The Purpose of the Podcast
To explain the purpose of the podcast, I’d like to quote Justo Gonzales, the author of the book, The Story of Christianity. He begins his book this way,
“The reader will probably be surprised to learn that I regard this book in large measure as autobiographical. It is so first of all because, as Jose Ortega y Gasset said, each generation stands on the shoulders of its predecessors like acrobats in a vast human pyramid. Thus to tell the story of those to whom we are heirs is to write a long preface to our own life stories.”
As modern Christians and as people, we are shaped in ways that will never know by those who have gone before us. But the more we understand about them, and their choices, the more we understand about ourselves.
Our understanding of history is something of a deficiency for most Christians today. As modern Christians, specifically modern American Christians, we have a very little knowledge of those who have gone before us in the faith. I think this is to our great disadvantage. As C. S. Lewis says in the Screwtape letters, through the devil Wormwood, “Since we cannot deceive the whole human race all the time, it is most important thus to cut every generation off from all others; for where learning makes a free commerce between the ages there is always the danger that the characteristic errors of one may be corrected by the characteristic truths of another.”
Not only does history help us to learn about ourselves, and give a glimpse of a different perspective, it also gives us humility. The questions we have, and the struggles we face, are rarely something new. Most of the questions we have, are questions Christians have faced for the last 2,000 years. And while the church faces struggles ahead, we can take courage knowing that the Church has faced just as harsh struggles before.
So, with this little series, I hope to change some of that. I hope to show the lives of faithful Christians who have gone before. What were their contexts and struggles? What can they teach about living faithfully? What mistakes did they make that we can learn from?
I will start the series with focus on Christians of the Middle Ages. I’m going to skip the early Church fathers for now, because there are already some great resources on them. So I will go to a part of church history that is rarely talked about, the period beginning roughly in 500 AD. I will try to focus on some more well-known and less known figures. In these first episodes we will especially focus on the Christianization of Europe.