Industrialist Henry Ford is the source of the quote but it could be reflective of a ton of folks today. Even if we do not believe that history is bunk, people tend to be fairly illiterate about history. We have Christians who do not know basic Bible history. One professor told me that 90% of the freshmen in his college intro to religion class could not tell the story of Noah and the ark. We have all known about this for a long time. Biblical illiteracy is the reason why some preachers get away with such outlandish and strange interpretations. Remember Benny Hinn who described Adam as a superman who visited other planets, etc. A little knowledge of the Scriptural story and Bible history would help put such foolishness into its proper perspective.
What I am writing about is a general lack of religious history. Christians in general do not have any idea how we got from twelve apostles to hundreds of Christian denominations (at least in the USA). In my new member instruction I spend a good deal of time surveying Christian history to connect the dots. For example, many presuppose the current religious landscape with early Christianity and assume a denominational map that is much more recent that people know. Living in the South it is a shock to Baptists to find out that their denomination (if you can call it that) is only about as old as the US -- young in comparison to the Reformation Churches. It is also a shock for many Protestants to find out that many of the things that identify ROMAN Catholicism are the fruit of the Counter-Reformation and the Council of Trent. I had someone argue with me over the fact that papal infallibility was the dictum of the First Vatican Council in 1870 and that it has been invoked only once -- in 1950 -- to declare as dogma the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (that she did not die a physical death but was bodily assumed into heaven).
Another area of ignorance is the impact of frontier America upon the religious landscape of this country. I owe a great debt to C. George Fry, one of the best classroom teachers I have ever had. He told the story of America's expansion and its relationship to the churches of America in a way that was both informative and fascinating. Entrepreneurial religion and revivalism was born of this frontier without borders, law, or organized society. Its migration to the media and TV preachers is still evidenced in folks like Joel Osteen. In conjunction with this is the impact of the freedom of religion and how it has given birth to a Christianity narrowly defined and unhooked from its historical moorings -- something that is America's gift and blight to the world.
The other great shock to many is that Islam is such a recent religion, having roots in the seventh century but coming into its own much later. There are those who assume that Islam and Judaism have been battling it out since Abraham was faced with two sons and had to banish one to keep the other. While this is certainly the ethnic history of the Middle East, the religious history between the peoples was much more recent.
I would plead with Pastors to give an introduction to religious history to their new converts and to old Lutherans alike. The historical context for the Reformation is key to understanding it and its success. I am always amazed at the "a ha" moment when they realize that the Leo X had a declining Holy Roman Empire that was then only the Germanic states, a fragmented and often hostile European monarchical system, a new world being claimed by competing nations, a huge debt, a desire to be remembered in the stone of St. Peter's Cathedral, an Islamic empire poised to take on Europe with a good chance of victory, AND a disruptive German monk who wanted to talk theology. Luther and his siding with the nobles in the Peasants Revolt or the almost defeat of Lutheranism in Germany until Gustavus Adolphus landed in there in 1630 to turn the tide of the Thirty Years War -- these are some of the stories that need to be told to frame out who Lutherans are and where they came from. I spend time talking about Lutheran liturgical history and the rich liturgical life in Leipzig and the Lutheran liturgical, preaching, and musical piety that gave birth to a Johann Sebastian Bach.
I am not advocating ignoring Scripture but I am pretty certain that you can teach the Scriptures and impart a knowledge of the faith but still leave converts somewhat crippled by a lack of historical connections that helps them to frame out the history of God at work through His people and His Church. After all, we Lutherans are not the Radical Reformers who rejected God's work in history and who believed that they must recover the origins of an Apostolic Christianity and start the Church all over again. We Lutherans believe that even with its sordid twists and turns, God was still at work in and among His people in every age and place where His Word is proclaimed and His Sacraments administered in accordance with His Word.
Don't assume that people know much about history in general, Bible history and Christians history in specific. Teach it to them... and teach it well.