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Talk delivered at the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship Colloquium. Published June 28, 2017.

At a time of increasing cultural and political polarization, the North American church faces enormous challenges in embodying the unity of Christ and living out Christ’s mission in this time and place.

This session by Kristin Du Mez considers the role that history can play in cultivating knowledge, empathy, humility, and wisdom within the body of Christ. History teaches us many things, perhaps first and foremost: Things haven’t always been this way. But history also makes us suspicious of narratives of progress and decline. Things haven’t always been better, and things aren’t inevitably getting better. History prompts us to ask “How have things gotten to be this way?” If the church wanted to effect healthy change, history can offer valuable lessons. In this session, we explored two cases studies—the history of racial inequity in American society, and the history of Christianity and feminism—as we sought to understand how historical knowledge can better equip the church to minister in this moment.

About the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship

The Calvin Institute of Christian Worship (CICW), located at Calvin College and Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan, is an interdisciplinary study and ministry center that promotes the scholarly study of the theology, history, and practice of Christian worship and the renewal of worship in worshiping communities across North America and beyond.

logo of calvin institute of christian worshipFounded in 1997, CICW is dedicated to using the unique resources of a Christian liberal arts college and theological seminary—with its collegial environment, international faculty and student body, wide interdisciplinary expertise, and culture of ongoing learning—to partner with congregations, denominations, parachurch organizations, professional organizations, and publishers to further our mission.

About the CICW


Du Mez, Kristin Kobes. “Why the Church Needs History, Especially Now: A Historian’s Vision for Equipping the Church.” Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. Audio recording. June 27, 2017.

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