Let's Start at the Very Beginning

“To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in his steps” (1 Peter 2:21).
Bruce Shelly tells of a Peanuts cartoon that has Charlie Brown’s little sister Sally writing a school theme entitled “Church History.” Charlie reads her introduction: “When writing about Church history,” she begins, “we have to go back to the very beginning. Our preacher was born in 1930.”
“Many Christians,” Shelly remarks, “suffer from historical amnesia” (“Church History in Plain Language,” page xv). You have probably heard the old saying that “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” (George Santayana).
But some history we want to repeat. If we follow in the footsteps of Jesus, then we are attempting to repeat history, to that extent. And if we preach the Gospel the Apostles preached, then again we are repeating, to the best of our ability, the history about which we read (Galatians 1:6-8). And if we search the pages of scripture to find God’s will for our lives and our church, then we are seeking to go back to the beginning. This is a beginning that predates the many admirable deeds of Campbell and Stone, and predates the courage of Luther and Calvin. It is an attempt to sweep away the dust and grime of history and reveal the church as it was in the mind of God.
Sally would be surprised to discover that the beginning predated her preacher; but we should not. Invariably when God creates something, it is very good. What we want to do is go back to the beginning, when the church was born!

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Stan Mitchell

Stan has preached since 1976, in Zimbabwe, California, Texas and Tennessee. He serves as preacher for the Red Walnut Church of Christ in Bath Springs, TN. He is currently Professor of Bible at Freed-Hardeman University. He is married to the former Marjorie McCarthy, and has one daughter, Tracy Watts. He is the author of four books: The Wise Get Wiser, the Foolish More Foolish: The Book of Proverbs, Give the Winds a Mighty Voice: Our Worship in Song, and Equipping the Saints for Ministry. He has recently published another book, "Will Our Faith Have Children: Developing Leadership in the Church for the Next Generation.

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