left the church and an age of light began to dawn.

And it all happened because Christians went back to the Bible. In the words of Philip Schaff:

Every true progress in church history is conditioned by a new and deeper study of the Scriptures.17

As the Scriptures were studied deeply, the church began to make progress. The deadness that had consumed it during the Middle Ages was replaced by a life and vitality that could be seen and felt and heard. People read about Jesus Christ in the Bible and were changed. They learned that salvation was not by legalism but by grace. They realized that the Catholic Church was not the only one who could give an authentic interpretation to the Scriptures. They could interpret the Bible for themselves.

You really see this in the way the Reformers talked.

Martin Luther said:

Let the man who would hear God speak, read Holy Scripture.18

I simply taught, preached, wrote God’s Word; otherwise I did nothing . . . The Word did it all.19

John Calvin said:

Let the pastors boldly dare all things by the word of God . . . Let them enjoin everyone by it, from the highest to the lowest. Let them edify the body of Christ. Let them devastate Satan’s reign. Let them pasture the sheep, kill the wolves, instruct and exhort the rebellious. Let them bind and loose thunder and lightning, if necessary, but let them do all according to the word of God.20

William Tyndale said:

The scripture is a light and sheweth us the true way, both what to do and what to hope. And a defence from all error, and a comfort in adversity that we despair not . . .21

All of the Reformers taught the Bible. Luther translated it into German. Tyndale translated it into English. Luther and Calvin wrote commentaries on it, as did many others.

Just a quick glimpse into John Calvin’s life shows how dearly he loved the Bible. Since it was not translated into French yet, Calvin took the Greek and Hebrew Bible with him into the pulpit and translated on the spot. As he did that, he preached Sunday mornings on the New Testament, Sunday afternoons on the New Testament or the Psalms, and every morning of the week, every other week on a book from the Old Testament. He preached hundreds of sermons each year.

He also led a college to train pastors and wrote the first systematic theology of the church: The Institutes of the Christian Religion. It has been estimated that his work, along with Luther’s, made more of an impact on the church than anyone else in history.22

IV. CHURCH HISTORY EXPLAINS OUR CURRENT SITUATION

(THE MODERN AGE: 1700’s – PRESENT)

Fast-forward a couple of centuries and we find ourselves at the time of the Civil War in America. A lot happened between that event and the Reformation. For one thing, the First and Second Great Awakenings occurred. For another, the church was blessed immensely by several shining stars such as Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, and John Wesley. Denominations sprung up such as the Baptists, Methodists, and Church of Christ. Books were written, schools were started, and the word “Protestant” became a household term.23

And the United States of America was born. In 1776, the new country officially separated from England and in 1861, it was at war with itself and placing the church right in the middle of the conflict. In the words of Charles Reagan Wilson:

Southerners interpreted the Civil War as demonstrating the height of Southern virtue, as a moral-religious crusade against the atheistic North. In light of defeat, the ministers cautioned against decline.

A major theme of the Lost Cause . . . was the wickedness of the Yankees. In addition to warning Southerners of their own decline, [ministers] cautioned Southerners to learn from the evil North. The danger of the South’s future degradation was readily embodied in the North’s image.24

The Civil War impacted people’s understanding of salvation. For many, salvation no longer became a spiritual issue but a geographical one. It did not have to do with faith as much as it had to do with heritage. If you grew up a Yankee, you were wicked or lost. If you grew up a Confederate, you were virtuous or saved.

And that explains our current situation today. Many Southerners still feel that way about salvation. They still believe they are going to Heaven because they were born that way. It is their birthright. They grew up in the Promise Land and, therefore, they will enter glory. Those ideas have their roots in the Civil War.

Now journey across the Atlantic Ocean back to England and you see another conflict brewing at this time called “the Downgrade Controversy.” As the South was fighting the North in a battle to the death, several British scientists began teaching a theory called evolution, which said that men evolved from animals and, therefore, miracles do not exist. Everything just happens naturally. God did not supernaturally create the universe or supernaturally do anything in history. He just sat up in the heavens and watched.

Soon the churches took this to mean that all of the miracles in the Bible are made up. They embraced a downgrade approach to theology. They rejected a 6-day creation, which led to a rejection of Jesus’ deity then a rejection of the resurrection and the atonement and Heaven and Hell and the Trinity until nothing was left. Soon “Christians” were rejecting or redefining everything in Scripture.

So Charles Spurgeon spoke out against this. Actually, he screamed out when he said:

We are told that we ought to give up a part of our old-fashioned theology to save the rest. We are in a carriage travelling over the steppes of Russia. The horses are being driven furiously, but the wolves are close upon us! Can you not see their eyes of fire?

The danger is pressing. What must we do? It is proposed that we throw out a child or two. By the time they have eaten the baby, we shall have made a little headway; but should they again overtake us, what then?

Why brave man, throw out your wife! . . . Give up nearly every truth in hope of saving one. Throw out inspiration . . . Throw out election. . . Throw out natural depravity, eternal punishment, and the efficacy of prayer . . .

Brethren, this advice is villainous, and murderous; we will escape these wolves with everything, or we will be lost with everything. It shall be “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth,” or none at all. We will never attempt to save half the truth by casting any part of it away.25

Spurgeon said that you cannot throw out one doctrine in the Bible. You have to throw out all of them. To capitulate to the latest findings of science is to travel to your doom on a downgrade.

All of this is to reiterate that church history explains our current situation. Ministers in England are still taking a downgrade approach to theology. So are ministers in America and all across the world. They are still throwing out every doctrine that does not agree with science. It all started in the 1800’s and it is still going on today, which leads us to the next section.

V. CHURCH HISTORY PROVIDES A WARNING

(THE MODERN AGE: 1700’s – PRESENT)

Church history also provides us with a warning. It warns us that not everyone who claims to follow Christ actually does. Jesus said in Matthew 7:22-23:

Many will say to Me on that day, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?” And then I will declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.”

Many will say to Jesus “Lord, Lord” and not enter Heaven. They will profess Him with their lips and end up in Hell. Church history has proven time and time again that there will be false professors in the church.

A classic example is found in the early 1900’s. Just a century after the Civil War, the theory of evolution entered American soil and split the Presbyterian Church USA. The controversy revolved around a Professor of New Testament at Princeton Theological Seminary named J. Gresham Machen.

For years, Princeton had been wavering over what to do with the miracles in the Bible. The heresies that Spurgeon denounced were being propagated by every school in the Ivy League and Princeton was caving. They were embracing what is today now as “Liberalism” or Darwinism in Christian verbiage. Liberalism uses words in the Bible like “creation” and “deity” but it redefines them to mean something purely natural.

So J. Gresham Machen denounced it. He said it was hypocritical to call yourself a Christian and embrace Liberalism. In his own words: “Modern liberalism . . . is un-Christian and . . . unscientific.”26

As a result of his position, he chose to leave the faculty of Princeton and start his own school called “Westminster Seminary.” Several years later, he was found guilty of insubordination to church authorities because he would not capitulate to their Liberal theology and defrocked from the Presbyterian Church USA. As a result, he started his own denomination called “the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.”

Why was this necessary? Why were seminary professors redefining biblical terms? Why were church authorities defrocking a man who taught the truth?

Because there are hypocrites in the church. Because many will say to Jesus “Lord, Lord” and go to Hell. The faculty at Princeton and the leaders of the Presbyterian Church USA had abandoned the teachings of Scripture and, therefore, they needed to be rebuked. So J. Gresham Machen did that as he would later write:

Men tell us that our preaching should be positive and not negative, that we can preach the truth without attacking error. But if we follow that advice we shall have to close our Bible and desert its teachings. The New Testament is a polemic book almost from beginning to end . . .

Every great Christian utterance, it may almost be said, is born in controversy. It is when men have felt compelled to take a stand against error that they have risen to the really great heights in the celebration of truth.27

If we are to follow the example of the New Testament, we will take a stand against error. We will heed the warnings of Machen and refute bad doctrine. We will also keep in mind one more lesson from history.

VI. CHURCH HISTORY REMINDS US THAT WE ARE NOT ALONE

(THE MODERN AGE: 1700’s – PRESENT)

Church history reminds us that we are not alone. It reminds us that we stand shoulder to shoulder with the saints who have come before us. As the well-known hymn puts it:

Like a mighty army moves the church of God;
Brothers, we are treading where the saints have trod.28

Nowhere is this seen more clearly than in the Billy Graham Crusades of the mid-1900’s. As the era of Machen was drawing to a close, a tall preacher from North Carolina made a name for himself by preaching a biblical message while, at the same time, partnering with Liberals. His name was Billy Graham. His message was sound and focused on the supernatural elements of the Bible but his methods did not because he partnered with those who rejected it.29 As one Liberal minister said: “We do not agree with Billy Graham’s theology but we are using him to build our churches.”30

Because of this, multitudes made false professions of faith under Graham’s ministry. Their hearts did not change. There were no evidences of salvation in their lives. Yet they claimed to be Christians.

Consequently, an outcry of concern arose over Graham’s methods. One of the more vocal ministers was Martyn Lloyd-Jones, the pastor of Westminster Chapel in London, England. In the summer of 1963, Graham met with Lloyd-Jones to ask him to chair his World Congress on Evangelism and here was Lloyd-Jones’ response:

I said I’d make a bargain: if he would stop the general sponsorship of his campaigns – stop having liberals and Roman Catholics on the platform – and drop the invitation system, I would wholeheartedly support him and chair the Congress. We talked for about three hours, but he didn’t accept these conditions.31

All of this is to say that we are not alone in our struggles today. Whatever we are going through, someone else has gone through before us. Ecclesiastes 1:9-10 says that there is “nothing new under the sun” and Paul tells us in First Corinthians 10:13 that “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man.” Church history tells us the same thing.

There is still a temptation to compromise. There is still an enticement to loosen up our stance on the truth. All of us have been accused of being too much like J. Gresham Machen and not enough like Billy Graham.

But there is no need to give in. Faithful men have walked in our shoes and God has been faithful to them. In fact, we have a great cloud of witnesses who attest to this as the author of Hebrews says:

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses . . . let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.32

That passage comes at the end of the great Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11. So the author is telling us that, as we think of men like Abraham and Moses and Gideon and Barack and Samson, we should lay aside every encumbrance. We should run the race that is set before us. We should stand fast for the truth!

CONCLUSION

The lessons of church history are endless. An article like this one could go on forever and say so much more but it has to stop somewhere. So let us stop by saying that there is no reason for Christians to forget church history. There is no reason to suffer from historical amnesia. We have so much to learn from it and so many blessings to receive.

Take a cue from the people of Israel. They suffered from amnesia in Judges 2:7-10 where it says:

The people served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who survived Joshua, who had seen all the great work of the Lord which He had done for Israel.

Then Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the Lord died . . . All that generation also were gathered to their fathers; and there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord, nor yet the work which He had done for Israel.

When Joshua and his generation died, a generation arose who did not know the Lord. They did not remember the Exodus and all the Lord had done. They forgot their history.

Maybe they forgot because they did not have access to the Internet. Maybe it was because they did not have enough books. Maybe it was because they could not get Wi-Fi out in the Promise Land. Or maybe they were just lazy. Whatever the case, we cannot use those excuses. There are more church history books and websites now than there have ever been.

We need to go back to them and learn. We need to make sure that there is not a generation after us that does not know the Lord.

To help you with this, the following is a list of recommended books on this subject.

RECOMMENDED BOOKS ON CHURCH HISTORY

Earle E. Carins, Christianity through the Centuries

John Foxe, Foxe’s Book of Martyrs

Justo Gonzalez, The History of Christianity, 2 Volumes

John D. Hannah, Our Legacy

Nathan O. Hatch, The Democratization of American Christianity

S. M. Houghton, Sketches from Church History

Kenneth Scott Latourette, A History of Christianity, 2 Volumes

George Masden, Fundamentalism in American Culture

George Marsden, Understanding Fundamentalism and Evangelicalism

Iaiam Murray, Evangelicalism Divided

Iaian Murray, Revival & Revivalism

Mark Noll, A History of Christianity in the United States and Canada

Susan Lynn Peterson, Timeline Charts of the Western Church

John Piper, Contending for Our All

John Piper, The Hidden Smile of God

John Piper, The Legacy of Sovereign Joy

Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, 8 Volumes

Bruce Shelley, Church History in Plain Language

Eerdmans’ Handbook to the History of Christianity

 

  1. Bruce Shelley, Church History in Plain Language, Third Edition (Nashville, Tenn.: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2008) xv. []
  2. Justo Gonzalez, The Story of Christianity, Volume 1 (New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 1984) xv. []
  3. Luke 1:32. []
  4. Matt 2:11. []
  5. Quoted in Church History in Plain Language, 99. []
  6. Quoted in John Piper’s Contending for Our All: Defending Truth and Treasuring Christ in the Lives of Athanasius, John Owen, and J. Gresham Machen (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 2006) 54. []
  7. Quoted in Philip Schaff’s The Creeds of Christendom, Volume II (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2007 ed.) 33. []
  8. Rom 1:7. []
  9. Some people have taken these similarities to mean that the Roman Catholic Church is a cult. If we were looking at their doctrine alone, we could say that they are. However, if we take into account their history, we do have to admit that the Roman Catholic Church did start out as a legitimate church. Unlike the cults, they do not have a heretical beginning. They simply became heretical as time went on. []
  10. Canon 20 of the Council of Trent. []
  11. Canon 12 of the Council of Trent. []
  12. LDS Journal of Discourses, Vol. 2, quoted in Walter Martin’s The Kingdom of the Cults (Minneapolis, Minn.: Bethany House Publishers, 1985 ed.) 216. []
  13. LDS Journal of Discourses, Vol. 8, quoted in Kingdom of the Cults, 217. []
  14. Second Vatican Council, “Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation,” no. 10. []
  15. Quoted in Kingdom of the Cults, 136. []
  16. 1 Kings 19:1-18 gives us a good example of this in biblical history: “Now Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, ‘So may the gods do to me and even more, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time.’ And he was afraid and arose and ran for his life and came to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah . . . Then he came there to a cave and lodged there; and behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and He said to him, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’ He said, ‘I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away. . . The Lord said to him, . . . ‘I will leave 7,000 in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal and every mouth that has not kissed him.’” []
  17. History of the Christian Church, Volume 7 (Peabody Mass.: Hendrickson Publishers, 2002 ed.) 17. []
  18. Quoted in Edward M. Plass, What Luther Says, Volume 2 (St. Louis, Concordia Publishing House, 1959) 62. []
  19. Quoted in Timothy George’s Theology of the Reformers (Nashville, Tenn.: B & H Publishing Group, 2013) 55. []
  20. Quoted in John Piper’s The Legacy of Sovereign Joy: God’s Triumphant Grace in the Lives of Augustine, Luther, and Calvin (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 2000) 141. []
  21. Tyndale’s Old Testament, ed. by David Daniell (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1992) 7. []
  22. With the exception of perhaps Augustine. []
  23. For more information about the First and Second Great Awakenings, see Iaian Murray’s Revival & Revivalism: The Making and Marring of American Evangelicalism: 1750-1858 (Carlisle, Penn.: The Banner of Truth Trust, 2002 ed.) and Nathan O. Hatch’s The Democratization of American Christianity (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1989). []
  24. Charles Reagan Wilson, Baptized in Blood: The Religion of the Lost Cause, 1865-1920 (Athens, Georgia: University of Georgia Press, 2009, ed.) 7-8, 81. []
  25. Charles Spurgeon, The Greatest Fight in the World: The Final Manifesto (Scotland, U. K.: Christian Focus Publications, Christian Focus Publications, 2014 ed.) 76-78. []
  26. Christianity & Liberalism (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1923) 7. []
  27. J. Gresham Machen, What is Christianity and Other Addresses, ed. by Ned Stonehouse (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1951) 132-133. []
  28. “Onward Christian Soldiers” The Baptist Hymnal (Nashville, Tenn.: Convention Press, 1991) 493. []
  29. Iaian Murray, Evangelicalism Divided: A Record of Crucial Change in the Years 1950 to 2000 (Carlisle, Penn.: The Banner of Truth Trust, 200 ed.). Later on in his life, Graham would reject the message of the Bible as well. He made the following on Robert Schuller’s “Hour of Power” TV program on May 31, 1997: “The body of Christ is made up from all the Christian groups around the world, outside the Christian groups. I think that everybody that loves or knows Christ, whether they are conscious of it or not, they are members of the body of Christ . . . He is calling people out of the world for his name, whether they come from the Muslim world, or the Buddhist world or the non-believing world, they are members of the Body of Christ because they have been called of God . . .They may not know the name of Jesus but . . . I think that they are saved and they are going to be with us in heaven.” (Ibid., 73-74). []
  30. The gentleman’s name is not mentioned but the quotation is from Evangelicalism Divided, 55. Iaian Murray refers to him as “an official of the World Council of Churches.” []
  31. Quoted in Iaian Murray’s D. M. Lloyd-Jones: The Fight of Faith, 1939-1981 (Carlisle, Penn.: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1990) 440. []
  32. Heb 12:1. []