Ladies and gentlemen, I am launching a new podcast on church history! Our first episode introduces us to William Bradford and is available now on Apple Podcasts, Anchor, Google Podcasts, and all other major podcast outlets. Allow me to describe the new podcast and the motivation behind it.
What Is It?
Church History for Everyone, hosted by yours truly, is a podcast designed to give a fresh and informative look at how Jesus has been advancing his kingdom throughout history. From Athanasius to William Carey, I will seek to engage with every era of church history. Listeners can tune in during their commute to work, while washing the dishes, or even incorporate the lessons into family worship or a homeschooling plan. Each podcast will be short (10-15 minutes) and usually part of a series that provides a comprehensive, but digestible look at the figures and events of church history.
For example, the first mini-series will look at William Bradford and the Pilgrims who traveled to America in the 17th century. We will consider what it was like to worship Jesus in England under tyrants who would sometimes kill people for not worshiping as they saw fit. We will look at the practical challenges Bradford and the other saints faced as they moved first to Holland and then to America.
Other mini-series will cover figures such as Saint Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Martin Luther, Lady Jane Grey, John Knox, and Hudson Taylor―to name a few! We will also cover events like Nero’s persecutions in the first century, the Siege of Magdeburg, and the Great Awakening.
Why Church History?
Church history contains the greatest stories ever told. Jon Payne notes:
If church history does not get your blood pumping, you had better check your spiritual pulse. The sixteenth century alone provides a treasure of soul-stirring narratives. Think of Martin Luther’s bold and daring stand for the gospel against the destructive errors of Rome. Consider the faithful witness of the English martyrs who died singing psalms as they were consumed by flames. Or, how about the courageous life of John Knox, who while enslaved in the bowels of a French galley ship cried out, “Give me Scotland, or I die”?
Church history is the story of God’s people living out the Great Commission over the past 2,000 years. As such, nearly every major event in history involved Christians to one degree or another. We all know about the “major” players in church history: Saint Augustine, Martin Luther, John Calvin. But we often forget that every single event in history is, in fact, part of church history because God is causing all things to work together for the good of the true church of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:28). By looking at both the familiar events and the lesser-known instances in church history we will provide an encouraging and engaging educational experience.
Church history also teaches us how God has been faithful in the past. Hearing about how God was faithful to preserve his Word and unleash it to the people during the Reformation is an incredible testament to God’s faithfulness in fulfilling his promise.
In studying church history, we also learn about errors to avoid. We have much to learn from our spiritual forefathers by way of courageous example, steadfast faith, and dogged perseverance. But we also learn about some errors that they made that we might be wise to avoid.
The greatest reason to study church history, however, is to simply see the unfolding of God’s plan. Matthew Hall summarizes: “A robust doctrine of divine providence reminds us that human history is a giant canvas on which we see God paint his sovereign plan.”
Aren’t There a Bunch of Church History Podcasts?
Actually, not really. I was a bit surprised. When I conducted several informal polls on the subject, I found that most Christians would be interested in a podcast on church history. I already knew about one church history podcast and figured there had to be a bunch out there. I pulled up the Podcasts app on my phone and searched “church history.” I found many recorded books, or long-past lectures, but only one podcast that was up-to-date, concise and somewhat regular. That podcast is 5 Minutes in Church History with Stephen Nichols. Dr. Nichols’ podcast is very well-done, but it is only five minutes, once a week. It is designed as a gateway into the church history world, a door to Nichols’ books and other resources. There are a plethora of new theological podcasts available, some that touch on church history to be sure, but these are often over an hour long and contain a lot of random talking before getting to the content. This podcast will have no rambling or incessant small-talk. It will function more like a radio-program that seeks to provide engaging, short stories about the people and events of church history.
What Interested Me in Church History?
I love history. I decided to get my undergraduate degree in history largely because I wanted to study something I enjoyed. (Maybe that wasn’t the best decision looking back!) My graduate degree is in literature, but I truly thrived when focusing on the history behind the literature. My favorite course was Puritan writers. It was during my graduate coursework that I really began to have a deep interest for William Bradford and the Pilgrims.
As I consider the vast riches of church history, I cannot help but think that a regular, engaging podcast can fill the educational void left by much other less-edifying media.
How Can You Help?
If you like where this podcast is heading, you can do four things to help.
- Listen: podcasts need listeners!
- Share: tell your friends about it via social media and other avenues.
- Give feedback: e-mail me (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your ideas―let me know what you liked, what you didn’t like, and what you’d like to see in the future.
- Leave a review: leave a review in Apple Podcasts, or whichever platform you use.
I am very excited for the launch of Church History for Everyone. I hope you will tune in as we begin to explore the vast panoply of church history!