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History from a Biblical Worldview: Looking Back for Looking Ahead

History from a Biblical Worldview: Looking Back for Looking Ahead


Things sure seem to be taking a turn for the worse. That’s common sentiment for many Americans, and rightfully so. With the fluctuating stock market, frequent political stand-stills, the increasing national deficit, recent struggles with unemployment, and the ever-present threat of terrorism, it is easy to understand the frustration and concern that has developed when considering the future of a nation. For the Christian, keenly aware of the devaluing of human life and biblical convictions in a nation which was once a beneficiary of profound spiritual renewal, the era in which we live appears to present a bleak progression.


Students are not blind to what is going on. They see parents or other families experiencing the struggle to find consistent work opportunities, many of them under the threat of foreclosure. They recognize the rising debate over gender neutrality that commonly presents itself on morning news shows and occasionally even in advertising. Enter: Jeremiah – the “weeping prophet”; the witness to Judah’s great and rebellious demise. He warned God’s people to turn from their wicked ways, to once again trust in the Lord God and remember the faith of their ancestors. Jeremiah lamented the destruction of Jerusalem and the fierce consequences that resulted from persistent corruption, bogus attempts at worship, and adulterous idolatry. How far God’s people had wandered from the Living Water! Jeremiah mourned significantly, and with good reason, but even after experiencing persecution at the hands of his hometown and the fall of the congregation to which he was called to preach, he remembered:
"Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness". Lamentations 3:21-23


Oh, to be trapped with the worldview of the typical Judean during a time of abundant rebellion and horrendous consequence. Two themes present themselves with astounding regularity throughout the course of history: (1) the reality of the total depravity or sinfulness of mankind; and (2) God’s sovereign plan of redemption – encompassing the past and present, and pointing toward a glorious future.


One might think that it’s easy to consider God’s redemptive plan while engrossed in the study of history found in the Old and New Testaments, but what is there to offer in the centuries that follow recorded events discovered in Scripture? Students should be made aware of the lives of men like Athanasius, the Bishop of Alexandria during the latter days of the Roman Empire. It was Athanasius that fought against the rise of Arianism, the belief that Jesus was a created being, not equal to God the Father. This false teaching that questioned the deity of Christ produced a dire circumstance for true Christianity in the Roman world, and it was Athanasius Contra Mundum (Athanasius against the world). Placed in exile for seventeen of his forty-five years as bishop, Athanasius fought long and hard to protect biblical doctrines, such as orthodox view of the Trinity. God used Athanasius to protect the heart of the gospel, how might our students be used for the sake of the Truth?


Many history teachers gloss over the 1,000-plus years existence of the Byzantine Empire. This empire, and their capital city of Constantinople, was home to the Eastern Orthodox Church. They bordered the Arab nations and their rapidly growing Islamic religion. Constantinople successfully fended off twenty-two significant attempts to overtake its lines of defense. How might things have been different if they had failed? Was Western Europe, recently dismantled by the fall of Rome, prepared to take on yet another onslaught? What would a Byzantine failure have meant for Christianity in Europe, the continent that would eventually experience one of the greatest spiritual victories in history, the Protestant Reformation? Had the Arabs conquered Europe, would there be an American nation today? It’s apparent that God was at work. He had a plan of redemption, a promise made to Abraham that He has always been faithful to protect.


Why must each history student receiving a Christian education learn the importance of a biblical worldview? Two main reasons come to mind. First of all, without it, there is no hope. If students are not privileged with an understanding of man’s sinful state, evidenced by a shameful track record, the need for a remedy cannot be conceived. Therefore, a biblical, gospel-soaked curriculum must prevail. Secondly, with prayers for a work of salvation in a young person’s heart, educators should strive to equip contenders for their vocation in Christ, in a world that desperately needs the hope that can only be found in Him. What joy can be experienced with a proper biblical perspective, looking with confidence to God’s grace and mercy in the present age, and in the heavenly age to come!

 

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