[This appeared first at LifeChurchNC.com]
April 15, 2016
Historically, the 11th Century (C.E.) gave rise to a system of theology and philosophy known as Scholasticism which has served to shape the Church in significant and profound ways in the centuries since. Scholasticism introduced the concepts of reason and logic into the Church and the Christian faith. However, instead of it being used as a method for questioning God or disproving His existence, Scholasticism introduced valuable systematic methods for Christians to better understand intellectuallythe things they already believed. Anselm of Canterbury argued that scholasticism was using reason to understand that which he already believed. This would eventually give way to a branch of Christianity in the 12th Century known today as Apologetics which has since been used as a means of arguing for, defending and establishing the essentials of the Scriptures and the Christian faith.
So, why do I bore you with these details? Well, at this particular time in history, Christians were attempting to respond to several threats being posed to the Church; things like the rapid expansion of Islam and increasing political corruption taking place within the Church, to name a few. You see, it’s important to see here that the more we study history, the more we begin to see how the Church has always faced considerable challenges – both from outside and from within.
Some of the challenges the Church faces today are quite similar to those it has faced in the past. And yet, in many ways it has been the Church’s ability to respond, adapt and evolve that have allowed it to not only survive for well over 2,000 years, but to also thrive. In my opinion, this only gives further proof to the Sovereignty of Jesus over His Church, where if left solely in human hands, would have been long extinct by now.
(Just a point of clarification. By Church, we’re referring to the Universal Church which is defined as all believers, everywhere at all times. Not to be confused with the Catholic Church or any form or denomination of Protestantism.)
Today, the Church continues to face considerable challenges from outside and within. Global persecution and growing threats on religious liberties in the midst of a morally-declining, fear-driven culture are just a few. How does the Church respond? Or perhaps to put it more personally, how do WE respond?
Jesus expects His followers to be both compassionate and intelligent, to use our hearts as well as our minds, to demonstrate grace and when necessary, fight for justice – all the while, loving the World around us. A world that Jesus is redeeming to Himself.