LISTEN: Christian Life, Part 1 (The History of Christianity #63 with Daniel Whyte III)

Daniel Whyte III

Daniel Whyte III

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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 History of Christianity Scripture verse today is 1 Corinthians 1:26-27 which reads: “For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty.”

Our History of Christianity quote today is from John Wesley. He said: “Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.”

Today, in the History of Christianity, we are looking at “Christian Life” (Part 1) from Dr. Justo L. Gonzalez’s fine book, The Story of Christianity (Volume 1).

When telling the story of Christianity, one must always remember that the sources themselves are not a fair representation of all that was taking place. Since most of the surviving documents deal with the work and thought of the leaders of the church, or with persecution and conflicts with the state, there is always the tendancy to forget that these writings present only a partial picture, saying little of the life and faith of the rank and file, or of their religious practices. Furthermore, when one attempts to reconstruct the rest of the picture, one is faced with an almost total lack of sources, and must be content with piecing together bits of information.

The Social Origins of Early Christians

The pagan writer Celsus once complained that Christians were ignorant folk whose teaching took place, not in schools nor in open forums, but in kitchens, shops, and tanneries. Although the work of Christians such as Justin, Clement, and Origen would seem to belie Celsus’ words, the fact remains that, in general, Celsus was telling the truth. Wise scholars among Christians were the exception rather than the rule. It is significant that in his apology “Against Celsus” Origen does not contradict Celsus on this score. From the perspective of cultured pagans such as Tacitus, Cornelius Fronto, and Marcus Aurelius, Christians were a despicable rabble.

They were not entirely wrong, for recent sociological studies indicate that the vast majority of Christians during the first three centuries belonged to the lower echelons of society, or at least did not fit well in the higher ranks. According to the witness of the Gospels, Jesus spent most of his time with poor, ill, and despised people. Paul, who belonged to a higher social class than most of the earliest disciples, does say that the majority of Christians in Corinth were ignorant, powerless, and of obscure birth. The same is generally true during the first three centuries of the life of the church. Although there were Christians of relatively high rank, such as Domitilla — if she indeed was a Christian — and Perpetua, it is likely that for each of these there were hundreds or perhaps thousands of Christians of humbler status and less instruction.

It was mostly out of this rank and file that legends and writings arose with a very different tone from that of Justin and the other Christian scholars. Foremost among these writings are some of the Apocryphal Gospels and some of the Acts of various apostles and of the Virgin. This includes the Acts of Peter, the Epistle of Jesus to King Abgar, the correspondence between Mary and Ignatius of Antioch, the Gospel of Bartholomew, and many others. The miraculous plays a central role in these writings, even to the point of the ridiculous. Thus, for instance, in one of the Apocryphal Gospels, young Jesus amuses himself by breaking the water jars of his playmates and throwing the pieces into a well. When the other boys burst into tears, saying that their parents will punish them for having broken the jars, Jesus orders the water to return the broken jars and these come up unscathed. Or, when Jesus wishes to be atop a tree, he does not climb like other boys. He simply orders the tree to bend down to him, sits on it, and tells the tree to return to its original position.

However, this naive credulity should not lead one to underestimate those common Christians. A comparison of their theology with that of more cultured Christians does not always favor the latter. Thus, for instance, the active, sovereign, and just God who is depicted in many of these apocryphal writings is closer to the God of scripture than is the ineffable and distant One of Clement of Alexandria. Furthermore, while the great apologists made every effort to prove to the authorities that their faith was not opposed to imperial policies, there are indications that some common Christians were well aware that there was an unavoidable clash between the goals of the empire and the divine purpose. When one of these Christians was taken before imperial authorities, we are told that he refused to acknowledge the authority of the emperor, and declared that Christ was “my Lord, the emperor over all kings and all nations.” Finally, while some of the more cultured Christians tended to spiritualize Christian hope, in the faith of the common people there was still the vision of a Kingdom that would supplant the present order, of a new Jerusalem where God would wipe away the tears of those who were suffering under the social order of the empire.

Next time, we will look at Christian Worship in Christian Life.

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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. 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.

Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in twenty-three foreign countries. He is the author of thirty-four books. 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 which publishes a monthly magazine called The Torch Leader. He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts, The Prayer Motivator Devotional and 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 and the Second Coming Watch Update. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, and a Master’s degree in Religion from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica for twenty-five years. God has blessed their union with seven children. Find out more at www.danielwhyte3.com. Follow Daniel Whyte III on Twitter @prophetdaniel3 or on Facebook.

Legendary Washington Post Editor, Ben Bradlee, Dies at 93

Benjamin C. Bradlee in late 1995. He retired as executive editor in 1991 but continued to serve The Washington Post as vice president at large. (Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post)

Benjamin C. Bradlee in late 1995. He retired as executive editor in 1991 but continued to serve The Washington Post as vice president at large. (Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post)

Benjamin C. Bradlee, who presided over The Washington Post newsroom for 26 years and guided The Post’s transformation into one of the world’s leading newspapers, died Oct. 21 at his home in Washington of natural causes. He was 93.

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Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal Issues Executive Order to Better Protect Rape Survivors

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, pictured here on October 6, 2014, has issued an executive order demanding better protection for survivors of sexual assault. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, pictured here on October 6, 2014, has issued an executive order demanding better protection for survivors of sexual assault. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal last night issued an executive order demanding better protection for survivors of sexual assault. This comes after the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals unveiled a plan to prohibit hospitals from billing sexual assault victims for medical exams and care related to the assault.

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Conservative Commentator Crystal Wright Rebukes New Conservative Commentator Stacey Dash; Says She ‘Needs to Get Out More and See that All Blacks Don’t Feel Worthless Under President Obama’

black-conservative-women

Fox News contributor and Republican as of 2012, black actress Stacey Dash proves she really wasn’t acting in the movie “Clueless.” Appearing on Fox News’ “Hannity” show, Dash called all black people in Louisiana government freeloaders who don’t work.

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WATCH: Ferguson Protesters Shut Down CNN on the Spot, Accuse CNN of Being Backed by Israel and Lying About the Michael Brown Case; Threaten to Shut Down Atlanta Station

FERGUSON PROTESTERS-CNN

CNN reporter Sarah Sidener’s on air stand up in Ferguson, Missouri was disrupted on Monday night when supporters of Michael Brown surrounded Sidener and her cameraman and demanded that they leave the area. The video at Ferguson, shot by Bassem Masri a local activist, includes Masri and others accusing CNN of lying about the Michael Brown case and supporting “Zionists.”

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LISTEN: The Common Consent Argument for the Existence of God, Part 2 (The Reasons to Believe #76 with Daniel Whyte III)

Daniel Whyte III

Daniel Whyte III

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God has been under attack in the world almost since the beginning of time, but He and those who believe in Him are under attack more now than ever before. Atheism is increasing and atheists are becoming more vocal. This podcast is an ongoing debate response to such people as Richard Dawkins, Bill Maher and others who don’t believe in God and who preach atheism to the world. This podcast is also designed to equip Christians to do what the Holy Scriptures command, and that is to, “earnestly contend for the faith” and to “be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh us a reason of the hope that is in us”. But more importantly, this broadcast/podcast is designed to give you a reason to believe in God and His Son Jesus Christ.

Our Reasons to Believe passage from the Word of God today is Romans 1:17. It reads, “For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.”

Our Reasons to Believe quote for today is from Charlie Campbell. He, “Today there survives more than 25,0000 partial and complete, ancient handwritten manuscript copies of the New Testament. These hand written manuscripts have allowed scholars and textual critics to go back and verify that the Bible we have in our possession today is the same Bible that the early church possessed 2,000 years ago.”

Our Reason to Believe powerpoint today is titled “The Common Consent Argument for the Existence of God” part 2 from “The Handbook of Christian Apologetics” by Peter Kreeft and Ronald K. Tacelli:

Today, we are going to look at some questions and answers regarding The Common Consent Argument for the Existence of God:

Question 1:

But the majority is not infallible. Most people were wrong about the movements of the sun and earth. So why not about the existence of God?

Reply:

If people were wrong about the theory of heliocentrism, they still experienced the sun and earth and motion. They were simply mistaken in thinking that the motion they perceived was the sun’s. But if God does not exist, what is it that believers have been experiencing? The level of illusion goes far beyond any other example of collective error. It really amounts to collective psychosis.

For believing in God is like having a relationship with a person. If God never existed, neither did this relationship. You were responding with reverence and love to no one; and no one was there to receive and answer your response. It’s as if you believe yourself happily married when in fact you live alone in a dingy apartment.

Now we grant that such mass delusion is conceivable, but what is the likely story? If there were no other bits of experience which, taken together with our perceptions of the sun and earth, make it most likely that the earth goes round the sun, it would be foolish to interpret our experience that way. How much more so here, where what we experience is a relationship involving reverence and worship and, sometimes, love. It is most reasonable to believe that God really is there, given such widespread belief in him — unless atheists can come up with a very persuasive explanation for religious belief, one that takes full account of the experience of believers and shows that their experience is best explained as delusion and not insight. But atheists have never done so.

____________

Dear friend, 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 live forever with Him. 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, my friend, please keep in mind these reasons to believe. God bless!

Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in twenty-three foreign countries. He is the author of thirty-four books. 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 which publishes a monthly magazine called The Torch Leader. He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts, The Prayer Motivator Devotional and 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 and the Second Coming Watch Update. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, and a Master’s degree in Religion from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica for twenty-five years. God has blessed their union with seven children. Find out more at www.danielwhyte3.com. Follow Daniel Whyte III on Twitter @prophetdaniel3 or on Facebook.