Vol.IX No.VIII Pg.2
October 1972

A Historic Sense

Robert F. Turner

Following a lesson on the SEARCH for truth; a listener told me — in all seriousness — that she had thought Alexander Campbell was the one who unchained the Bible from a pulpit somewhere, and gave it to the people. This was not lack of intelligence.It was lack of information, and an historic sense. Perhaps she had accepted someones idealized and generalized statement as though it was a single specific historic act, but an alert historic sense would prevent this. Many are blind to todays church problems because their vision is limited to here and now. They can not see this generation as a nitch in the annals of time, greatly influenced by the preceding chapters, and doing much to shape the future.

I remember my own struggles with history in high school and early college years. Perhaps the very young are incapable of a very acute historic sense. But it is tragic when people grow up physically, yet maintain their childish self-centered concept of time and events. I am so thankful for the teacher who made history live in my mind—who made the characters and events real live people, doing and feeling even as people do and feel today. History then became more than cold statistics and dates, to be remembered until dutifully recorded in my exam paper, and no longer. They became the molders of today; highly relevant if we would live meaningful and constructive lives.

Written history high-lights events of the past, and we may forget that human nature, needs, and response to situations are much the same in all ages. If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets, or so we may say. But like the Pharisees of Jerusalem, we may be making the same mistakes in principle as did men of old, and thus be children of them which killed the prophets. (Matt. 23:29-32) Someone has said that about the only lesson we really learn from history is that few people really learn from history.

Paul said, I would not that ye should be ignorant of the past. The past was written for our admonition (1 Cor. 10:1-12). Stephens historic sermon (Acts 7), and Pauls sermon at Antioch (Acts 13:16-f), contain much material solely to establish an historic sense — to put the gospel in focus with the over -all picture.

Our day has a yesterday, and we must live with a view to a tomorrow. We must improve our historic sense, both sacred and secular, and quit the delusion that now is forever.