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A Look at Church History: Reflections on CH305 by Nicole Cang Chua

Church History is a broad subject.  Christianity has been around the last two millennia and I was curious how my chosen faith came to be what it is now.  A two thousand-year timeline compressed into twelve sessions of study is no mean feat.  International Bible Institute (IBI)’s Church History course CH305 puts it in a neatly-packed nutshell, giving a novice learner like me a clear and far-ranging bird’s-eye view.

CH305 divides Church History into six sections: The Christian Church was birthed in an Upper Room by the disciples of Jesus Christ after His death and resurrection (Apostolic Church).  It endured untold suffering under Roman rule (Persecuted Church), then became the most powerful political entity (Imperial and Medieval Church).  Rife with corruption and abuses, the system was revamped by the faithful learned (Reformed Church).  Schools of thought, both sane and contentious, later emerged and continue to establish themselves (Modern Church).

I learned much from these history lessons.  There are delightful as well as sobering facts.  For one, how supposedly renowned men of God dealt with unbelievers with unspeakable cruelty.  How could they??  These were Church Fathers whom we admire today and whose teachings we follow almost as dogma.  But as our teacher Pastor Mel Caparros succinctly put it, “They were children of their times.” (Note to self: Always look to Jesus, not man, as role model).  Then there were the Children’s Crusades organized in the name of religion.  This to me was the most vile and offensive.  But let us not dwell on the macabre, for the good far outweighs the bad.  Programs for the believers such as doctrinal studies, missions, prayer meetings, Bible camps, Sunday school flourished and helped serious seekers of the Lord grow in their faith.  With genuine repentance came massive-scale revivals at different points in time.  Furthermore, the Church helped counter social ills by establishing orphanages, prison reform, charities for the down-and-out, and the like.  It worked hard towards a kinder and more humane society.

Over the centuries, Christianity has been violently assailed and opposed—from the colosseums of ancient Rome where believers were martyred, to modern-day classrooms where atheism is espoused.  Time and again and again, the Enemy sounded the call to “steal, kill and destroy.”  Yet men and women of God stood their ground and fought for their faith.  To them I owe a debt of gratitude for my own faith.  Never has one Body encountered so much opposition.  Among all religions, I ask, why Christianity?  Because it is TRUTH.  And why, after all the opposition, does it still stand today?  Because “Jesus Christ Himself is its Chief Cornerstone.” (Ephesians 2:20), hence, “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18).

Ultimately, the story of the Christian Church is the story of Jesus Christ.  The Church continues for as long as the Lord tarries.  The saints patiently await.  We all await.  When the Day finally comes, there will be a joyous culmination.  For then it will be the Church Victorious, headed by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, enthroned for all eternity!  To Him be the glory now and forevermore.

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