Meeting a True Bishop

The following tells the story of the day when Emperor Valens, an Arian, was preparing to visit Caesarea to apply some muscle to her newly elected bishop, Basil the Great, a devoted Trinitarian . . .

“Many imperial officers arrived at Caesarea in order to prepare Valens’ visit. The emperor had ordered them to subdue the new bishop through a combination of promises and threats. But Basil was not easy to subdue. Finally, in a heated encounter, the praetorian prefect lost his patience and threatened Basil with confiscating his goods, with exile, torture, and even death.

Basil responded, ‘All that I have you can confiscate are these rags and a few books. Nor can you exile me, for wherever you send me, I shall be God’s guest. As to tortures you should know that my body is already dead in Christ. And death would be a great boon to me, leading me sooner to God.’

Taken aback, the prefect said that no one had ever spoken to him thus. Basil answered, ‘Perhaps that is because you have never met a true bishop.'”

From Justo Gonzalez, The Story of Christianity, Vol I (New York: HarperCollins, 1984), 185.

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About Eric Smith

Sinner saved by the grace of Jesus, husband of Candace, father of Coleman and Crockett, West Tennessean, pastor of Sharon Baptist Church, student at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
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