The Pagan Reaction: Julian the Apostate, Part 1 (The History of Christianity #121)
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.
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.