This past Sunday I announced, to overwhelming enthusiasm, that October would be Church History Month at Valley View. Why is Church History important for us? Abigail Favale, in her important book The Genesis of Gender, shares her own journey of faith and how the lack of historical context left her without roots, eventually causing her to reject that faith:
“I had been raised in a corner of Christianity that was more or less ahistorical, one that viewed our local church as a seamless extension of the earliest Christians in the New Testament. The intervening centuries, the gradual working out of creeds, canon, and doctrine, all of this was skipped over entirely. I was not even self-consciously Protestant, unaware that Evangelicalism is itself a tradition, the newest kid on a longstanding block. I knew the Bible well, but I was unaware of its interpretive heritage. I naively assumed that my familiarity with Scripture made me an expert on Chritianity [at] large, and I wasted no time in hastily constructing a flimsy scarecrow version of it, one I could easily tear down.”
We need to be studying our Bibles, to be hungry for God’s Word, yet we also need to be regularly reminded of the stories of the many people who have laid a foundation for us over thousands of years. None of us stand alone! That’s why I’ll feature a different person from the history of the church each week this month. Sunday I mentioned Athanasius (est. 350 AD) and his role in clarifying our understanding of Jesus as both God and man. I also wrote two devotions that tell more of his story and build off of this month’s memory verse, John 1:14. You can read them on the Seeds Family Worship’s website: Part 1, Part 2. These were designed to be read aloud with the family (others can be accessed here) if you’re looking for something to help your family worship together during the week.
I also recommend the book The Weekly Historian by Southern Seminary professor Michael Haykin. It’s a collection of 52 short devotions (2-3 pages each) that span across 2,000 years of Church History. These are easy to read and will introduce you to some of the most influential people in the history of the church. Order a copy (or you can pick one up at Southern Seminary) and spend time reading it through the month of October and into November.
I’m also hosting a Pastor’s Class for three weeks starting October 23rd. This is a class for those who are new to the church, want to learn more about the church, or are interested in church membership. We meet during the life group hour (9:30-10:30am) in the conference room. We have limited availability (about 15), so please sign up here. We offer the class once a quarter, so if you miss this one we will have another opportunity again soon.
I can’t wait to gather with you this Sunday morning and for our Fall Picnic immediately after the service. The Fall Picnic is one of the ways we build community as a church, which builds trust with one another, and helps us be able to reach others around us with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Thanks for all your prayers for Valley View as we seek to reach Valley Station, PRP, and all of Southwest Louisville!