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The History of Christianity

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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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Ambrose of Milan, Part 1: An Unexpected Election (The History of Christianity Podcast #142)

This is Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International, with the History of Christianity Podcast #142, titled, “Ambrose of Milan (Part 1): An Unexpected Election.”

Our Scripture for today is Isaiah 46:9-11 which reads: “Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.”

Our History of Christianity quote today is from Ambrose of Milan. He said: “God ordered all things to be produces so that there would be common food for all, and so that the earth would be the common inheritance of all. Thus, nature has produced a common right, but greed has made it the right of a few.”

Today, in the History of Christianity, we are looking at “Ambrose of Milan (Part 1): An Unexpected Election” from Dr. Justo L. Gonzalez’s fine book, The Story of Christianity (Volume 1). Continue reading “Ambrose of Milan, Part 1: An Unexpected Election (The History of Christianity Podcast #142)”

LISTEN: The Great Cappadocians, Part 9: Gregory of Nazianzus (The History of Christianity Podcast #141 with Daniel Whyte III)

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This is Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International, with the History of Christianity Podcast #141, titled, “The Great Cappadocians (Part 9): Gregory of Nazianzus.”

Continue reading “LISTEN: The Great Cappadocians, Part 9: Gregory of Nazianzus (The History of Christianity Podcast #141 with Daniel Whyte III)”

LISTEN: The Great Cappadocians, Part 8: Gregory of Nazianzus (The History of Christianity Podcast #140)

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This is Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International, with the History of Christianity Podcast #140, titled, “The Great Cappadocians (Part 8): Gregory of Nazianzus.”

Continue reading “LISTEN: The Great Cappadocians, Part 8: Gregory of Nazianzus (The History of Christianity Podcast #140)”

The Great Cappadocians, Part 7: Gregory of Nazianzus (The History of Christianity Podcast #139)

This is Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International, with the History of Christianity Podcast #138, titled, “The Great Cappadocians [KAP-PUH-DO-SHNZ] (Part 7): Gregory of Nazianzus [NAH-ZEE-ANN-ZEE-NAHS].”

Our Scripture for today is Revelation 2:4-5 which reads: “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.”

Our History of Christianity quote today is from Philip Yancey. He said: “History shows that when the church uses the tools of the world’s kingdom, it becomes as ineffectual, or as tyrannical, as any other power structure. And whenever the church has intermingled with the state, the appeal of the faith suffers as well. Ironically, our respect in the world declines in proportion to how vigorously we attempt to force others to adopt our point of view.”

Today, in the History of Christianity, we are looking at “The Great Cappadocians (Part 7): Gregory of Nazianzus” from Dr. Justo L. Gonzalez’s fine book, The Story of Christianity (Volume 1).

The other great Cappadocian theologian was Gregory of Nazianzus , whom Basil had met when they were fellow students. Gregory was the son of the bishop of Nazianzus, also called Gregory, and his wife Nona — for at that time bishops were often married. The elder Gregory had been an Arian , but Nona had brought him to orthodoxy. As in the case of Basil, Gregory’s family was very devout, to such a point that many of them have subsequently received the title of “saint” — Gregory himself, his parents Gregory the elder and Nona, his brother Caesarius, his sister Gorgonia [GOR-GO-NEE-UH], and his cousin Amphilochius.

Gregory spent most of his youth in study. After some time in Caesarea, he went to Athens, where he remained some fourteen years, and where he met both Basil and Prince Julian. He was thirty years old when he returned to his home country and joined Basil in the monastic life. Meanwhile, his brother Caesarius had become a famous physician in Constantinople, where he served both Constantius and Julian without letting himself be moved by the Arianism of the former or the paganism of the latter.

Back in Nazianzus, Gregory was ordained a presbyter, although he did not wish it. He fled to Basil’s monastic community, where he stayed for some time, but eventually returned to his pastoral duties in Nazianzus. At that point he delivered a famous sermon on the duties of a pastor. He began: “I have been overcome, and I confess my defeat,” and declared that his reluctance to serve as a pastor was due in part to his interest in the contemplative life, and in part to his fear that he would be unequal to the task, for “it is difficult to practice obedience; but it is even more difficult to practice leadership.”

Next time, we will begin looking at “The Great Cappadocians (Part 8): Gregory of Nazianzus.”

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.

The Great Cappadocians, Part 6: Gregory of Nyssa (The History of Christianity Podcast #138)

This is Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International, with the History of Christianity Podcast #138, titled, “The Great Cappadocians [KAP-PUH-DO-SHNZ] (Part 6): Gregory of Nyssa.”

Our Scripture for today is 1 Corinthians 12:13 which reads: “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.”

Our History of Christianity quote today is from Charles E. Fuller. He said: “To know the Word of God, to live the Word of God, to preach the Word, to teach the Word, is the sum of all wisdom, the heart of all Christian service.”

Today, in the History of Christianity, we are looking at “The Great Cappadocians [KAP-PUH-DO-SHNZ] (Part 6): Gregory of Nyssa [NISSA]” from Dr. Justo L. Gonzalez’s fine book, The Story of Christianity (Volume 1).

Although he was a quiet and humble person, his writings show the inner fire of his spirit. And his careful explications of Nicene doctrine contributed to its triumph in Constantinople.

After that great council, Emperor Theodosius [THE-UH-DOH-SHUS] took him as one of his main advisors in theological matters, and Gregory was thus forced to travel throughout the empire, and even to Arabia and Mesopotamia. Although there was great value in this work, Gregory always saw it as a hindrance, keeping him away from the life of contemplation.

Finally, being assured that the Nicene cause was firmly established, Gregory returned to the monastic life, hoping that the world would leave him alone. In this he was so successful that the date and circumstances of his death are not known.

Next time, we will begin looking at “The Great Cappadocians [KAP-PUH-DO-SHNZ] (Part 7): Gregory of Nazianzus [NAH-ZEE-ANN-ZEE-NAHS].”

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.

The Great Cappadocians, Part 5: Gregory of Nyssa (The History of Christianity Podcast #137)

This is Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International, with the History of Christianity Podcast #137, titled, “The Great Cappadocians [KAP-PUH-DO-SHNZ] (Part 5): Gregory of Nyssa [NISSA].”

Our Scripture for today is John 1:12 which reads: “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:”

Our History of Christianity quote today is from Martin Luther. He said: “If Church history teaches us anything, it is that we cannot afford to be a vacillating Church. We minister to a people who are in great need of hearing truth, we dare not make any attempt to soft pedal that glorious truth.”

Today, in the History of Christianity, we are looking at “The Great Cappadocians [KAP-PUH-DO-SHNZ] (Part 5): Gregory of Nyssa [NISSA]” from Dr. Justo L. Gonzalez’s fine book, “The Story of Christianity (Volume 1)”. Continue reading “The Great Cappadocians, Part 5: Gregory of Nyssa (The History of Christianity Podcast #137)”

The Great Cappadocians, Part 4: Basil the Great (The History of Christianity Podcast #136)

This is Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International, with the History of Christianity Podcast #136, titled, “The Great Cappadocians [KAP-PUH-DO-SHNZ] (Part 4): Basil the Great.”

Our Scripture for today is Ephesians 3:14-16 which reads: “For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man.”

Our History of Christianity quote today is from Matt Smethurst. He said: “Christianity is a history-anchored faith. We don’t teach a set of abstract principles or philosophical ideas; we teach the truth of a historical event. If you’re a Christian, then church history is your family history. Think about that. Studying church history is like opening a photo album and exploring your family heritage.”

Today, in the History of Christianity, we are looking at “The Great Cappadocians [KAP-PUH-DO-SHNZ] (Part 4): Basil the Great” from Dr. Justo L. Gonzalez’s fine book, The Story of Christianity (Volume 1).

When the bishop of Caesarea died, the election of his successor became a focal point for the struggle between the orthodox and the Arian. Basil’s prestige was such that he seemed to be the most likely candidate. The Arian party found only one point at which Basil was vulnerable: his questionable health. The orthodox responded that they were electing a bishop, not a gladiator. Eventually, Basil was elected.

The new bishop of Caesarea knew that his election would lead to conflicts with the emperor, who was Arian. Soon Valens announced his intention to visit Caesarea. The Nicene party knew from bitter experience in other cities that Valens used such visits in order to strengthen Arianism.

Many imperial officers arrived at Caesarea in order to prepare Valens’s visit. The emperor had ordered them to subdue the new bishop through a combination of promises and threats. But Basil was not easy to subdue. Finally, in a heated encounter, the praetorian prefect lost his patience and threatened Basil with confiscating his goods, and with exile, torture, and even death. Basil responded, “All that I have that you can confiscate are these rags and a few books. Nor can you exile me, for wherever you send me, I shall be God’s guest. As to torture you should know that my body is already dead in Christ. And death would be a great boon to me, leading me sooner to God.” Taken aback, the prefect said that no one had ever spoken to him thus. Basil answered, “Perhaps that is because you have never met a true bishop.”

Finally, the emperor arrived. When he took a bountiful offering to the altar, thus showing his favor to the city, no one went forth to receive it. The emperor had to wait for the bishop, who finally accepted his offering, making it very clear that it was he who was favoring the emperor.

After these events, Basil was able to devote his time to his tasks as a bishop. He was particularly interested in organizing and spreading the monastic life, and in advancing the Nicene cause. Through a vast correspondence and several theological treaties, he made a significant contribution to the reaffirmation of trinitarian doctrine and the definitive rejection of Arianism. But, like Athanasius [ATH-A-NAY-SHUS], he was unable to see that final victory, for he died a few months before the Council of Constantinople confirmed the Nicene doctrine in 381.

Next time, we will continue looking at “The Great Cappadocians [KAP-PUH-DO-SHNZ] (Part 5): Gregory of Nyssa [NISSA].”

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.