Tag Archives: St. Patrick

Church History (Act 5 Scene 2)

This last Sunday service was a a tad different as we looked at the church history between Acts chapter 28 and today (Act 5 Scene 2 in the Grand Story of God).

While history may not be in the Bible, this is a very, very important topic as God did not stop working after St. Luke penned the final words of Acts. He is very much active today and He has always been active within history.

There is a reason that the majority of the Scripture is written as history – Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1-2 Samuel, 1-2 Kings, 1-2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Jonah, Matthew, Luke, Mark, John, and Acts. They are all history books detailing the work of God among humanity… and if God deemed it important enough to include the history of the Jewish people in His Sacred Text, than I feel it is important to know the history of the Church, birthed with Jesus and infused with the Holy Spirit.

The prophet Jeremiah speaks to this in the sixth chapter:

16 This is what the LORD says:
“Stand at the crossroads and look;
ask for the ancient paths,
ask where the good way is, and walk in it,
and you will find rest for your souls.
-Jeremiah 6:16

The “ancient paths” => we are not alone on this journey. There have been many followers of Jesus who has walked this path before us. Hebrews 12:1 says that we are “surrounded” by a “great cloud of witnesses” who are cheering us on – encouraging us to finish the race set before us by “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.”

Continue reading Church History (Act 5 Scene 2)

The Confession of St. Patrick

Courtesy of Wikipedia

I was browsing Amazon.com the other day when I noticed that they had St. Patrick’s autobiography on sale for two bucks. Seeing that, I quickly grabbed my rife, ran outside, shot two deer and mailed them to Brazil.

Ok… bad joke (I can hear my wife booing right now…or, worse still, staring at me with those ‘eyes’  telling me that I’m not funny…not funny at all….sigh).

Seriously though, when I saw that the Confession of St. Patrick cost $2.00 via the Kindle – I couldn’t wait to buy it!

For years I have been a fan of the early Christian church in Ireland and Scotland – yet, the holy grail of books written by the patron saint himself escape me.

But no more! I can proudly say that I have read the words of St. Patrick and have found them refreshing for they were full of humanity and Christ centeredness – both noble qualities.

Perhaps the best way to review this book is to allow you to read some quotes from the hand of St. Patrick himself:

“You are an epistle of Christ in greeting to the ends of the earth . . . written on your hearts, not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God.'”

“…but I know for certain, that before I was humbled I was like a stone lying in deep mire, and he that is mighty came and in his mercy raised me up and, indeed, lifted me high up and placed me on top of the wall. And from there I ought to shout out in gratitude to the Lord for his great favours in this world and for ever, that the mind of man cannot measure.”

Continue reading The Confession of St. Patrick

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!

If you're not wearing BLUE, pinch yourself! No – that wasn't a typo – it was an historic fact.  You see, up until the mid-1700s the color most closely associated with Ireland and St. Patrick was blue, not green. In fact, the Irish Presidential Standard (ie. the flag used by the President of Ireland) shows a Gaelic harp on a St. Patrick's Blue background.

A brief history of St. Patrick

Most folks know the legend of St. Patrick – how he was a slave in Ireland before returning as a missionary, how he sued the three-leave clover to explain the Trinity, and how he drove all the snakes from Ireland… However, I want to focus a bit on some of the lesser known, and in my mind, the more import parts of the live of St. Patrick.

St. Patrick lived from late 300's to the mid-400's, dieing in either 461 or 493 – depending on who you talk to.  He was the son of a church deacon and the grandson of a priest – both of whom lived in British Isles.  We don't know if he was on Roman decent or Celtic – most likely a mixture of both.

The Roman Catholic Church likes to call St. Patrick as one of their own – however, this was most likely NOT the case. Christianity came to the British Isle in the mid to late second century (100s AD) by unknown people. In the third and fourth century (200-300 AD), the British church sent bishops to some of the church counsels – showing the world that Gospel of the Kingdom had spread to the further most areas of known world.[@more@]

During this time, the Church in Rome, as well as in other sees around the Mediterranean Sea, where involved in two things: One, surviving as the Emperors of Rome where trying to kill all Christians. Two, they were fighting among each other for power.  It wasn't until 313 AD that Constantine legalized Christianity. Even then, it took another hundred years before Leo I begin to consolidate power in the Church to Rome (ie. mid to late 400 AD).

Add to this the fact that the British Isles where on the edge of the Roman frontier, and you have a Church that developed independent of 'Rome' or another other 'see' (granted the British church did have some contact as evidence by their presence at the Church Counsels).

As a result of this independence, the Celtic Church under St. Patrick developed into an amazing Church with a strong emphasis on the love of God and relationship with Him versus the work based system that was developing round the Mediterranean. This emphasis really begin to show up in the 6th and 7th Centuries (500-600's) under Saint Columba, who founded the monastery on Iona, and Saint Columbanus, who traveled all across the European continent preaching the Word of the Lord.  

In my opinion, the Celtic Church from 400 to 700 AD was closer to true Christianity (ie. saved by faith, not by works; emphasis on the relationship with the Lord versus earning your way to heaven) then Roman Catholicism at the same time. Unfortunately, Roman Catholicism won out through political power… However, God kept His remnant both in the British Isles as well as else where – like in Armenia (Middle East), Nubia (Africa), and Bohemia (Europe).

Celebrations Ideas

If you're in Boise, I would recommend dropping by the Shamrock Coffee Company at Overland and Maple Grove. This Irish themed coffee and tea house is throwing a St. Patrick Days party:

5:00pm-7:00pm: It's Happy Hour!  All Shamrock signature drinks are FREE! [and they have some awesome signature drinks!!!!]

7:00pm-9:00pm: Irish band An Buille will be performing live at Shamrock Coffee Company's Blackeagle Cafe. CDs will be available for purchase.

If you have never been to the Shamrock, I would recommend giving it a try today. Laughing

Do I have to LISTEN? A brief looking into a world of history

For those of you who don’t know me (ok – let’s face it, if your reading this, you already know me…and are probably wounding if it’s too late to deny all knowledge of the being named Ardell), I like missions history – especially as it deals with early church history. As such, I have been studying the topic off-and-on for the last eight or nine years. At different times throughout those years I have found folks (I believe the number is six) who actually enjoyed listening/talking about this subject.

Well, to the relief of my wife and all sane beings in Idaho, the Good Lord (who is also probably tired of hearing me talk) allows me to co-teach a class about the subject.

Yelp – I am now teaching a class about Missions History, World Religion and Cross Culture Adaptation to fifteen VCOM (Vineyard College of Mission) students. Seeing that the class is mandatory, they have to show up ever week! (Now if they would only stay awake...)

Now I know you are all dieing to know what I’m teaching this poor blessed students. As such, I have posted part of my outline for last week below for you all to drool over. Lord willing, I will continue to post more information about the class was we work are way through this semester (hold on, stop! Slow down – poking your eyes out won’t solve anything… you don’t have to keep reading if you don’t want too. That’s right; put the folk back on the table. Thank you).


I) Apostolic Period: 33-95 AD

a. The Apostles – forced out of Jerusalem in 70 AD

i. Thomas – India

ii. Simon the Canaanite– Africa and Britain

iii. Simon Peter – Samaria; Roman; other places?

iv. Bartholomew – Armenia and India

v. John – Asia Minor (modern day Turkey)

vi. Andrew – North between the Caspian and Black Seas

vii. Matthew – Ethiopia, Egypt

viii. Philip –Asia Minor (modern day Turkey)

ix. James the son of Alphaeus – Spain?

II) Post Apostolic 95-313 AD

a. J. Herbert Kane, A Concise History of the Christian World Mission (1987)

“Coming to the second and third centuries we find that information regarding the expansion of the Christian church is even more meager. We read of large and influential churches in Alexandria, Carthage, and Edessa; but we do not know when or by whom they were established. Here again there are wide gaps in our knowledge. It would seem that Christianity continued to spread along the main roads and rivers of the empire: eastward by way of Damascus and Edessa into Mesopotamia; southward through Bosra and Petra into Arabia; westward though Alexandria and Carthage into North Africa; and northward through Antioch into Armenia, Pontus, and Bithynia. Later still it reached Spain, Gaul, and Britain before crossing the borders of the empire into more remote parts such as Ireland, Ethiopia, and China.”

b. Pantaens of Alexandria went to India in 180 AD (found a church founded by Bartholomew)

c. Gregory the Illuminator – Missionary to Armenia

i. Converted Armenian’s King, King Tiridates

ii. Still exists – one of the oldest churches in Christendom

iii. New Testament first appeared in the Armenian language in 410 AD

III) Christianity become corrupt: 313-500 AD

a. Key Dates

i. Conversion of Emperor Constantine (323 AD)

1. Christianity when from the tombs to the palace almost overnight

2. People became ‘Christianity’ for political reasons, not because of a personal faith.

ii. Christianity becomes the “official” religion of the Roman Empire

It is Our Will that all the people We rule shall practice that religion which the divine Peter the Apostle transmitted to the Romans. We shall believe in the single Deity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, under the concept of equal majesty and of the Holy Trinity. We command that those persons who follow this rule shall embrace the name of Catholic Christians. The rest, however, whom We adjudge demented and insane, shall sustain the infamy of heretical dogmas, their meeting places shall not receive the name of churches, and they shall be smitten first by divine vengeance and secondly by the retribution of Our own initiative, which We shall assume in accordance with divine judgment.

Emperor Theodosius 380 AD

b. Patrick, missionary to Ireland (389? – 461?)

i. Evangelical Celtic believer from Britain (not connected to the Roman Church)

ii. Father was a ‘deacon’; Grandfather was a priest in the Celtic church

iii. Patrick did not become a believer until he was captive by an Irish raiding party and became a slave in Ireland

iv. Escaped after 6 years; went to Gaul to study; in 432 AD went back to Ireland as a missionary

v. Changed Ireland for God

vi. Unlike Roman Catholics, Patrick and the Celtic missionaries that followed placed a lot of emphasis on spiritual growth.

c. Frumentius – missionary to Ethiopia

i. Going to India with his uncle and a friend

ii. Seized by pirates in the Red Seas; sold as slaves to the King of Ethiopia

iii. Became the virtual ruler of Ethiopia upon kings death; ruled on behalf of the kings son, Ezana

iv. When the new king was old enough, Frumentius and his friend was set free; went to Alexandria

v. Commissioned as a bishop and returned as a missionary

vi. Converted Ezana to Christianity

vii. Ethiopian church is the only African church that was not conquered by Islam