Christian Heroes to Celebrate

October is a great month to practice thankfulness, so let’s thank God this month for our Christian Heritage.

The Bible tells us we are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses that are cheering us on (Hebrews 12). Who are these witnesses? Why, all the folks in Hebrews 11’s Hall of Faith. We also have heroes from history whose lives inspire us to stay the course and run the race.

Let’s meet a few!

Saint Patrick

Kidnapped by Irish pirates, Patrick finally accepted Christ while he was a slave in Ireland. He managed to escape and get home to England only to find that his godly parents were already in Heaven. Patrick pursued the Lord and grew in his faith, eventually sensing a called to the ministry and, believe it or not, to the Irish people. After years of training, he returned to the idol-worshiping people of Ireland and called them to repent and believe in Jesus. His ministry was an exciting one and I am happy to tell you that Patrick was used by the Lord to convert most of the Irish people to Christianity. He even had some power encounters with the druid priests who got their power from the forces of darkness.

Read more about Saint Patrick here.

Athanasius

During his lifetime, many people who claimed to be Christians did not believe that Jesus was God. Athanasius preached and taught tirelessly the truth of the deity of Christ, often facing persecution. Finally, Emperor Constantine called for church leaders to meet and write up a statement of faith: the Nicene Creed, declaring the Jesus is God of God, Light of Light, True God of True God.

Have you ever heard of the Nicene Creed? You might say it every Sunday if you are part of a traditional church. The truths contained in this creed is what all Christians agree on. We may disagree on baptizing infants or communion, but we can all agree that God created the world, Jesus is the Only Begotten Son of the Father, the Holy Spirit gives life, and everyone who believes in Jesus is part of the universal church.

Pope Gregory the Great

Born into a wealthy political family in Rome, Gregory gave up his wealth to become a monk, living an honorable life of service to God and people. It was hard for him to accept the call to lead the church as pope, but he did. He called his bishops and priests to a humble life of loving the Lord and people. He also wrote songs, created musical notation, unified the mass throughout Europe, and sent missionaries to England.

Read more about Pope Gregory the Great here.

Jan Huss

John Huss was a powerful preacher who discovered the works of John Wycliffe, emphasizing the need to make the Bible the center of life and doctrine. In Bohemia, Jan meticulously copied John Wycliffe’s works for others to read and discuss. He began to preach these truths himself, ushering in revival in his nation. Eventually, John Huss was burned at the stake for his disagreements with the pope.

Read more about John Huss here.

His teachings influenced Martin Luther.

Martin Luther

On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther protested against the bad behavior going on in the Roman Catholic Church at the time. He reminded all of Christendom that “the just shall live by faith” and that we are saved by grace through faith. The good news is that the Roman Catholic Church did reform, but the bad news is that it was too late. The Protestant Reformation had begun resulting in numerous denominations and spreading revival across Europe. Now, instead of one church in Western Europe and America, there are more denominations than one can count. However, every denomination has been called to “Sola Scriptura” or making the Bible the center of faith and living.

Read more about Martin Luther here.

Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa is one of my personal heroes. She served the poorest of the poor in the slums of Calcutta. Saint Teresa of Calcutta was born in Skopje, now the capital of Macedonia. Feeling God’s call to be a nun, she served the Lord in Ireland as a nun, training for her future. She felt a call to move to India and serve the poorest of the poor, doing it for Jesus Himself. Devoted to the Lord, she saw every life valuable, speaking out against abortion and urging Christians to love Jesus by serving others. She started “Missionaries for Charity, now active in 133 countries serving folks with AIDS, leprosy, and other illnesses, as well as the poor, orphans, and the uneducated. She took vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. Her followers do the same. She  won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979, but more important she obeyed God’s Word by serving those who cannot serve you back. She is an inspiration to many.

I hope I have whetted your appetite to learn more about the great cloud of witnesses that is cheering us on from the pages of history. It is definitely worth investing our time in learning about our amazing Christian heritage.

Here are some resources for you:

12 Saints Every Christian Should Know

Our Reformation Sunday Celebration (this is how we celebrated Reformation Day one year with adults dressing up as godly reformers)

Have a Heroes for Jesus Party (a fun way to teach kids church history)

Until next time, Happy Homeschooling,

Warmly,

Meredith Curtis

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