The Pagan Reaction: Julian the Apostate, Part 3 (The History of Christianity #123)


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.

Our History of Christianity Scripture Passage today is 2 Timothy 3:12 which reads: “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”

Our History of Christianity quote today is from A. W. Tozer. He said: “If we would indeed know God in growing intimacy, we must go this way of renunciation. And if we are set upon the pursuit of God, He will sooner or later bring us to this test. Abraham’s testing was, at the time, not known to him as such, yet if he had taken some course other than the one he did, the whole history of the Old Testament would have been different. God would have found His man, no doubt, but the loss to Abraham would have been tragic beyond the telling. So we will be brought one by one to the testing place, and we may never know when we are there. At that testing place there will be no dozen possible choices for us; just one and an alternative, but our whole future will be conditioned by the choice we make.”

Today, in the History of Christianity, we are looking at “The Pagan Reaction: Julian the Apostate – Julian’s Religious Policy” (Part 3) from Dr. Justo L. Gonzalez’s fine book, The Story of Christianity (Volume 1).

Julian sought both to restore the lost glory of paganism, and to impede the progress of Christianity. Since the time of Constantine, paganism had lost a great deal of its ancient splendor. Constantine himself had not persecuted paganism, nor sought to force the conversion of pagans. But he had sacked ancient temples in order to obtain works of art to use in decorating his new capital city. Under his sons, there were a number of laws passed favoring Christianity. By the time Julian became sole emperor, the ancient temples were practically empty, and there were pagan priests dressed only in rags, trying to supplement their meager incomes in dozens of ways and paying scant attention to the ancient rites.

The Pagan Reaction: Julian the Apostate, Part 2 (The History of Christianity #122)


Daniel Whyte III
Daniel Whyte III

Our History of Christianity Scripture Passage today is Hebrews 11:1 which reads: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

Our History of Christianity quote today is from Gary Chapman. He said: “The best thing we can do with the failures of the past is to let them be history.”

Last time, in the History of Christianity, we looked at “The Pagan Reaction: Julian the Apostate” – Part 1.

Today, in the History of Christianity, we are looking at “The Pagan Reaction: Julian the Apostate” – Part 2 from Dr. Justo L. Gonzalez’s fine book, The Story of Christianity (Volume 1). And, I want to remind you to take advantage of our special offer. If you enjoy this podcast, please feel free to purchase a copy of the book that we are using, “The Story of Christianity, Vol. 1” by Dr. Justo L. González. The book is available on our website for just $30.

Constantius decided to set aside the bad experience he had had with Gallus and called his one surviving relative to share his power, giving him the title of caesar and appointing him to rule in Gaul. No one expected Julian, who had spent his life among books and philosophers, to be a great ruler, and in any case Constantius granted him very little support. But Julian surprised his contemporaries. His administration in Gaul was exemplary. And, when the occasion arose to lead a campaign against the barbarians, he proved that he was an able general and gained great popularity in the army.

All of this was not entirely to Constantius’ linking, for he feared that Julian might seek possession of the throne. Tensions increased between the two cousins. When Constantius, who was preparing a campaign against Persia, called the troops in Gaul to the East, they rebelled and proclaimed Julian augustus, that is, supreme emperor. As soon as Constantius was free of the Persian threat, he marched against Julian and his rebellious troops. At the moment war seemed unavoidable, and both sides were braced for it, Constantius died. Julian had no difficulty marching to Constantinople and claiming the rule of the whole empire. It was the year 361.

Julian’s first action was to seek revenge against those most responsible for his misfortunes, and against those who had sought to keep him away from the seat of power. To that end he named a court that was theoretically independent, but that in truth responded to the wishes of the emperor. This court condemned several of his worst enemies to death.

Apart from this, Julian was an able ruler, who managed to establish order in the chaotic administration of his vast domains. Yet it is not for such actions that he is most remembered, but rather for his religious policy, which earned him the title by which history knows him: the Apostate.

Next time, we will continue looking at “The Pagan Reaction: Julian the Apostate” – Part 3.

—PRAYER—

My name is Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International. 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.

***

Dear friend, simply knowing the facts about Christian history without knowing the One on Who 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.

First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “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 live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.

Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

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


Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books including the Essence Magazine, Dallas Morning News, and Amazon.com national bestseller, Letters to Young Black Men. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry.

He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others.

He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty University’s Rawlings School of Divinity (formerly Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary). He is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Ministry degree.

He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica since 1987. God has blessed their union with seven children.

The Pagan Reaction: Julian the Apostate, Part 1 (The History of Christianity #121)


Daniel Whyte III
Daniel Whyte III

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.

Our History of Christianity Scripture Passage today is Philippians 2:9-11 which reads: “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Our History of Christianity quote today is from Paul Manwaring. He said: “Perhaps you face something that is tempting you to take a more leisurely path through life, when an invitation to get up and climb is staring you in the face. The battle will be in the mind, even though it will likely manifest in the flesh. Your temptation to resign is, in fact, your invitation to write history.”

Last time, in the History of Christianity, we looked at “The Arian (a-re-an) Controversy and the Council of Nicea (ni-‘se-a) – The Council of Nicea (ni-‘se-a)” – Part 6.

Today, in the History of Christianity, we are looking at “The Pagan Reaction: Julian the Apostate” – Part 1 from Dr. Justo L. Gonzalez’s fine book, The Story of Christianity (Volume 1). And, I want to remind you to take advantage of our special offer. If you enjoy this podcast, please feel free to purchase a copy of the book that we are using, “The Story of Christianity, Vol. 1” by Dr. Justo L. González. The book is available on our website for just $30.

Julian had many reasons to dislike both Constantius and the Christian faith that he professed. At the time of Constantine’s death, most of the dead emperor’s close relatives had been massacred. The only notable exceptions were the three brothers who inherited the throne, and their cousins Julian and his older half-brother Gallus. The circumstances in which these crimes were committed are not altogether clear, and therefore it might be unfair to lay the blame on Constantius. It is clear that after Constantine’s death there was some question as to who would succeed him, and that the army then killed most of his relatives – not in order to set up another dynasty, but rather in order to make sure that power would belong indisputably to Constantine’s three surviving sons. Of these, only Constantius was then in Constantinople, where the massacre took place, and for that reason the common opinion was that he had ordered, or at least condoned, the death of his relatives.

Whatever the case may be, Julian was convinced that his cousin was guilty. Julian’s father was a half-brother of Constantine, and therefore Julian was a first cousin to the three new emperors. Of Julian’s vast family, only he and his half-brother Gallus survived. He later declared that Gallus was spared because he appeared to be mortally ill at the time, and that Julius himself was allowed to live because he was only six years old and thus was no threat to the throne. It is possible that Constantius himself ordered that these two cousins be spared, for they were too young to lead a rebellion and, if Constantine’s three sons died without issue, these younger cousins could provide an orderly succession to the throne.

Meanwhile, both Gallus and Julian were kept away from the court. While Gallus devoted himself to physical exercise, his younger brother became increasingly interested in philosophical studies. Both were baptized and received Christian instruction, and during their exile from court both were made “readers” of the church.

Eventually, Constantius had to call on Gallus, for in 350 CE he had become sole ruler of the empire, and he had no children who could aid him in government or succeed him to the throne. In 351 CE, Constantius gave Gallus the title ceasar, that is, of junior emperor, and put vast territories under his rule. But Gallus did not turn out to be an able ruler, and there were rumors that he was conspiring against his cousin. A few years after having made him caesar, Constantius had him arrested and beheaded.

Next time, we will continue looking at “The Pagan Reaction: Julian the Apostate” – Part 2.

—PRAYER—

My name is Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International. 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.

***

Dear friend, simply knowing the facts about Christian history without knowing the One on Who 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.

First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “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 live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.

Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

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


Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books including the Essence Magazine, Dallas Morning News, and Amazon.com national bestseller, Letters to Young Black Men. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry.

He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others.

He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty University’s Rawlings School of Divinity (formerly Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary). He is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Ministry degree.

He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica since 1987. God has blessed their union with seven children.

The Arian Controversy and the Council of Nicea: The Council of Nicea, Part 4 (The History of Christianity #118)


Our History of Christianity Scripture passage today is Romans 10:9-10 which reads: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

Our History of Christianity quote today is from C. S. Lewis. He said: “If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next.”

Today, in the History of Christianity, we are looking at “The Arian Controversy and the Council of Nicea: The Council of Nicea, Part 4” from Dr. Justo L. Gonzalez’s fine book, The Story of Christianity (Volume 1).

At first the assembly sought to do this through a series of passages of scripture. But it soon became evident that by limiting itself to biblical texts the council would find it very difficult to express its rejection of Arianism in unmistakable terms. It was then decided to agree on a creed that would express the faith of the church in such a way that Arianism was clearly excluded. The exact process they followed is not entirely clear. Eusebius of Caesarea, for reasons that scholars still debate, proposed the creed of his own church. Constantine suggested that the word homoousios – to which we shall return – be included in the creed. (Did Constantine know enough about the discussion to come up with this word, or was it suggested to him by his ecclesiastical advisor Hosius of Cordoba, as some suspect?) Eventually, the assembly agreed on a formula that was based on the creed of Caesarea, but with a number of additions that clearly rejected Arianism.

The Arian Controversy and the Council of Nicea: The Outbreak of the Controversy, Part 3 (The History of Christianity #114)

Our History of Christianity Scripture passage today is Romans 10:9-10 which reads: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

Our History of Christianity quote today is from D. L. Moody. He said: “Salvation is worth working for. It is worth a man’s going round the world on his hands and knees, climbing its mountains, crossing its valleys, swimming its rivers, going through all manner of hardship in order to attain it. But we do not get it in that way. It is to him who believes.”

Today, in the History of Christianity, we are looking at “The Arian Controversy and the Council of Nicea: The Outbreak of the Controversy, Part 3” from Dr. Justo L. Gonzalez’s fine book, The Story of Christianity (Volume 1).

Although these were the issues debated in the course of the controversy, quite possibly at the heart of the matter was also the question of how it is that Christ saves. For Alexander, and particularly for those who subsequently defended his views – especially Athanasius – Christ has achieved our salvation because in him God has entered human history and opened the way for our return to him. Apparently Arius and his followers felt that Christ’s role as Savior was imperiled by such a view, for Jesus had opened the way for salvation by his obedience to God, and such obedience would be meaningless if he himself was divine, and not a creature.

The Arian Controversy and the Council of Nicea: The Outbreak of the Controversy, Part 2 (The History of Christianity Broadcast #113)


Our History of Christianity Scripture passage today is John 1:14 which reads: “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”

Our History of Christianity quote today is from Ephrem of Edessa. He said: “God’s Word is an inexhaustible spring of life.”

Last time, in the History of Christianity, we looked at “The Arian Controversy and the Council of Nicea – The Outbreak of the Controversy.

Today, in the History of Christianity, we are looking at “The Arian Controversy and the Council of Nicea – The Outbreak of the Controversy – Part 2 from Dr. Justo L. Gonzalez’s fine book, The Story of Christianity (Volume 1).  Continue reading

The Arian Controversy and the Council of Nicea, Part 3 (The History of Christianity #113)

Our History of Christianity Scripture passage today is John 1:14 which reads: “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”

Our History of Christianity quote today is from Ephrem of Edessa. He said: “God’s Word is an inexhaustible spring of life.”

Today, in the History of Christianity, we are looking at “The Arian Controversy and the Council of Nicea – The Outbreak of the Controversy” – Part 2 from Dr. Justo L. Gonzalez’s fine book, The Story of Christianity (Volume 1). And, I want to remind you to take advantage of our special offer. If you enjoy this podcast, please feel free to purchase a copy of the book that we are using, “The Story of Christianity, Vol. 1” by Dr. Justo L. González. The book is available on our website for just $30. You can make your purchase today at historyofchristianitypodcast.com.

The controversy itself began in Alexandria, when Licinius was still ruling in the East, and Constantine in the West. The bishop of Alexandria, Alexander, clashed over several issues with Arius, who was one of the most prestigious and popular presbyters of the city. Although the points debated were many, the main issue at stake was whether the Logos, the Word of God, was coeternal with God. The phrase that eventually became the Arian motto, “there was when He was not,” aptly focuses on the point at issue. Alexander held that the Word existed eternally with the Father; Arius argued that the Word was not coeternal with the Father. Although this may seem a very fine point, what was ultimately at stake was the divinity of the Word. Arius claimed that, strictly speaking, the Word was not God, but the first of all creatures. It is important to understand at this point that Arius did not deny that the Word existed before the incarnation. On the preexistence of the Word, all were in agreement. What Arius said was that, before anything else was made, the Word had been created by God. Alexander argued that the Word was divine, and therefore could not be created, but rather was coeternal with the Father. In other words, if asked to draw a line between God and creation, Arius would draw that line to include the Word in creation, while Alexander would draw it in a manner that would place all of God’s creation on one side and the eternal Word on the other.

Each of the two parties had, besides a list of favorite proof-texts from the Bible, logical reasons that seemed to make the opponents’ position untenable. Arius, on the one hand, argued that what Alexander proposed was a denial of Christian monotheism – for, according to the bishop of Alexandria, there were two who were divine, and thus there were two gods. Alexander retorted that Arius’ position denied the divinity of the Word, and therefore also the divinity of Jesus. From its very beginning, the church had worshiped Jesus Christ, and Arius’ proposal would now force it either to cease such worship, or to declare that it was worshiping a creature. Alexander concluded that, since both alternatives were unacceptable, Arius was proven wrong.