Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Quotes from Church fathers

I want to continue on with what the subject of my last post, but I came across some interesting quotes in one of my textbooks today. I am taking a church history class that I LOVE!! I am learning all kinds of crazy good stuff about the history of my faith. This week I am reading about the early bishops. Two in particular have stuck out to me, the first is Ambrose of Milan. He was made bishop in 373 a time when the Arians and the orthodox were basically at war with one another. One of the issues was how to use the gold in the church. Ambrose wanted to melt it down and give it to the refugees from a nearby region overrun by the Goths. The Arians saw this as sacrilege. Ambrose responded: "It is better to preserve for the Lord souls rather than gold. He who sent the apostles without gold also gathered the churches without gold. The church has gold, not to store it up, but to give it up, to use it for those who are in need... It is better to keep the living vessels, than the golden ones."

A hundred years later after the death of Ambrose John of Constantinople came into the picture. He was known as John Chrysostom "the golden-mouthed." He preached the same message that Ambrose did. "The gold bit on your horse, the gold circlet on the wrist of your slave, the gilding on your shoes, mean that you are robbing the orphan and starving the widow. When you have passed away, each passer-by who looks upon your great mansion will say, 'How many tears did it take to build that mansion; how many orphans were stripped; how many widows wronged; how many laborers deprived of their honest wages?' Even death itself will not deliver you from your accusers."

Powerful statements made by both of these men. I can't imagine the feedback they got in their days. Both of theses men ended up in exile for these words and others like it. I imagine the same would happen if they were alive today.

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