Michael Reeves (UK) is a friend and the author of some really outstanding books like Delighting in the Trinity (2012) and The Unquenchable Flame (2010). I love chatting theology with him. Today he released a new message: “A Complete Church History,” which you can download here, or listen to here:
“The real history of Christianity is the history of a great spiritual tradition. The only true apostolical succession is the lives of the saints. Clement of Alexandria compared the Church to a great river, receiving affluents from all sides. The great river sometimes flows impetuously through a narrow channel; sometimes it spreads like a flood; sometimes it divides into several streams; sometimes, for a time, it seems to have been driven underground. But the Holy Spirit has never left himself without witness; and if we will put aside a great deal of what passes for Church history, and is really a rather unedifying branch of secular history, and follow the course of the religion of the Spirit and the Church of the Spirit, we shall judge very differently of the relative importance of events from those who merely follow the fortunes of institutionalism.”
-W. R. Inge, Things New and Old (1933), p. 57. As quoted on page 161 of F.F. Bruce, The Spreading Flame: The Rise and Progress of Christianity from its First Beginnings to the Conversion of the English (Paternoster, Wipf & Stock), 1958.
“A world, and a church, which is hooked on novelty like some cultural equivalent of crack cocaine needs the cold, cynical eye of the historian to stand as a prophetic witness against it. And make no mistake, when it comes to my approach to trendy evangelical claims to epoch-making insights, beneath the cold, cynical exterior of this particular historian beats a heart of stone.”
-Carl Trueman, Minority Report (Scotland: Christian Focus, 2008), p. 26