Of course they do. Reformed theology has always held to a balanced view of the value and importance of church history and historical theology. Unlike Rome and eastern Orthodoxy we deny that tradition is a second source of infallible information, or even that church history can give us an infallible understanding of biblical revelation. Contra the Anabaptists, however, we affirm the great import of the wisdom of our fathers. To turn aside from what the church has always taught is fraught with danger. We affirm that God purifies His church in space and time, and that especially the ecumenical creeds can provide for us guidelines for what constitutes orthodoxy.

Consider the doctrine of the Trinity. Even the most ardent defender of the doctrine must confess that the Bible is not crystal clear on the matter. Does that mean, therefore, that we can take it or leave it, nuance it or deny it? Of course not. When the church in history affirms that God is three in person and one in essence, the key issue isn’t whether you are smart enough to come up with another perspective that has some level of plausibility. The issue is whether you are willing to humble yourself before the church, before the bar of history. Are you willing to say, “The church has always affirmed this. The church has always not only denied but condemned the contrary. The church certainly may err. What, though, is the likelihood that I have found wisdom that the church missed from the beginning? If the church has always condemned my position as heresy, how likely is it that they have always been wrong, while I alone am right? “

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