[forthright] Let's Start at the Very Beginning

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From: Forthright Magazine <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Wed, 13 Sep 2006 16:28:36 -0500
Forthright Magazine
http://www.forthright.net
Straight to the Cross


COLUMN: Reality Check

Let's Start at the Very Beginning
by Stan Mitchell

"To this you were called, because Christ suffered
for you, leaving you an example that you should
follow in his steps" (1 Peter 2:21).

Bruce Shelly tells of a Peanuts cartoon that has
Charlie Brown's little sister Sally writing a
school theme entitled "Church History." Charlie
reads her introduction: "When writing about Church
history," she begins, "we have to go back to the
very beginning. Our preacher was born in 1930."

"Many Christians," Shelly remarks, "suffer from
historical amnesia" ("Church History in Plain
Language," page xv). You have probably heard the
old saying that "those who cannot remember the
past are condemned to repeat it" (George
Santayana).

But some history we want to repeat. If we follow
in the footsteps of Jesus, then we are attempting
to repeat history, to that extent. And if we
preach the Gospel the Apostles preached, then
again we are repeating, to the best of our
ability, the history about which we read
(Galatians 1:6-8). And if we search the pages of
scripture to find God's will for our lives and our
church, then we are seeking to go back to the
beginning. This is a beginning that predates the
many admirable deeds of Campbell and Stone, and
predates the courage of Luther and Calvin. It is
an attempt to sweep away the dust and grime of
history and reveal the church as it was in the
mind of God.

Sally would be surprised to discover that the
beginning predated her preacher; but we should
not. Invariably when God creates something, it is
very good. What we want to do is go back to the
beginning, when the church was born!

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