While I am still trying to ‘connect the dots’ of knowledge into a solid picture of the 1st – 4th Century Christian church I do know that we owe a lot of thanks to the men and woman would fought so hard for the truth.
Take for example the great Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria in the 4th century. He spent 42 years fighting his cause, 17 of them in exile – he was exiled 5 times! His cause was something that caused great instability in the East of the Roman Empire. And it basically boils down to something we take for granted – that God the father and God the son are consubstantial.
Athanasius was eventually vindicated in 381AD with the adoption of the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed, which is a creed we still say in our churches today. Sadly this happened 8 years after Athanasius died.
So I guess my point is this – praise God for our fathers who did great things!
The Niceno-Constantinopolitian Creed (aka Nicene Creed)
We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible;
And in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all ages, light from light, true God from true God, begotten not made, consubstantial with the Father, through whom all things came into being, who because of us men and because of our salvation came down from the heavens, and was incarnate from the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary and became man, and was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered and was buried, and rose again on the third day, in accordance with the Scriptures, and ascended to the heaven, and sits at the right hand of the Father, and will come again with glory to judge the living and the dead, of whose kingdom there will be no end;
And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and life-giver, who proceeds from the Father, who with the Father and the Son is together worshipped and together glorified, who spoke through the prophets; in one holy catholic and apostolic church. We confess one baptism for the remission of sins; we look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the age to come. Amen.