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 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 Monastic Reaction: The Spread of the Monastic Ideal (Part 2)

The History of Christianity #104

Our History of Christianity Scripture passage today is Romans 15:4 which reads: “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.”

Our History of Christianity quote today is from St. Seraphim of Sarov. He said: “That I am a monk and you are a layman is of no importance … rather that we are both in the light of the Holy Spirit … Acquire peace, and thousands around you will be saved.”

Last time, in the History of Christianity, we looked at “The Monastic Reaction: The Spread of the Monastic Ideal (Part 1)”.

Today, in the History of Christianity, we are looking at “The Monastic Reaction: The Spread of the Monastic Ideal (Part 2)” from Dr. Justo L. Gonzalez’s fine book, The Story of Christianity (Volume 1).

But the most remarkable example of the manner in which a saintly and monastic bishop contributed to the popularity of the monastic ideal was Martin of Tours. The Life of Saint Martin, written by Sulpicius Severus, was one of the most popular books in Western Europe for centuries and was one of the most influential elements in the shaping of Western monasticism.

Martin was born around the year 335 A. D. in Pannonia, in what is now Hungary. His father was a pagan soldier, and during his early years Martin lived in various parts of the empire — although the city of Pavia, in northern Italy, seems to have been his most frequent place of residence. He was very young when he decided to become a Christian, against his parents’ will, and had his name included in the list of catechumens. His father, in order to force him away from his Christian contacts, had him enrolled in the army. It was the time when Emperor Julian – later known as the Apostate – led his first military campaigns. Martin served under him for several years. During this period, an episode took place that ever since has been associated with the name of Martin.

The Monastic Reaction: The Spread of the Monastic Ideal (Part 1)

The History of Christianity #103

Our History of Christianity Scripture passage today is Psalm 119:18 which reads: “Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.”

Our History of Christianity quote today is from the Second Vatican Council, Decree on Religious Life. It reads: “The main task of monks is to render to the Divine Majesty a service at once simple and noble, within the monastic confines. Let monasteries be renewed in their ancient and beneficial traditions, and so adapt them to the modern needs of souls that monasteries will be the seedbeds of growth for the Christian people.”

Last time, in the History of Christianity, we looked at “The Monastic Reaction: Pachomius and Communal Monasticism (Part 3)”.

Today, in the History of Christianity, we are looking at “The Monastic Reaction: The Spread of the Monastic Ideal (Part 1)”

Although the roots of monasticism are not to be found exclusively in Egypt, that was where the movement gained most momentum in the fourth century. Devout people from different regions went to Egypt, some to remain there and others to return to their countries with the ideals and practices they had learned in the desert. From Syria, Asia Minor, Italy, and even Mesopotamia, pilgrims went to the land of the Nile and on their return spread the story and the legends of Paul, Anthony, Pachomius, and countless others. Throughout the Eastern portion of the empire, wherever there was a suitable place, a monk fixed his abode. Some exaggerated the ascetic life by ostentatious acts, such as spending their lives atop a column of a ruined temple. But others brought to the church a sense of discipline and absolute dedication that was very necessary in what seemed the easy times after Constantine.

However, those who most contributed to the spread of the monastic ideal were not the anchorites who copied the ways of the Egyptian desert and sought secluded places where they could devote themselves to prayer and meditation, but rather a number of bishops and scholars who saw the value of the monastic witness for the daily life of the church. Thus, although in its earliest times Egyptian monasticism had existed apart and even in opposition to the hierarchy, eventually its greatest impact was made through some of the members of that hierarchy.

The Monastic Reaction: Pachomius and Communal Monasticism (Part 2)

The History of Christianity #102

Our History of Christianity Scripture passage today is 1 Corinthians 9:27 which reads: “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”

Our History of Christianity quote today is from St. Mark the Ascetic. He said: “Conquer temptations by the patience and prayer. If you oppose them without these, you will fall all the more severely.”

Last time, in the History of Christianity, we looked at “The Monastic Reaction: Pachomius) and Communal Monasticism (Part 2)”.

Today, in the History of Christianity, we are looking at “The Monastic Reaction: Pachomius) and Communal Monasticism (Part 3)” from Dr. Justo L. Gonzalez’s fine book, The Story of Christianity (Volume 1).

Since every monk had to obey his superiors, the hierarchical order was clearly defined. At the head of each housing unit there was a superior, who in turn had to obey the superior of the monastery and his deputy. And above the superiors of the various monasteries were Pachomius and his successors, who were called “abbots” or “archimandrites.” When Pachomius was about to die, his monks vowed obedience to whomever he would choose as his successor, and thus was established the custom that each abbot would name the person to succeed him in absolute command of the entire organization. This new abbot’s authority was final, and he could name, transfer, or depose the superiors of all the communities in the entire system.

Twice a year, all Pachomian monks gathered for prayer and worship, and to deal with any issues necessary to maintain proper order of the communities. The organization was also kept together by frequent visits to all monasteries by the abbot or his representative. Pachomius and his followers never accepted ecclesiastical office, and therefore there were no ordained priests among them. On Sundays a priest would come to the monastery and celebrate communion.

In the women’s communities, life was organized in a similar fashion. While each was headed by a woman, the male abbot of the original community — Pachomius and his successors — ruled over them just as they did over the male Pachomian communities.