7/28/97 Study Christian biographies, speaker urges today's faithful

by Keith Hinson , posted Monday, July 28, 1997 (21 years ago)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (BP)--Christians today should study the lives of Christians from ages past, said a speaker at the Southern Baptist Founders Conference, July 22-25, at Samford University, Birmingham, Ala.

Timothy George, dean of Samford's Beeson Divinity School, told conferees they should study Christian biography and history for three reasons:

-- to overcome the "heresy of contemporaneity." George noted that Copernicus discovered the sun does not revolve around the earth.

"But while we have experienced a Copernican revolution with respect to space, we have yet to experience a Copernican revolution with respect to time," George noted. "We still see our age (and) our time at the center of everything in the created cosmos."

-- to overcome the myth of self-sufficiency. George said the New Testament speaks of the church in two ways: as a local particular congregation of God's people and as the universal body of Christ extended throughout space and time.

"One reason for studying the biographies of those who have come before us in the family of faith is that reminds us that we ourselves are not sufficient -- that we need one another in the greater body of Christ," George said.

-- to overcome the fallacy of uniformity. "We can learn from servants of God in days gone by, from many who are -- in many respects - - not as we are."

George made his remarks during an address on the life of Richard Baxter, a 17th-century English Puritan who was neither a Baptist nor a strict Calvinist.

But George suggested much can be learned from Baxter whose most famous quote is, "I preach as never sure to preach again as a dying man to dying men."

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