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One Man Against the World (3)

Arius was not a man to give up. He had very influential and outspoken friends. He and his followers stirred up divisions in the church. Their heresies and lies worked as a cancer in the body of Christ. The divisions even threatened the unity of the whole Roman Empire. Constantine the emperor would have to intervene.

Constantine was the first emperor to not only tolerate Christianity, he even promoted it. He claimed to be a Christian himself. But above all, he hated divisions. The issues that Arius brought up had to be solved. God would use this man, this leader of the civilized world, for His own special purposes and pleasure. The heart of the king is in the hand of the Lord; He directs it whithersoever He wills.

God willed to have a church council called to Nicea. Constantine called a council of the church to Nicea. It would be a council whose work would endure for centuries. It would benefit the body of Christ for all of history. It would help to establish the truth of Scripture to the end of time. Constantine just wanted peace.

Over 300 church leaders came to Nicea to state once and for all—Who is Jesus. A few believed as Arius did, that Jesus was like God, but not really God. Even less believed as Alexander and Athanasius did, that Jesus as the Son of God is very God indeed. But most believed something in between these two positions. The victory for the truth would not be easily won.

Eusebius of Nicodemia, a large, tall man with a voice to match and a head full of white hair led the way for the Arian view. Eusebius of Caesarea, a tall, thin man with a noble, scholarly manner held sway for the middle ground. These were men of knowledge and renown. Then there was Athanasius, the short, young, redheaded deacon of Alexandria. Too young to be a member of the council, he was there merely as the attendant of Alexander. Experience and numbers were by far on the side of the Arians. How would the truth prevail in such a council as this?

(to be continued)