Participating in a forum in the Summer 1999 edition of the Southern Baptist Journal of Theology, Timothy George cites the value of church history in preaching and worship: “Doctrinal preaching has both a propositional and incarnational dimension. It is the truth of God’s Word distilled and applied to fallen and redeemed human beings, but it is also that truth lived out in the flesh and blood reality of the people of God. In an era when narrative preaching and personal autobiographical reminiscence has become the norm in many pulpits, I think we should extend the scope of our narrative reach to include those who are now, by God’s grace, in the Church triumphant. Our lives and our stories are intertwined with theirs, and we have much to learn about living the Christian life today from a close acquaintance with their failures and faithfulness, their suffering and perseverance.
“Much of our debate in the current worship wars reflects a near-total ignorance of historical precedence and liturgical developments. One of the best ways to overcome this is to connect great hymns of the faith with sound biblical and theological exposition. Who could not preach on the grace of God after singing Charles Wesley’s “And Can It Be”? Or on forgiveness after “Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven”? Likewise, in celebrating the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper, the visible words of God in bread, cup and water should always be accompanied by thorough instruction. In these and many other ways, church history is a wonderful resource for the preaching ministry of the Church.”