Theology Discussion Question: Church History

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Theology Discussion Question: Church History

Post by Admin on Thu Apr 12, 2018 7:14 pm

Reflect on what you have read about church history in Noll's Turning Points book. Of all the turning points you have read about so far, which do you think has the greatest impact on your life today? Write a paragraph explaining your choice.

Then, write a second paragraph answering the following question: How has reading this history of the church challenged your previously-held beliefs? Please be as specific as possible.

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Re: Theology Discussion Question: Church History

Post by matthewostermeyer on Thu Apr 19, 2018 5:01 am

I feel that reading about the introduction of Protestantism as the church split from Catholicism is one way that I feel greatly impacted today. I feel that I live in a world that highlights some of the negative aspects of this split even hundreds of years after the fact. Catholicism is still highly tied to politics and is highly ritualistic. Reading about the history of catholic doctrine was hard in some manners because it was easy to see how it created the Catholic Church system I see in the United States where so many people are legalistic and not many have a passion for their relationship with Jesus. I believe that much of this time led the way for a reemphasis on the important aspects of the gospel. I am also thankful for the return to the idea of responsibility in all's lives not just those called into priesthood. I believe this led the way towards a church that lives out the bible in the way that Jesus is truly asking them to.

I think a way that reading Noll's Turning Points book has challenged me is in regards to Martin Luther. I feel as though people have always painted him to be the greatest man in church history and that no one comes close to him. But reading the section over the creation of Protestantism showed me a lot of bad aspects of this break off. Though I believe reform needed to be had in the church it is very easy to see the division's across the church in today's world rooted in this turning point in history. I believe that division would have occurred at some point regardless due to earlier examples such as the East and the West Church or even different sects within Judaism. But it is easy to see the sin of division sprouting up as a response to this place in life. This doesn't fall on Martin Luther's shoulders of course but it is something to be aware of.

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Re: Theology Discussion Question: Church History

Post by Brittony on Thu Apr 19, 2018 6:39 pm

I definitely think that the protestant movement was one of the most impactful turning point in church history. As Martin Luther had called many peoples attention to scripture and calling out leaders in the Catholic Church and saying that he doesn’t’ trust the Pope or the counsels over the scriptures is how it should be but I would imagine incredibly controversial for his time. The Pope, as well as the people around him, were the ones who studied the scriptures all the time and so it would make sense for someone who couldn’t read to trust what the Pope would say. As Luther looked at the scriptures and read them with sincerity he could see that they spoke truth more often than man. As he clearly reformed the church by deciding to separate himself from the Catholic Church he founded Protestantism, which transformed the whole world and allowed many to come to know Jesus. I would say that this turning point has the greatest impact on my life today because out of this other reformers came out of the woodwork like John Wesley, founder of Methodism and in which the denomination I found Christ. If there wasn’t a Martin Luther then there probably wouldn’t have been a John Wesley. I think as Luther challenged the status quo on the church many others felt compelled to do the same. I think his example to openly question scripture is healthy and for me to do so is to come to a better understanding of scripture.

I think this chapter has challenged my beliefs slightly by Luther’s quote, “A Christian is a perfectly free lord of all, subject to none. A Christian is a perfectly dutiful servant of all, subject to all.” Yes, we are free in Jesus we are free from those who oppress us, Luther would know first hand. I really love the image of freely serving those around you but knowing your works aren’t what define your salvation. They are a response to salvation but not what creates it. I see Luther’s servant’s heart in these sentences and want others to serve others and I think we should, dutifully just as he said but to know we do it out of the love Jesus has shown us. I understand he’s communicating a sense of humility as Christians. This reminds me that I need, time and time again, to put on a humble position in order to effectively serve others. I do; however, think it’s interesting to read that even Martin Luther didn’t live this incredibly perfect life as I had originally thought. He was “blunt” and “crude” and wouldn’t always practice what he writes. I think it’s a very good reminder, that integrity is important and to maintain it is essential. I view Luther differently than I did before reading this chapter but appreciate his efforts to reform a system that wasn’t entirely scriptural.

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Turning Points Response

Post by lleeson on Sat May 05, 2018 3:26 am

The Council of Nicea, while one of the oldest turning points in Christian history, I believe has the greatest impact on our faith today. I grew up reciting the Nicene Creed in church every Sunday and never thought about deeply the words I would say. Looking back, those words are the backbone to what we believe and without this council to decide, we may believe a very different Christianity today. The emphasis on Jesus being fully God is a HUGE part of the gospel message. If Jesus wasn’t God, we wouldn’t have God coming down, meet us in our mess, and fully save and restore us. Instead, we may have a religion based on looking up to a good teacher and still trying to work our way to God.

Reading about church history has really just opened my eyes to what happened from the beginning of the Early Church until now. I really had no knowledge of how the church grew and what happened in history to reach this point. I think as Protestants we tend of focus on Luther’s separation from the Catholic Church as church history, but it is interesting to see a lot did happen before that. The church before Protestantism affected the church today I many ways, including the early creeds and declarations about what Christians believe. I think it’s easy to focus on the differences between Catholicism and Protestantism today, yet it’s important to remember they were united over 1000 years after Christianity began.

This has also helped me to see that the Christians didn’t always do things right and there was a lot of messiness throughout church history. When I started learning about Christendom, part of me hated it. I didn’t want pure faith to be tainted by other motives, like power and politics. Yet, Christendom helped the spread of Christianity throughout Europe. I believe it is important to not act like the way Christians handle spreading the Gospel was perfect throughout history. We are all still broken and make mistakes, yet God still uses are brokenness for His glory and for his mission to be fulfilled here on Earth.

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Re: Theology Discussion Question: Church History

Post by SHKelly on Wed May 09, 2018 5:18 am

I really like the chapter on Monasticism. I view Chi Alpha as a sort of incarnation of that model, and I think it's a helpful way to think about it. I think it's important to balance the ascetic zeal of those earlier guys with some gospel-reality that we don't become super-Christians by baking on a pillar, but the more moderate movements that focused on addressing real needs of the community, dedication to study and transcription of the Scriptures are great models to emulate. I think I personally have a lot to learn in the area of discipline, and especially spiritual discipline, and the Monastics, like St. Benedict and St. Augustine have a lot to teach me.

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Church history

Post by kkuriyama on Wed May 09, 2018 6:05 am

I thought the most recent reading on the Wesleyans have had the biggest impact in my life. I think even after the reformation and all the efforts done to figure out theologies and disagreements between believers fail in comparison to what those people did in order for believers to have a fervent and personal devotion with God. I understand that the reformation did a lot for me to have a personal relationship with God, but the contextualization is the bridge that was built for me, and not theology. Doing the church things in small groups rather than inside a church is what vitalized Christianity in the modern day.

I think reading turning points have given me a better understanding on how much people actually loved God and cared about the things of God even before the reformation and modern day. I think it was hard for me to see those things when I had a narrow understanding of those people. I thought they had a very boring relationship with God that was rooted all on discipline and religion. But a lot of those old people also did love God and were in love with the person of Jesus and not just religion. I think I knew how bad people were, so that didn't change my views. But I think I didn't know how good some of those people were too.

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Re: Theology Discussion Question: Church History

Post by DaneMiles on Wed May 09, 2018 6:10 am

While in some sense, all of the chapters of the book have served to bring my faith to where it is today (esp. the council of Nicaea, Luther's 95 Theses, etc.), I am hard pressed to find an event covered in the book which influences my life more than the French Revolution. From a strictly geopolitical standpoint, the Revolution would go on to pave the way for the Napoleonic Wars, as well as both World Wars, which all have served to bolster the stature and influence of the United States on a global scale. In that sense, my life as an American citizen would most likely look dramatically different had the French Revolution not occurred.

On a more spiritual level, the Revolution set the stage for our current climate -- one which values secular thinking, reason, science, and impartiality. Our very Western way of life (that is, of the mind) would not be as such without the proliferation of philosophical ideas that preceded and followed the Revolution. As one whom enjoys and has greatly benefited from the apologetics and preaching of great thinkers such as William Lane Craig, C.S. Lewis, and the like, I am certain their own answers to some of life's great questions were brought about in some way by the questions posed by Enlightenment and Romance thinkers.

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Re: Theology Discussion Question: Church History

Post by kellyrenelantz on Wed May 09, 2018 2:18 pm

I think the "Monastic Rescue of the Church" is most impactful to me today. I think this really helped spread the Gospel throughout the Eastern hemisphere and allowed for the Bible to be translated into many languages (thus impacting my ancestor's access to the Scriptures). I think the dedication they had to Scripture and prayer is something we are feeling the impact of today, and I do not doubt their prayers impacted the trajectory of church history.

I think reading church history definitely challenged what I believe and even biases I may have had about certain parts of the church. I think as a Protestant, it can be easy to see the Catholic church as a problem often times, but reading about all the missionaries they sent out and the Jesuits I realized the Church would not be what it is today without those early Catholic beginnings. I think it also helped me realize that Protestants didn't always do everything perfectly, either. It also made me appreciate the theological structures we have in place and how much time and energy was spent trying to understand Scriptures and create standards of beliefs.

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