Dedicated to Anita Schou-Kristensen (1925-09-02 – 2014-02-03)
I have had a long-standing aversion to history and refused to watch “costume” movies, so it was with trepidation that I approached studying Church History. I am ashamed to tell you that I was willing to study any other subject in its place, but to my dismay I discovered that it was a compulsory subject. Last weekend I watched the ‘Luther’ movie (wow!) and as I currently complete my first assignment, no-one is more surprised than me at my new-found passion for the subject. I was not a believer in High School and I now understand why I didn’t enjoy learning about Constantine, Charlemagne, the Middle Ages and the Reformation– it was because God was not in it for me! History seemed irrelevant, but as a believer in Jesus Christ, boring history has become His–amazing–Story revealing God’s providence in every era. Praise God, I have been converted!
Soren Kierkegaard, a Danish theologian and philosopher said, “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” For the first time I understand the European liberal and secular worldview that had its roots in the period prior to the French Revolution. Philosophers like Voltaire replaced faith with Reason, and scientific discoveries led man to believe that the natural laws kept the world going, making God an absent watchmaker, who simply set the watch and left it to run. It was an intellectual revolution and a whole new humanistic way of looking at God, the world, and man.ÂÂ The thoughts of a few philosophers became the beliefs of the masses and they are still reflected in European mind-sets today, where the majority of people are spiritually weak, liberal and in need of re-evangelizing. Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ (Colossians 2:8).
Church history has helped me to better understand our English and Danish parents, for whom God was not on their radar screen. Their cultural background had taught them to live independently from God. A Sky News political analyst recently described Britain as “a post-religious society”; a couple who narrowly avoided a falling tree described the event as “the luck of God”; and groups of people in London are holding “church-like” meetings based on traditions described as “doing good without God”. Have you noticed how many people on TV game shows cross their fingers for luck and exhibit alarming levels of superstition? These are symptoms of a society that have ELEVATED MAN instead of God. Imagine a pulley where as you raise one side, the other side automatically goes down. Well that is what happens when man is elevated – God automatically is demoted in society!
Do you know that the Hebrew language does not use adjectives? They do not describe a song as ‘the greatest song’, as we would do, but instead they say, ‘the Song of songs’, hence the title of one of our Old Testament wisdom books. Well, Jesus Christ is the “King of kings, and Lord of lords” (Revelation 19:16).
The Easter message reveals Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who HUMBLED HIMSELF to come to earth to live a sinless life as a man and die on the cross of Calvary for the sins of the world. God has now EXALTED HIM and Jesus is presently seated at the right hand of God Almighty in heaven. In order to become a Christian one needs to HUMBLE ONESELF before God and recognise our human depravity, sin and need of Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour. In a divine exchange, you give your sin to Jesus and He gives His righteousness to you and immediately you are raised miraculously to a new life. The message is clear: the way up is the way down. Don’t allow the sin of pride to keep you out of heaven. And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted (Matthew 23:12)
My 88 year old Danish mother-in-law died in February of this year. Jan and I faithfully and lovingly encouraged her to trust Jesus Christ as her Saviour for over twenty five years, but we have no assurance of her salvation, and can only hope that we will be together in heaven, more alive than we have ever been! Please don’t wait for death to give you a theology lesson – it will be too late. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life (1 John 5:12).
If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable. But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive (1 Corinthians 15:19-22).
His-amazing–Story can be your story.
Easter Blessings x Libby