Listen to the August 5, 2019 show of Iron Sharpens Iron with Dr. Michael A. G. Haykin on “Augustine: His Life & Legacy (& Why 21st Century Protestants Should Never Ignore Or Forget this 4th & 5th Century Bishop of Hippo, North Africa)”Read More
Dr. Michael A.G. Haykin was recently interviewed by Back to the Bible on the history of the church from the Patristic era to modern day. Click below for each podcast and transcript.Read More
Why Should I Be Interested in Church History?
Joel R. Beeke and Michael A.G. Haykin
Now available from Reformation Heritage Books
The Word of God exalts history and calls us to study it, yet the prevailing attitude among many Christians today is that the study of the past is good for only collecting bits of entertaining trivia. Asserting that "meditating upon God's works and servants in history is not optional for the Christian but an important part of covenant faithfulness to the Lord," church historians Joel R. Beeke and Michael A.G. Haykin present seven benefits for the Christian who studies church history, and they provide practical suggestions for how they get started.
Dr. Haykin is quoted on the history of Valentine's Day in the following Baptist Press article: http://www.bpnews.net/46317/valentines-day-vendors-consumerism-evaluated. The following is an excerpt from the article, which was published Friday.
From the perspective of church history, celebrating romantic love on Valentine's Day is a relatively recent phenomenon, said Michael Haykin, professor of church history and biblical spirituality at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. The holiday originated as a Christian feast to honor a third-century martyr known as St. Valentine of Rome.
"Virtually nothing certain is known about St. Valentine of Rome," Haykin told BP in written comments. "... In fact, St. Valentine may well be the conflation of two martyrs by the same name of Valentine. The association of this martyr with romantic love comes in the Middle Ages. It appears to have been the remarkable author Geoffrey Chaucer (c.1343-1400), the so-called father of English literature, who linked St. Valentine with romance -- at least between birds -- in his allegory 'The Parliament of Fowls.'
"By the Victorian era," Haykin continued, "lovers were in the habit of sending each other hand-made cards on St. Valentine's Day. Romantic love in Christian thought is primarily rooted, interestingly enough, in the Puritans [believers who sought to purify the Church of England in the 16th-18th centuries]. It was some Puritan authors who first maintained in Christian history that marriage should only be contracted on the basis of love and that parents should not compel children to marry where there was no love."
By Dustin Bruce
Nathan Finn, dean of the School of Theology and Missions at Union University and Fellow of the Andrew Fuller Center, has written an excellent primer on the discipline of history and the nature of the historian’s task. This volume forms part of the “Reclaiming the Christian Intellectual Tradition” series, published by Crossway under the editorial guidance of David Dockery. In keeping with the aim of the series, Finn examines history from the perspective of a Christian worldview, drawing insights from the Dutch Kuyperian tradition and the Lutheran tradition. Years of experience teaching history, completing an undergraduate and Ph.D. in history, and a thorough analysis of historiographical literature, provides Finn with insights and anecdotes that make for an enjoyable and informative read.
Finn’s audience is primarily the undergraduate student interested in history as a major or minor. As such, it is written to serve as something of a supplementary text that introduces readers “to the discipline of history from the perspective of a Christian worldview that is shaped by the great tradition and is in dialog with other key voices in the field” (18). Not meant as a comprehensive introduction, the volume contains an introduction and four chapters. Though short, at roughly 90 pages of text, the writing is characterized by a “lucid brevity” that leaves the reader feeling satisfied and not underserved. Quality footnotes allow eager students access to further resources.
In the Introduction, Finn begins a discussion of how a Christian worldview affects history and the historian’s task. “Christians,” he argues, “should be keenly interested in studying the past since the very truth of the Judeo-Christian tradition is dependent upon certain historical events” (19). Furthermore, the great commandments of Matthew 22:34–49 serve as parameters for historical inquiry.
In chapter one, “Understanding History,” Finn lays out basic information, including the different between the “past” and “history.” He defines history as “the task of reconstructing and interpreting the past” (26). Other fundamentals are described, such as the difference between primary and secondary sources. Chapter two includes an overview of different “schools of history,” including an analysis of each school from a Christian perspective. The concept of “historiography” is also covered.
Chapter three, “Faith and the Historian,” picks up the controversial question of how one’s faith should influence one’s work as a historian. Finn rejects both a providentialist and naturalistic approach, arguing for an approach that recognizes the historian’s evidence comes from general revelation, where one cannot know the mind of God with certainty, and yet, must be tempered by the truths revealed in the Biblical storyline (73). Finn draws further insight from the Lutheran concept of vocation, before proposing Christian historians adopt a “bilingual” approach by developing the ability to serve academic and religious audiences. Chapter four, “History: An Invitation,” largely serves as an encouragement for students to pursue the study of history from a Christian perspective. Finn offers examples of how history and history degrees can be used both vocationally and in service to the church.
History: A Student’s Guide will undoubtedly serve students well as an introduction to the field of history and the task of the historian. It is small enough to be assigned as a supplementary text to a course without overburdening students, but comprehensive and compelling enough to warrant a close reading. Finn’s work may very well be used of God to inspire the next generation of Evangelical historians.
The Life of Andrew Fuller
by: Pastor Harry Dowds
Presented on Thursday, 19th March 2015 at The Irish Baptist Historical Society (from http://www.