I think going through Ancient and Medieval church History has impacted my life in a way that is unprecedented. I love the ancient church history the most, going through the lives of Augustine, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Aquinas, the Councils creed like Nicene creed, Ephesians Creed, Chaldecan’s creed, etc. and how they were martyred for the Name of Christ in early churches are just too powerful and inspiring to me. It’s a real eye opener for me to see all the work and thinking on theology that has gone in in the early church because of necessity like false teachings Arianism, Gnosticism, the dual nature of the divinity/humanity of Christ, the trinity of the Godhead which are all so fundamental to our faith that we have taken for granted. I for one, have not plodded deep into Trinity, the homoousia and the homoiousia, the same or similar substance between Christ and the Father has just blown me away. I confess that I have always believed in Trinity but never known such intricacy thereof. I love the fact that Augustine said we need a God-Man to save the human race, as human savior must be a savior, and yet we can’t find a perfect human on earth to save us. But God came up with an amazing idea that is He sends his own Son Jesus Christ to incarnate into our human world by taking up the dual nature of God-Man, which is simply the most amazing mysterious breakthrough of human history. For the creator of the universe to step into our universe to walk and cry and laugh with us and teach us the gospel and the Father, is beyond any words can describe. Only Jesus is qualified to take up this task to redeem mankind, by living a perfect life we should have lived, and offering up his life as a sacrifice, substitution, for us, is the biggest act of love we have known. I am so thankful for Christ to step into our world to reveal who God is and his affection for us is transforming. Without Christ incarnated into this world, I would have been so lost trying to figure out the God of the OT and any relevance for our modern days. I have always been thankful for that, but after this semester, I am more pumped and closer to my savior who incarnated in my world and saved me. I am so thankful.
Looking at the martyrdom of the early bishops like Justin the Martyr, and the really powerful woman Perpetua and Felicitas is such a daunting challenge and inspiration to me of the extent they sacrificed for the Name of Jesus. I am humbled and grateful.
Looking at the monasteries that sprung up and produced almost all the most formidable thinkers, theologians in the early church is a phenomenal success that I have not known before. They asceticism, and their pursuit of God is really something inspiring and stirring in the material comfort world in our 21st century New York city. What a contrast. I have learnt that material comfort actually brought down the downfall of the monasteries, and indeed a big lesson to be learnt. I love that they chant the psalms –whole book like once a week or so. This has impressed in my heart too that I want to be a more psalm filled Christian and also an awe towards tradition and the council I never had before. I greatly respect the early fathers of their theological understanding when every time they met in a council they voted for the biblical doctrines, kicked out and exiled the false teachers. Such one accord is amazing and such intellectual power of Augustine, Aquinas, Anselm, etc. is truly inspiring. I am thankful for this semester on the early church especially.