Friday, March 18, 2022

Patrick - The truth about him.






All photos courtesy of Unsplash 

The first things to know about the “Irish Catholic Saint Patrick” are 1) he was not Irish, 2) he was not Roman Catholic, and 3) he was never canonized as a saint. 

Around A.D. 390, Patrick was born into a Christian family in the Roman province of Britain. As a teenager, he was taken as a slave to Ireland. He later wrote that while living in Ireland, “the Lord opened the understanding of my unbelief… that I might turn to the Lord my God with all my heart.” From that time forward Patrick began seeking God’s direction for his life. In his autobiographical Confessions, he wrote, “Tending flocks was my daily work, and I would pray constantly…. The love of God and the fear of Him surrounded me more and more.” 
After six years, Patrick escaped and returned to Britain. There, Patrick experienced his own Macedonian call: he heard the voice of a man in Ireland calling, “Come and walk among us again.” He became a minister and, around 432, returned as a missionary to the area where he had been enslaved. Patrick’s passion for evangelism brought the gospel to Ireland and beyond.

At that time, Ireland was considered the “end of the earth” because it lay beyond the borders of the Roman Empire. The vast majority of people were pagans, practicing witchcraft, magic, and human sacrifice. Under Patrick’s preaching, some of the leading druids were converted. The king’s brother became a Christian, and a church was established in his home area. By 447, fifteen years after Patrick arrived, most of Ireland had heard the gospel. 

By the time of his death, Patrick had planted approximately 200 churches and baptized 100,000 converts. He promoted true discipleship, refusing to baptize new converts until they showed steadfastness in the faith. 

Perhaps most importantly for the spread of the gospel, Patrick established an indigenous Celtic church, not an extension of the Church of Rome. He trained pastors to serve the churches he planted. Following Patrick’s death, missionaries from Ireland took the gospel through central Europe, as far north as Iceland and back to Britain, the land from which their first missionary had come. In the years after Patrick’s death, Christianity’s greatest evangelistic efforts were led by Irish missionaries, the fruit of Patrick’s ministry.

Patrick is far more than a mythical character celebrated by wearing green on March 17. He is a hero of early Christianity and, in many ways, a model for missions today.

Borrowed from a friend. Long-ish read, but very important on this day.
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