The Council of Nicea, Part 2 (The History of Christianity Podcast #116)


Daniel Whyte III
Daniel Whyte III

Our History of Christianity Scripture passage today is Ephesians 2:19-20 which reads: “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone.”

Our History of Christianity quote today is from George Sweeting. He said: “The cross is the hinge of history. The great events that were compressed into the four days surrounding Christ’s death touch the lives and hopes of everyone.”

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 1.

Today, in the History of Christianity, we are looking at “The Arian (a-re-an) Controversy and the Council of Nicea (ni-‘se-a) – The Council of Nicea (ni-‘se-a)” – 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.

There was first of all a small number of convinced Arians, led by Eusebius of Nicomedia. (This bishop, who played a central role throughout the early years of the controversy, is not to be confused with the historian, Eusebius of Caesarea, who was also present at the council.) Since Arius was not a bishop, he was not allowed to sit in the council, and it was Eusebius of Nicomedia who spoke for him and for the position that he represented. This small group was convinced that what Arius taught was so patently correct that all that was needed was a clear exposition of the logic of the argument, and the assembly would vidicate Arius and rebuke Alexander for having condemned his teachings.

In direct opposition to the Arian party, there was another small group of bishops who were convinced that Arianism threatened the very core of the Christian faith, and that therefore it was necessary to condemn it in no uncertain terms. The leader of this group was, not surprisingly, Alexander of Alexandria. Among his followers was a young man who, being only a deacon, could not sit in the council, but who would eventually become famous as the champion of Nicene orthodoxy: Athanasius of Alexandria.

Most of the bishops from the Latin-speaking West had only a secondary interest in the debate, which appeared to them as a controversy among Eastern followers of Origen. For them, it was sufficient to declare that in God there were, as Tertullian had said long before, “three persons and one substance.”

Another small group – probably numbering no more than three or four – held positions approaching patripassianism, that is, that the Father and the Son are the same, and that therefore the Father suffered the passion. These bishops agreed that Arianism was wrong, but their own doctrines were also rejected later in the course of the controversy, as the church began to clarify what it meant by trinitarian doctrine.

Next time, we will continue looking at The Council of Nicea.

—PRAYER—

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.

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