The understanding of church history plays an integral role in a seminarians future whether or not they are going into ministry. As someone who is not intending to go into ministry post seminary, I still understand it’s importance in the pathway to getting a seminary degree. Church history lays the groundwork for current church understanding. It allows us to have a deeper understanding of the relationship we should aspire to have with our Creator and it also gives us tools to help us minister to those who are seeking a relationship with God.
First, church history allows us to see where others have been so that in turn we can know where we are going. As seminary students, we are all wanting to have some divine direction from God telling us what we are going to do in the future. Understanding what key people did before us to bring about church reformation and restoration can be an encouragement to us in the present. It’s impossible to understand where we are now if we do not know how we got here. We can lose a great amount of perspective if we do not study church history.
I personally believe that church history can be a huge reminder of God’s faithfulness, especially to seminary students. Throughout church history God’s faithfulness has never wavered and time and time again we as seminary students can be reminded of this truth in our own lives. For seminary students planning to go into ministry, this would especially hold truth. Leaders and movers and shakers in the church world need to be reminded of this more than ever.
I also believe that as seminarians it is our duty to know church history and to learn from those who came before us. There have been so many victories on this side of faith but also so many failures. Learning church history can show us how not to repeat history, if it shouldn’t be repeated. On the other side of this argument, church history can also help us know how to address particular situations today. There is not a situation today that has probably not been addressed in some way, shape, or form in the past.
Church history can also help us in our ministry to others. It does not just cover one denomination, it covers many. In life we encounter many types of people from all sorts of backgrounds, denominations, and religions. We can be equipped to minister to those who are different than us, just by having knowledge of church history. As a seminary student, this would be very helpful for future ministerial practices.
In seminary, we come across people with big opinions and a big floor on which to share those opinions. I believe that church history can bring humility to those individuals, including myself. New and contemporary views are important in this day and age, but we do not want to stray from the theology of scripture so far that no church historian ever has had that idea. This is where humility comes in. Church history can humble a person and show them that their beliefs may be a bit too far fetched.
Finally, I believe that learning church history should be required for seminary students because it helps us to correctly interpret the bible. In order to minister accurately and effectively to our families, congregations, and even ourselves, we have to have correct interpretation of God’s Word.
Church history plays an important role in the life of a seminary student and having it as a required course sets us up for success in our relationship with God as well as our relationships with those we minister to.