Today will be a day of green, green and greener. Groups of people will gather together to celebrate. They will gather in bars drinking and having a very festive time. There will be parades in the streets, especially if you live in Boston. When I attended elementary school in eastern NC, if you did not wear green you got pinched very strongly. A strange tradition yet true. Why? It is Saint Patrick’s Day. If you ask people what is so important about this Saint Patrick guy, the normal response is “I have no idea”. Some say he was a great man of God because he was a saint. When you ask what made him great, they usually do not know. This is understandable, because so very little was documented about him. In writing my book about the biblical solution to the decline of Christianity in western culture I have done two (2) years of research. I was introduced to an old book called the Celtic Way. Thus, St. Patrick entered into my life. In my book I will go deeper into his life however, I thought this small peek would be of some interest.
He grew up in what is now northeast England (Brita). Rome occupied this area thus he was a Roman Briton to be exact. He lived during the Fifth & Sixth Century. When he was 16 years of age he was captured by Celtic pirates and sold as a slave to a tribal chief in Ireland. His master’s name was Milliuc. It was during his six years in Ireland as a slave that he found a deep and profound relationship with God. You must understand, he had been raised as a Christian. His Grandfather was a priest. Although, he himself had never taken Christianity seriously. During his captivity he learned to pray and his love for God grew more and more. His time in nature, prayer and meditation would change his life forever. After a voice in a dream told him how to escape, he acted on that dream. His escape was successful. After his return to England he studied and became a priest. One night, years later, after becoming a priest he had another dream. God spoke to him in this dream to return to the barbaric country of Ireland and minister to the tribes who once owned him as a slave. The British Church confirmed his dream and affirmed him as the first missionary Bishop and sent him to Ireland.
In his twenty-eight (28) year mission, which evangelism was the central component of; he went to a barbaric tribal culture, planted over 700 hundred church communities, and ordained more than a thousand priest. Many more accepted the Gospel truth of Christ Jesus. His method of evangelism reverted to the pattern of Jesus’s ministry some five hundred (500) years earlier as opposed to the Roman Catholic model. This he believed was central to converting a barbaric nation to Christianity. He was a great man of God worth celebrating, however, after returning home, the very church that sent him sadly turned on him and his ministry. Many great men of God suffered the same fate as St. Patrick. Charles Spurgeon after the Downgrade articles debate faced the same types of persecution. Even though St Patrick’s story is only a small part of my book, I hope you will read it and become more intimately acquainted with this great man of God and what he can teach us about evangelism as Christians living in western culture today.
Dr. Terry Norris
Exec. Dir. Emerge Ministries