1. The value of truth. From the Son of God to missionaries in hostile countries today, a lot of people have died for their convictions about Jesus Christ. I loved learning about the people who fought for doctrinal orthodoxy throughout the ages, and it makes me appreciate so much more the importance of thinking correctly about God. I will never look at the Nicene Creed the same way now that I see in it responses to all the diverging beliefs of the 1st to 4th centuries.
2. The value of Jesus. Those same martyrs' stories (Polycarp, Perpetua, and John Huss in particular) brought me to tears more than once. As I heard their last words and the way they responded to their persecutors, I was encouraged to love Him more. He is worth my life and everything else.
3. The positive legacy of the Catholic Church. In Peru more than anywhere, the Catholic Church gets a bad rap. I was glad to learn about the champions of truth in the Catholic Church throughout its history and to find specific reasons to appreciate this part of Christendom.
4. The ongoing call to reformation. It's interesting to see that Martin Luther didn't come out of nowhere. There were dissenting voices against ecclesiastical abuse, moral laxity, and doctrinal error from the 2nd century on. I'm looking forward to my second church history course and finding out more about how the 16th century reformers brought that tradition to a new level.
5. The "why" behind separation of Church and State. After seeing the way Western Christianity was completely corrupted by worldly power in the Middle Ages, I'm happier than ever with the American separation of Church and State. Want to take "one nation, under God" out of the Pledge of Allegiance? You won't find me leading the revolt. I'm wholeheartedly convinced that what we forfeit for the sake of separation, we gain a hundred times back.
Wish me luck on my test tomorrow! Actually I'm feeling pretty good about it. Next week I need to write my research paper, which will be on something related to the canon of the New Testament since those are the only books I happen to have available here (actually "book"... there's only 1... plus a number of Google Books and other resources I found online). I'm hoping to start Church History 2 (Reformation to present) on February 1.