Wednesday, June 04, 2014

The Power of One

May 31, 2014

The Church today would be a different kind of place if it were not for a short, dark-skinned, red-bearded, half hermit who single-handedly fought an empire for the truth of the Gospel. For much of the fourth century, A.D., it was Athanasius contra mundum—“Athanasius against the world”—and Athanasius won.

One letter. To some historians his was a battle not worth fighting. His argument hung on the stroke of a pen, a single letter, one iota—the Greek letter “i.” But embedded in that slender distinction was the essence of the Christian faith, and Athanasius would defend it with his life. “We are contending,” he wrote, “for our all.”

Up to this point, the Church’s major threats had all come from outside—Roman emperors who sought to work their will on Christians who steadfastly maintained that Jesus is Lord and not Caesar, and Greek philosophers who presented questions that the Church, in time, developed the ability to answer.

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