Why Study the History of Sabbath Keepers?
by Richard Nickels
(This article is an excerpt from the March – April 2009 edition of the Sabbath Sentinel)
Giving and Sharing Study No. 264
“An Indian proverb states, “A people without history are like the blowing wind.” Today there is an abysmal lack of knowledge among Sabbath keepers of their own history. This dearth has motivated me to write a couple of books on the fascinating subject of church history. Why should we study church history? Because we cannot understand what is happening today in the Sabbath-keeping Churches without a background of what has happened in the past. Unless we learn the lessons of the past, we are destined to repeat the mistakes of our ancestors. The history of God’s Church is both thrilling and educational. “He that hath an ear to hear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches” (Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6,13, 22). I have long been interested in the history of Sabbath keepers. Not knowing one’s history is like starting to watch a movie in the middle. You don’t know what happened before and have difficulty understanding what is happening now. When you look into the history of Sabbath keepers, you see striking examples of the maxim, “history repeats itself.” You see the relationship between different groups and appreciate more fully how they arrived at their position today. You find characters such as John James, Dr. Peter Chamberlen, Gilbert Cranmer, and many others with whom you can identify. You can appreciate their work for the Master, their problems, and their trials.”
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