Can Christians Do Critical Church History?

Church HistoryAs I work on this podcast about Christian history, one could challenge me on how appropriate it is for me to do this. Not only am I a Christian, but I’m a pastor as well. Doesn’t that bias disqualify me?

I have seen discussions questioning the ability of believers to do either biblical research or Christian history. A Christian will always defend what they believe and therefore cannot be impartial.

I’m not convinced that Christians are unable to do real church history. In fact, it has often been from within the church that the harshest criticism about the church has emerged.

Although I believe the Bible to be a reliable report about Jesus and the early church, I have no intention of ignoring the mistakes of the church.

Do I have a bias? Absolutely. I think that despite all its mistakes and failures that the church is something special. I wouldn’t be a pastor otherwise.

My bias will influence what I present in my podcast. But the same thing would happen if I was Jewish, Muslim, Mormon or atheist. I believe we need to own our bias.

My philosophy for historical research is to look for different perspectives. For example, when I get to the crusades, I will want to look beyond church accounts. I will want to look at modern secular treatments as well as Muslim interpretations of the events.

The presence of a bias does not disqualify something as valuable. It only means that we need to be aware of the bias and attempt to balance it with other perspectives as we are able.

My goal for this podcast is not to defend the actions of the church. Rather, I want to put the actions of the church in their historical context. Not only do I love the church, I also love history.

I hope that you will join me on this journey.

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Episode 11 – The Letters of Paul

History of ChristianityMuch of our New Testament is made up of letters by the Apostle Paul. We are fortunate to have both an account of Paul’s ministry in Acts and letters by him. This episode puts the letters in their context, looking at some of the major themes. This episode also addresses the claim that a number of the letters in the New Testament are not by Paul.

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Episode 10 – The Apostle Paul

History of ChristianityIn this episode, we look at the life of the Apostle Paul. We examine his beginnings in Tarsus as a faithful Jew to his death in Rome as a follower of Jesus.

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Episode 9 – James: Brother and Author

History of ChristianityThis episode of the History of Christianity asks the questions: 1) Was Jesus really the brother of Jesus and 2) Did he really write the epistle of James in the New Testament.

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Episode 8 – Pillars of the Church: Peter, James and John

History of ChristianityIn this eighth episode of the History of Christianity, we take a look at the three men that the Apostle Paul describes as the pillars of the church: Peter, James and John.

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Episode 7 – The Church is Born

History of ChristianityIn this seventh episode of the History of Christianity, we take a look at the beginnings of the church, starting with the day of Pentecost and going to the Jerusalem Council.

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Episode 6 – Jesus: Crucifixion and Resurrection

History of ChristianityIn this sixth episode of the History of Christianity, we take a look at Jesus as he enters Jerusalem, is arrested and crucified. We also look at the resurrection and why historians should discuss it.

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Episode 5 – Jesus: The Ministry Years

History of ChristianityIn this fifth episode of the History of Christianity, we look at Jesus’s ministry before his entry into Jerusalem. Rather than recounting every event in the Gospels, we look at some of the major themes.

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Episode 4 – Jesus: The Early Years

History of ChristianityIn this fourth episode of the History of Christianity, we look at Jesus from his birth to his baptism. We also look at questions of whether Matthew and Luke invented the virgin birth to copy pagan myths or satisfy Old Testament prophecy.

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Episode 3 – Jesus Before the Early Years

History of ChristianityIn this third episode of the History of Christianity, we take a look at Jesus before he was born in Bethlehem. The New Testament teaches that Jesus was both divine and pre-existent. We look at the biblical evidence for the nature of Jesus before the incarnation.

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