This is Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International, with the History of Christianity Podcast #155, titled, “John Chrysostom [CRYS-OZ-TOM] (Part 8): Return to the Wilderness.”
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 Scripture for today is 1 Peter 4:19 which reads: “Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.”
Our History of Christianity quote today is from St. Symeon [SIHM-EE-UHN]. He said: “To have faith in Christ means more than simply despising the delights of this life. It means we should bear all our daily trials that may bring us sorrow, distress, or unhappiness, and bear them patiently for as long as God wishes and until He comes to visit us. For it is said, ‘I waited on the Lord and He came to me.’”
Today, in the History of Christianity, we are looking at “John Chrysostom [CRYS-OZ-TOM] (Part 8): Return to the Wilderness” from Dr. Justo L. Gonzalez’s fine book, The Story of Christianity (Volume 1).
Finally, even Cucusus [KOO-KOO-SUS] seemed too near a place of exile, and Chrysostom [CRYS-OZ-TOM] was ordered removed even farther, to a cold and unknown hamlet on the shores of the Black Sea. The soldiers guarding him, being aware that their charge did not have the good will of the crown, paid no attention to his failing health, and during the journey drove him to exertions well beyond his strength. Soon the banished bishop became seriously ill. When he perceived that death was near, he asked to be taken to a small church by the roadside. There he took communion, bid farewell to those around him, and preached his briefest but most eloquentsermon: “In all things, glory to God. Amen.”
In Constantinople [KAAN-STAN-TUH-NOH-PUHL] and elsewhere, people felt that a great injustice and even a sacrilege had been committed. John’s staunchest supporters refused the authority of the new bishop and of those in communion with him–particularly the patriarchs of Alexandria and of Antioch–and the schism ended only when, thirty-one years after his death, John’s memory was restored, and his body brought back to Constantinople [KAAN-STAN-TUH-NOH-PUHL] amid great pomp and celebration.
As we compare the lives of Chrysostom [CRYS-OZ-TOM] and Ambrose [AM-BROZE], we see an indication of what would be the future course of the churches in the East compared with the West. Ambrose [AM-BROZE] faced the most powerful emperor of his time, and won. Chrysostom [CRYS-OZ-TOM], on the other hand, was deposed and banished by the weak Arcadius [AHR-KAY-DEE-UHS]. From then on, the Latin-speaking church of the West would become increasingly powerful, as it filled the vacuum left by the crumbling empire. In the Greek-speaking East, on the other hand, the empire would last another thousand years. Sometimes weak, and sometimes strong, this Eastern offshoot of the old Roman Empire–the Byzantine Empire–would zealously guard its prerogatives over the church. Theodosius was not the last Western emperor to be humbled by a Latin-speaking bishop. And John Chrysostom [CRYS-OZ-TOM] was not the last Greek-speaking bishop banished by an Eastern emperor.
Next time, we will begin looking at “Jerome.”
Dear friend, simply knowing the facts about Christian history without knowing the One on Whom 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.