History

May 29, 2014

History

                        “What mean ye by these stones?” (Joshua 4:6)  The twelve stones left at the side of the Jordan River told the story of God’s deliverance of his people.  The stones were a memorial of what happened in the past.  God wanted the story to be passed on to the children of the nation of Israel.   Children need to learn history.  History books are a memorial.  They have a story to tell.

Much of what we read in the Bible is history.  Christianity is based on historical facts.  Our salvation is based on the fact of Christ’s death and resurrection 2000 years ago.  J. Gresham Machen wrote, “A gospel independent of history is a contradiction of terms.” “Christianity and Liberalism” p. 121

Secular history has some important facts to teach us.  To be ignorant of history makes it very probable that we will repeat the same mistakes our forefathers made.  There is much we can and should learn from history.  He who has studied history can say, “You won’t fool me with that theory.  I know where that road would lead us.”

Ignorance of history leaves people vulnerable to leaders who aspire to be dictators.  It is happening in our country.  A society is always composed of more poor people than wealthy people.  To gain power, leaders promise the poor a greater share of the wealth in exchange for their votes.  It is a theory of government that appeals to the masses.  The strategy of these leaders is to take, by means of taxes, from the rich and give it to the poor.  It is called socialism.  It is very similar to communism.  If people are ignorant of history, they will not be aware of what the end result will be.  It has been tried a number of times.  It always leads to the downfall of a nation.

Salvador Allende, a socialist, had much influence over the government of Chile.  After he became president in 1970 he nationalized the industry.  By 1973 the economy was in ruins.       The military overthrew the government and eventually restored the country to capitalism and prosperity.  The same thing happened in Russia under communism.   The country was rescued when the government instituted a modified form of the free enterprise system.

It is shocking to learn from history what powerful dictatorial governments have done.  In the May, 2014 issue of the Whistle Blower Magazine there is a revealing article written by Walter E. Williams.  The title of the article is “CONCENTRATION OF POWER: FORMULA FOR GREAT EVIL.  Understanding what enabled governments to kill millions in the last century.”  In the article he says that in the 20th century some 50 – 60 million people died in international and civil wars.  Then he cites some statistics from the book “Death by Government” written by Rudolph J. Rummel.  In his book, Rummel estimates that governments have killed some 117 million of their own citizens in the 20th century.  History attests to that fact if we add up the 62 million killed by the Soviet Union.  The People’s Republic of China put to death 35 – 40 million of its citizens.  We can add to that the 16 million that the Nazis put to death.  They were mostly Jews but included in that number were also Slaves, Serbs, Czechs, Poles and Ukrainians.  We could also include the 1-3 million who died in Cambodia under the dictatorship of Pot Pol.

If leaders aspire to take their country into socialism, it would be to their advantage to keep their people ignorant of history.  Could that be the reason why history isn’t being taught in most of our public schools?  When it is taught, it is often altered so as to present the author’s world view in a favorable light.

God’s people need to study the history of Christianity.  Apart from the history found in the Bible, there are many good books on the history of Christianity; sometimes called “church history.” Christian leaders have also made mistakes.  We need to learn from their mistakes.

Galatians 6:7-8 has a history lesson for us.  “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.   For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.”  This makes us aware of the danger of being deceived.  There is a lot that we can learn by observation.  There is a lot more that can be learned by studying history.  We need to know what men have sown and what the results have been.  When people are ignorant of history it’s easy to deceive them.

Why don’t people read history?  Probably the main reason is just that most people read very little.  Many are intellectually lazy.  A large percentage of adults go for years without reading a single book.  That’s not a record to be proud of.

Perhaps another reason why people don’t read is because it can be disconcerting.  Ignorance is bliss.  They are like the people who refuse to go to the doctor for fear that he will give them a bad diagnosis.  When they finally do go, he says, “If you would have come sooner I could have helped to get your health turned around.  Now all I can tell you to do is to go home and prepare to die.” By the knowledge we gain from history we can see danger ahead and divert it.

You can’t afford to be ignorant of history.  If you don’t read books, then watch the History Channel.  Ask questions.  Do whatever you can to be informed.

Our e-mail address is rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

 

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