It is instructive to reflect on the uniqueness of the Apostolic Church and the early years of the Christian movement. The period in which the New Testament was being written was a time of newness. Preaching and evangelism became a hallmark of the first Christians. Baptism and Communion were newly instituted rites. Churches were just forming, and church government was being established, with leadership roles becoming acknowledged and formalized. Lastly, the New Testament itself was in the process of being written and recognized.
With all these new things happening, it would have been tempting to simply leave the past behind and forge ahead into the new era of the Kingdom of God.
Perhaps the author of Hebrews had this in mind as he set about showing that the covenant community of men and women living by faith was not something new, but rather a continuation of God’s plan of salvation from days of old. The writer takes great pains to demonstrate the continuity of God’s covenant and redemption with all that had taken place in the Old Testament. His argument climaxes with a celebration of “the faith hall of fame” in Hebrews 11, as examples of faith for his readers, as well as for us.
Just as the writer of Hebrews believed that our predecessors in the faith could guide and inspire us, we too can learn from, and be inspired by, the lives and work of our forebears in the faith. This is particularly true with respect to the work God has done in reviving His people in time past.
Neglecting our heritage severely handicaps the Church. We fail to see the manner in which God has brought about revivals in times past; the transformational nature of revivals upon their cultures; and the benefit of seeing what God accomplished through men and women of faith. And we can lose sight of the fact that, because God has done so many wonderful works in the past, not even our day is beyond the reach and power of His reviving Spirit.
In subsequent newsletters, we will look at the lives and the writings of some of our Christian ancestors. Reclaiming part of our Christian heritage should encourage and embolden us as we expand our vision for God’s Kingdom and for how He may use us.
Whether or not you are previously familiar with these forerunners in the faith, we hope their stories will encourage you to become better acquainted with them, and to learn from their faith how we can trust the Lord for great and new things in our day.
Ralph Lehman, Men’s Prayer Coordinator
T. M. Moore, Principal
Download “Men of the Church: A Solemn Call” for free by clicking this link. Make copies for all the men you know, and urge them to join you in this movement of Men at Prayer. Order your copy of Restore Us! and start your own regular Revival Prayer Group.
Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.