Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Christianity's Hope Trumps Her History

"... and it was found that this city had a long history of revolt ..." (Ezra 4:19)

Over this past Christmas, my son read the following quote to me that he found in one of the history texts that he received for Christmas. While he is much more the historian than I am, I found it very interesting as well.

In some ways it reminded me of the New Year that we celebrate today. Just as with the old year that we just left behind, this quote is a historical reminder of some of the many less than pleasant things from our church history past.

More importantly, however, just as the New Year is full of hope and promise, so too the church is being prepared for the great and eternal New Year of New Year's. Personally, I find that encouraging and exciting. 

“Christianity has thus passed through many stages of its earthly life, and yet it has hardly reached the period of full manhood in Christ Jesus. During this long succession of centuries it has outlived the destruction of Jerusalem, the dissolution of the Roman empire, fierce persecutions from without, and heretical corruptions from within, the barbarian invasion, the confusion of the dark ages, the papal tyranny, the shock of infidelity, the ravages of revolution, the attacks of enemies and the errors of friends, the rise and fall of proud kingdoms, empires and republics, philosophical systems, and social organizations without number. 
And, behold, it still lives, and lives in greater strength and wider extent than ever; controlling the progress of civilization, and the destinies of the world; marching over the ruins of human wisdom and folly, ever forward and onward; spreading silently its heavenly blessings from generation to generation, and from country to country, to the ends of the earth.
It can never die; it will never see the decrepitude of old age; but, like its divine founder, it will live in the unfading freshness of self-renewing youth and the unbroken vigor of manhood to the end of time, and will outlive time itself. Single denominations and sects, human forms of doctrine, government, and worship, after having served their purpose, may disappear and go the way of all flesh; but the Church Universal of Christ, in her divine life and substance, is too strong for the gates of hell.
She will only exchange her earthly garments for the festal dress of the Lamb’s Bride, and rise from the state of humiliation to the state of exaltation and glory. Then at the coming of Christ she will reap the final harvest of history, and as the church triumphant in heaven celebrate and enjoy the eternal Sabbath of holiness and peace. This will be the endless end of history, as it was foreshadowed already at the beginning of its course in the holy rest of God after the completion of his work of creation.”

Have a happy and hope-filled New Year, my friends. Peace and Blessings to you and yours.

Quote Source: Schaff, Philip. History of the Christian Church: Apostolic Christianity, From the Birth of Christ to the Death of St. John, Volume 1. Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson. (p. 19-20)
Cartoon Source: Unknown

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