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Many young believers have no concept of the hundreds of years of history that Christianity had gone through since the time of Jesus Christ over 2,000 years ago. The purpose of this broadcast is to dispel this notion by sharing with listeners the history of Christianity from the ministry of Jesus Christ all the way up until the present day in an easy-to-understand format. You don’t have to worry: this is not a lecture. This is a look at the basic facts and figures of Christian history that every believer and every person needs to be aware of.

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John Chrysostom, Part 2: A Voice From the Wilderness (The History of Christianity Podcast #149)

This is Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International, with the History of Christianity Podcast #149, titled, “John Chrysostom [CRY-SOZ-TOM] (Part 2): A Voice From the Wilderness.”

When I became a believer in Jesus Christ, I somehow had the false idea that Christianity began when I got saved. I had no concept of the hundreds of years of history that Christianity had gone through since the time of Jesus Christ over 2,000 years ago. I have found that many believers, young and old, have the same false idea. The purpose of this broadcast is to dispel this notion by sharing with listeners the history of Christianity from the ministry of Jesus Christ all the way up until the present day in an easy-to-understand format. You don’t have to worry: this is not a lecture. This is a look at the basic facts and figures of Christian history that every believer and every person needs to be aware of.

Our Scripture for today is Galatians 6:10 which reads: “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.”

Our History of Christianity quote today is from Clement of Alexandria. He said: “If God rewarded the righteous immediately, we would soon be engaged in business, not godliness. We would be pursuing not piety, but profit.”

Today, in the History of Christianity, we are looking at “John Chrysostom [CRY-SOZ-TOM] (Part 2): A Voice From the Wilderness” from Dr. Justo L. Gonzalez’s fine book, The Story of Christianity (Volume 1).

He was above all a monk. Before becoming a monk he was a lawyer, trained in his native Antioch by the famous pagan orator Libanius. It is said that when someone asked the old teacher who should succeed him, he responded: “John, but the Christians have laid claim on him.”

Anthusa, John’s mother, was a fervent Christian who loved her child with a deep and possessive love. She was quite happy when her lawyer son, then twenty years of age, asked that his name be added to the list of those training for baptism. Three years later, when he completed the time of preparation that was then required, he was baptized by Bishop Meletius of Antioch. Once again his mother rejoiced. But when he told her that he intended to withdraw from the city and follow the monastic way she was adamant, and made him promise that he would never leave her as long as she lived. It may well be that some of these experiences are reflected in his later sermons on topics such as marriage and the family.

John’s way of solving the tension between his monastic vocation and his mother’s possessiveness was simply to turn their home into a monastery. There he lived with three like-minded friends until, after his mother’s death, he joined the monks in the Syrian mountains. He then spent four years learning the discipline of monastic life, and two more rigorously practicing it in complete solitude. Later, he himself would admit that such a life was not the best kind of training for the shepherd’s task. “Many who have gone from monastic retreat to the active life of the priest or the bishop are completely unable to face the difficulties of their new situation.”

Next time, we will begin looking at “John Chrysostom [CRY-SOZ-TOM] (Part 3): A Voice From the Wilderness.”

Let’s pray.

—PRAYER—

Dear friend, simply knowing the facts about Christian history without knowing the One on Whom this faith is based will do you no good. If you do not believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, may I encourage you to get to know Him today. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can be a part of the church in this life and in the life to come. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will. Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Until next time, remember that history is truly His story.

John Chrysostom, Part 2: A Voice From the Wilderness (The History of Christianity Podcast #149)

This is Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International, with the History of Christianity Podcast #149, titled, “John Chrysostom [CRY-SOZ-TOM] (Part 2): A Voice From the Wilderness.”

When I became a believer in Jesus Christ, I somehow had the false idea that Christianity began when I got saved. I had no concept of the hundreds of years of history that Christianity had gone through since the time of Jesus Christ over 2,000 years ago. I have found that many believers, young and old, have the same false idea. The purpose of this broadcast is to dispel this notion by sharing with listeners the history of Christianity from the ministry of Jesus Christ all the way up until the present day in an easy-to-understand format. You don’t have to worry: this is not a lecture. This is a look at the basic facts and figures of Christian history that every believer and every person needs to be aware of.

Our Scripture for today is Galatians 6:10 which reads: “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.”

Our History of Christianity quote today is from Clement of Alexandria. He said: “If God rewarded the righteous immediately, we would soon be engaged in business, not godliness. We would be pursuing not piety, but profit.”

Today, in the History of Christianity, we are looking at “John Chrysostom [CRY-SOZ-TOM] (Part 2): A Voice From the Wilderness” from Dr. Justo L. Gonzalez’s fine book, The Story of Christianity (Volume 1).

He was above all a monk. Before becoming a monk he was a lawyer, trained in his native Antioch by the famous pagan orator Libanius. It is said that when someone asked the old teacher who should succeed him, he responded: “John, but the Christians have laid claim on him.”

Anthusa, John’s mother, was a fervent Christian who loved her child with a deep and possessive love. She was quite happy when her lawyer son, then twenty years of age, asked that his name be added to the list of those training for baptism. Three years later, when he completed the time of preparation that was then required, he was baptized by Bishop Meletius of Antioch. Once again his mother rejoiced. But when he told her that he intended to withdraw from the city and follow the monastic way she was adamant, and made him promise that he would never leave her as long as she lived. It may well be that some of these experiences are reflected in his later sermons on topics such as marriage and the family.

John’s way of solving the tension between his monastic vocation and his mother’s possessiveness was simply to turn their home into a monastery. There he lived with three like-minded friends until, after his mother’s death, he joined the monks in the Syrian mountains. He then spent four years learning the discipline of monastic life, and two more rigorously practicing it in complete solitude. Later, he himself would admit that such a life was not the best kind of training for the shepherd’s task. “Many who have gone from monastic retreat to the active life of the priest or the bishop are completely unable to face the difficulties of their new situation.”

Next time, we will begin looking at “John Chrysostom [CRY-SOZ-TOM] (Part 3): A Voice From the Wilderness.”

Let’s pray.

—PRAYER—

Dear friend, simply knowing the facts about Christian history without knowing the One on Whom this faith is based will do you no good. If you do not believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, may I encourage you to get to know Him today. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can be a part of the church in this life and in the life to come. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will. Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Until next time, remember that history is truly His story.

John Chrysostom, Part 1 (The History of Christianity Podcast #148)

This is Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International, with the History of Christianity Podcast #148, titled, “John Chrysostom [CRY-SOZ-TOM] (Part 1).”

When I became a believer in Jesus Christ, I somehow had the false idea that Christianity began when I got saved. I had no concept of the hundreds of years of history that Christianity had gone through since the time of Jesus Christ over 2,000 years ago. I have found that many believers, young and old, have the same false idea. The purpose of this broadcast is to dispel this notion by sharing with listeners the history of Christianity from the ministry of Jesus Christ all the way up until the present day in an easy-to-understand format. You don’t have to worry: this is not a lecture. This is a look at the basic facts and figures of Christian history that every believer and every person needs to be aware of.

Our Scripture for today is Matthew 21:12-13 which reads: “And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.”

Our History of Christianity quote today is from John Chrysostom. He said: “How think you that you obey Christ’s commandments, when you spend your time collecting interest, piling up loans, buying slaves like livestock, and merging business with business?…And that is not all. Upon all this you heap injustice, taking possession of lands and houses, and multiplying poverty and hunger.”

Today, in the History of Christianity, we are looking at “John Chrysostom [CRY-SOZ-TOM] (Part 1)” from Dr. Justo L. Gonzalez’s fine book, The Story of Christianity (Volume 1).

One hundred years after his death, John of Constantinople was given the name by which subsequent generations would know him: Chrysostom [CRY-SOZ-TOM] — “the golden-mouthed.” That was a title he well deserved, for in a century that gave the church such great preachers as Ambrose [AM-BROZE] of Milan [MEE-LAHN] and Gregory of Nazianzus [NA-ZEE-AN-ZUS], John of Constantinople stood above all the rest, a giant above the giants of his time.

But for John Chrysostom [CRY-SOZ-TOM] the pulpit was not simply a podium from which to deliver brilliant pieces of oratory. It was rather the verbal expression of his entire life, his battlefield against the powers of evil, an unavoidable calling that eventually led to exile and to death itself.

Next time, we will begin looking at “John Chrysostom [CRY-SOZ-TOM] (Part 2): A Voice From the Wilderness.”

Let’s pray.

—PRAYER—

Dear friend, simply knowing the facts about Christian history without knowing the One on Whom this faith is based will do you no good. If you do not believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, may I encourage you to get to know Him today. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can be a part of the church in this life and in the life to come. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will. Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Until next time, remember that history is truly His story.

Ambrose of Milan, Part 6 (History of Christianity Podcast #147)

This is Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International, with the History of Christianity Podcast #147, titled, “Ambrose [AM-BROZE] of Milan [MEE-LAHN] (Part 6): The Bishop and the Throne.”

Our Scripture for today is 1 Peter 1:8-9 which reads: “Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.”

Our History of Christianity quote today is from Saint Augustine. He said: “If you believe what you like in the gospels, and reject what you don’t like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself.”

Today, in the History of Christianity, we are looking at “Ambrose [AM-BROZE] of Milan [MEE-LAHN] (Part 6): The Bishop and the Throne” from Dr. Justo L. Gonzalez’s fine book, The Story of Christianity (Volume 1).

Upon learning of these events, Ambrose [AM-BROZE] resolved to demand clear signs of repentance from the emperor. Although the details are not clear, one of Ambrose’s [AM-BROZE’s] biographers tells us that the next time Theodosius [THEE-UH-DOH-SHEE-UHS] went to church in Milan [MEE-LAHN], the bishop met him at the door, raised his hand before him, and said, “Stop! A man such as you, stained with sin, whose hands are bathed in the blood of injustice, is unworthy, until he repents, to enter this holy place, and to partake of communion.”

At that point, some couriers threatened violence. But the emperor acknowledged the truth in Ambrose’s words, and gave public signs of repentance. He also ordered that from that time on, if he ever decreed that someone be put to death, the execution be delayed for thirty days.

After that clash, relations between Theodosius [THEE-UH-DOH-SHEE-UHS] and Ambrose [AM-BROZE] were increasingly cordial. Finally, when the emperor knew that death was near, he called to his side the only man who had dared to censure him in public.

By then Ambrose’s fame was such that Fritigil [FRIT-TIH-GILL], the Germanic queen of the Marcomanni [MAHR-KO-MAHNI], had asked him to write for her a brief introduction to the Christian faith. After reading it, Fritigil [FRIT-TIH-GILL] resolved to visit the wise man in Milan. But on her way she learned that Ambrose [AM-BROZE] had died–on April 4, 397, Easter Sunday.

Next time, we will continue looking at “John Chrysostom [CRY-SOZ-TOM.”

Let’s pray.

—PRAYER—

Dear friend, simply knowing the facts about Christian history without knowing the One on Whom this faith is based will do you no good. If you do not believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, may I encourage you to get to know Him today. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can be a part of the church in this life and in the life to come. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will. Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Until next time, remember that history is truly His story.

Ambrose of Milan, Part 5: The Bishop and the Throne (The History of Christianity Podcast #146)

This is Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International, with the History of Christianity Podcast #146, titled, “Ambrose [AM-BROZE] of Milan [MEE-LAHN] (Part 5): The Bishop and the Throne.

Our Scripture for today is Daniel 2:21 which reads: “And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding:”

Our History of Christianity quote today is from Ignatius of Antioch. He said: “It is right, therefore, that we not just be called Christians, but that we actually be Christians.”

Today, in the History of Christianity, we are looking at “Ambrose [AM-BROZE] of Milan [MEE-LAHN] (Part 5): The Bishop and the Throne” from Dr. Justo L. Gonzalez’s fine book, The Story of Christianity (Volume 1).

Eventually, with the apparent connivance of Justina, Maximus invaded Valentinian’s [VAH-LEN-TIN-EE-UHN’s] territories. Part of the arrangement was probably that Maximus would rid the empress of the annoying bishop of Milan [MEE-LAHN]. But the Eastern emperor, Theodosius [THEE-UH-DOH-SHEE-UHS], intervened and defeated Maximus. When Valentinian [VAH-LEN-TIN-EE-UHN] was killed, probably by some who sought his power, Theodosius [THEE-UH-DOH-SHEE-UHS] intervened once again, and thus became sole ruler of the empire.

Theodosius was a Nicene Christian–it was under his auspices that the Council of Constantinople gathered in 381 CE and reaffirmed the decisions of Nicea. But in spite of this, and now for other reasons, he clashed with Ambrose [AM-BROZE] on two separate occasions. Both times he had to yield before the firmness of the bishop, although in all fairness one must say that the first time justice was on Theodosius’s [THEE-UH-DOH-SHEE-UHS’s] side.

The first clash took place when some overzealous Christians in the small town of Callinicum [KAL-IN-EE-KUM] burned a synagogue. The emperor decided that they be punished, and that they also must rebuild the synagogue. Ambrose [AM-BROZE] protested that a Christian emperor should not force Christians to build a Jewish synagogue. After several stormy interviews, the emperor yielded, the synagogue was not rebuilt, and the arsonists were not punished. This was a sad precedent, for it meant that in an empire calling itself Christian, those of a different faith would not be protected by the law.

The other conflict was different, and in it justice was on Ambrose’s [AM-BROZE’s] side. There had been a riot at Thessalonica, and the commandant of the city had been killed by the rioters. Ambrose [AM-BROZE], who knew the irascible temperament of the emperor, went to him and counseled moderation. Theodosius [THEE-UH-DOH-SHEE-UHS] seemed convinced, but later his wrath was rekindled, and he decided to make an example of the disorderly city. He sent word that the riot had been forgiven, and then, by his order, the army trapped those who had gathered at the circus or arena to celebrate the imperial pardon, and slaughtered some seven thousand of them.

Next time, we will continue looking at “Ambrose [AM-BROZE] of Milan [MEE-LAHN] (Part 6): The Bishop and the Throne.”

Let’s pray.

—PRAYER—

Dear friend, simply knowing the facts about Christian history without knowing the One on Whom this faith is based will do you no good. If you do not believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, may I encourage you to get to know Him today. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can be a part of the church in this life and in the life to come. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will. Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Until next time, remember that history is truly His story.

Ambrose of Milan, Part 5: The Bishop and the Throne (The History of Christianity Podcast #146)

This is Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International, with the History of Christianity Podcast #146, titled, “Ambrose [AM-BROZE] of Milan [MEE-LAHN] (Part 5): The Bishop and the Throne.

Our Scripture for today is Daniel 2:21 which reads: “And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding:”

Our History of Christianity quote today is from Ignatius of Antioch. He said: “It is right, therefore, that we not just be called Christians, but that we actually be Christians.”

Today, in the History of Christianity, we are looking at “Ambrose [AM-BROZE] of Milan [MEE-LAHN] (Part 5): The Bishop and the Throne” from Dr. Justo L. Gonzalez’s fine book, The Story of Christianity (Volume 1).

Eventually, with the apparent connivance of Justina, Maximus invaded Valentinian’s [VAH-LEN-TIN-EE-UHN’s] territories. Part of the arrangement was probably that Maximus would rid the empress of the annoying bishop of Milan [MEE-LAHN]. But the Eastern emperor, Theodosius [THEE-UH-DOH-SHEE-UHS], intervened and defeated Maximus. When Valentinian [VAH-LEN-TIN-EE-UHN] was killed, probably by some who sought his power, Theodosius [THEE-UH-DOH-SHEE-UHS] intervened once again, and thus became sole ruler of the empire. Continue reading “Ambrose of Milan, Part 5: The Bishop and the Throne (The History of Christianity Podcast #146)”

Ambrose of Milan, Part 4: The Bishop and the Throne (The History of Christianity Podcast #145)

Our Scripture for today is Psalm 77:11-13 which reads: “I will remember the works of the Lord: surely I will remember thy wonders of old. I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings. Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary: who is so great a God as our God?”

Our History of Christianity quote today is from Polycarp. He said: “Let us then persevere unceasingly in our hope, and in the pledge of our righteousness, that is in Christ Jesus.”

Today, in the History of Christianity, we are looking at “Ambrose [AM-BROZE] of Milan [MEE-LAHN] (Part 4): The Bishop and the Throne” from Dr. Justo L. Gonzalez’s fine book, The Story of Christianity (Volume 1).

The Western portion of the empire was ruled by Gratian [GRAY-SHUN] and his half-brother Valentinian II [VAH-LEN-TIN-EE-UHN]. Since the latter was still a child, Gratian [GRAY-SHUN] was also regent in his domain. Gratian [GRAY-SHUN] was then killed in a rebellion, and the usurper, Maximus, threatened to take Valentinian’s [VAH-LEN-TIN-EE-UHN’s] territories. The boy emperor was defenseless, and therefore, in a desperate move, he and his mother Justina sent Ambrose [AM-BROZE] as an ambassador to Maximus. The bishop was successful, and the expected invasion was averted.

In spite of this, relations between Ambrose [AM-BROZE] and Justina were not good. The empress was Arian [AHR-EE-UHN] and insisted on having a basilica where Arian [AHR-EE-UHN] worship could be celebrated. On that point, Ambrose [AM-BROZE] was adamant. He would not have a holy place desecrated by heretical worship, nor would he allow the empress’s power to be used to further the Arian [AHR-EE-UHN] cause in Milan [MEE-LAHN]. Thus followed a long series of memorable confrontations. At one point, Ambrose [AM-BROZE] and his followers were besieged by imperial troops surrounding a disputed church. While those outside threatened the besieged with the clash of arms, Ambrose [AM-BROZE] rallied his flock by singing hymns and psalms. Finally, Justina sought an honorable retreat by demanding that, if not the church, at least its sacred vases be delivered to the emperor. After all, had not Ambrose [AM-BROZE] done as much for a mob of refugees and captives? Again the bishop refused, and answered:

I can take nothing from the temple of God, nor can I surrender what I received, not to surrender, but to keep. In so doing I am helping the emperor, for it is not right for me to surrender these things, nor for him to take them.

It was in the midst of such confrontations with imperial power that Ambrose [AM-BROZE] ordered that an ancient burial ground under one of the churches be dug up. There two skeletons were found, probably dating back long before the Christian Era. But someone remembered hearing as a child about two martyrs, Protasius [PRO-TAY-SEE-US] and Gervasius [JER-VAY-SEE-UHZ], and immediately the remains were given those names. Soon rumors were circulating about the miracles performed by the “sacred relics,” and the people rallied ever more closely around their bishop.

Next time, we will continue looking at “Ambrose [AM-BROZE] of Milan [MEE-LAHN] (Part 5): The Bishop and the Throne.”

Let’s pray.

—PRAYER—

Dear friend, simply knowing the facts about Christian history without knowing the One on Whom this faith is based will do you no good. If you do not believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, may I encourage you to get to know Him today. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can be a part of the church in this life and in the life to come. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will. Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Until next time, remember that history is truly His story.