In a word, no.
Although I am sure about what I think, providence is an issue of importance to religious historians. To explore the issue, Justin Taylor at the Gospel Coalition published a helpful post yesterday on the subject which teases out some of the issues and players.
He examines the views of six historians which believe Christian historians should describe God’s hand in human events and those who don’t.
If you enjoy the history posts here, you will want to read the entire post.
For what it’s worth, I am in the Carl Trueman-John Fea camp.
Today, Taylor follows up with more from David Bebbington and others on how the Christian historian should write for a secular audience. Since I don’t believe the Christian historian is omniscient and can tell what God is doing, I don’t think the writing is much different when providing an accurate historical narrative.
I really appreciate this series because it brings attention to some of the issues at stake with David Barton’s fractured history. Barton writes as if he understands the providence of God and claims that historical facts validate his view. However, to get to his position, he takes history hostage and tortures it until the hostage supports his religious view of the events. Having a providential mindset in advance of the facts can easily set up the historian to find what he wants to find, or more accurately, what he believes he needs to find in order for his religion to seem true to his audience. In my belief system, God does not need that kind of help from me.
Should Historians Read Providence in Historical Events?
In a word, no.