Church History Trends

December 2, 2004, re-edited December 2, 2005

Most Christians never have the privilege of taking a college or seminary level course in the History of Christianity. It is a LONG study. Many church history texts are 500 to a thousand pages in length! When you study church history carefully you come across some pretty shocking facts concerning what historians call "The Church."

I was surprised to discover that the Crusaders were about as Christ-like as meat grinders! I read of many powerful church leaders, bishops, reformers, popes who easily could have been characters in a horror movie! I discovered that the Church of England, that we call the Episcopalian Church here in the USA, was formed solely that King Henry the Eighth might dump another wife in his mad pursuit of a son. Seems he could only have daughters. He thought nothing of the sanctity of marriage and created a new church in order to unsanctify marriage a bit more.

I discovered that the true people of God were often minor, nameless characters, like the Lollards, Huguenots, Puritans, Moravians.

Even if you never study Christian history yourself you need to be aware of the over view because it might help you today. There are so many similarities in today's churches. We don't see the blood shed that went on then...but we still see the power structures too often standing in the way of the true will of God. Below I have listed some trends that I saw in the History of "The Church."

  1. The bigger church organizations have been more often wrong than right!
  2. The traditions of past generations have often over-powered the Word of God.
  3. The Holy Spirit was dethroned as the leader of any church not very long after the death of Saint John the Beloved.
  4. The church has more often been run by clergy, committees, dictators and kings than by the Lord God Almighty.
  5. There were always a very few true and pure believers that God raised up. But they were in the smallest minority.
  6. The purest believers were often persecuted more by other so called "Christians" than they were persecuted by pagans.
  7. When revival broke out, church leaders were often the ones who helped bring the revival to a halt.
  8. Politics and a spirit of control have generally been the policy of the visible church organizations.
  9. The church organization too often was used to limit the work of God than to release and allow the work of God.
  10. Church "power brokers" have often recognized that if true saints gained total freedom, the church organizational infrastructures would weaken. The "power brokers" have often elevated organizational infrastructures over the true body of Christ. The man-made leadership has often understood that the true move of God does not advance man-made structures. The true move of God has little use for man-made structure.

The history of the organized church on planet Earth has been a very shocking history. Nevertheless, God has had HIS true people here and there, doing HIS will. The true church goes on...but it has never been a majority, only a minority.