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 John 16:33 which reads: “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
Our History of Christianity quote today is from a martyr called Thelica. He said: “I am concerned only about the law of God, which I have learned. That is the law which I obey, and in which I shall overcome. Besides that law, there is no other.”
Today, in the History of Christianity, we are looking at “The Great Persecution and the Final Victory” (Part 1) from Dr. Justo L. Gonzalez’s fine book, The Story of Christianity (Volume 1).
After the persecutions of Decius and Valerian, the church enjoyed a long period of relative peace. Early in the fourth century, however, the last and worst persecution broke out. The reigning emperor was Diocletian, who had reorganized the empire and brought renewed prosperity. Part of Diocletian’s reorganization had consisted of placing the government on the shoulders of a team of four emperors. Two of these had the title of augustus: Diocletian himself in the East, and Maximian in the West. Under each of them there was a junior emperor with the title of caesar: Galerius under Diocletian, and Constantius Chlorus under Maximian. Thanks to Diocletian’s political and administrative gifts, this division of power worked quite well as long as he held ultimate authority. Its main purpose, however, was to ensure an orderly process of succession; for Diocletian planned that a “caesar” would succeed his “augustus,” and that then the remaining emperors would appoint someone to fill the vacancy left by the promoted caesar. Diocletian hoped that this would avert the frequent civil wars that racked the empire over the question of succession. As we shall see, this hope proved futile.
In any case, under Diocletian’s administration the empire was enjoying relative peace and prosperity. Apart from recurring skirmishes along the borders, only Galerius had to undertake significant military campaigns, one along the Danube River and another against the Persians. Among the team of emperors, it seems that only Galerius had given any indication of enmity toward Christianity. Both Diocletian’s wife, Prisca, and their daughter, Valeria, were Christians. The peace of the church seemed assured.
Next time, we will continue looking at The Great Persecution and the Final Victory.
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 over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty 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/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 Baptist Theological Seminary. He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica for over twenty-seven 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.