I’m busy reading Church History in Plain Language by Bruce L. Shelley and enjoying the journey through the Christian church’s history.
Currently, I’m at the ‘middle ages’. Here’s one thing I have to say, so far: boy, am I grateful for where we are right now in Church history. From theology to ecclesiology (the structure of the Church), we’re in a much freer and better place.
It’s strange how quickly things got so weird as well. From the third century it seems so much went a little wonky.
But, having said that, there’s a humility required here. While I may stand back and accuse the church in the past of making bad mistakes, we’re also an inch away from making bad mistakes these days too.
Not only that, but theologically I may turn around and say that these guys lost the plot, but who’s to say I have the plot myself? We could all just be as mistaken as the next guy on these matters. My theology could be shaped by my culture just as much as the theology of the church back then was.
And so a fresh reminder of God’s grace fills me with delight and awe. Forgiveness of sins and salvation is for everyone — even those who don’t have all the theology straight. I’m grateful that Christians through the ages, including those who believed their works would get them to heaven (ie. who didn’t really believe in grace) are still saved in Jesus.
God’s love and grace is vast, and theological error will not even keep one from the love, grace and forgiveness of the Father because of Jesus.
And here’s one more thing which deserves mentioning, and I may expound on this in the coming week: even non-Christians can have forgiveness. Forgiveness of sins and wrongdoing is not just for Christians, it’s for non-Christians too.
“Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you.” Acts 13:38.