Why the Church Needs History, Especially Now: A Historian's Vision for Equipping the Church

At a time of increasing cultural and political polarization, the North American church faces enormous challenges in embodying the unity of Christ and living out Christ's mission in this time and place.

This session by Kristin Du Mez considers the role that history can play in cultivating knowledge, empathy, humility, and wisdom within the body of Christ. History teaches us many things, perhaps first and foremost: Things haven't always been this way. But history also makes us suspicious of narratives of progress and decline. Things haven't always been better, and things aren't inevitably getting better. History prompts us to ask "How have things gotten to be this way?" If the church wanted to effect healthy change, history can offer valuable lessons. In this session, we explored two cases studies—the history of racial inequity in American society, and the history of Christianity and feminism—as we sought to understand how historical knowledge can better equip the church to minister in this moment.

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