LISTEN: Ambrose of Milan, Part 3: An Unexpected Election (The History of Christianity Podcast #144)

This is Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International, with the History of Christianity Podcast #144, titled, “Ambrose [AM-BROZE] of Milan [MEE-LAHN] (Part 3): An Unexpected Election.”

Our Scripture for today is Romans 15:4 which reads: “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.”

Our History of Christianity quote today is from Jerome. He said: “Let the divine scripture be always in your hands, and give yourself so frequently to prayer that such shafts of evil thoughts as ever assail the young may thereby find a shield to repel them.”

Today, in the History of Christianity, we are looking at “Ambrose [AM-BROZE] of Milan [MEE-LAHN] (Part 3): An Unexpected Election” from Dr. Justo L. Gonzalez’s fine book, The Story of Christianity (Volume 1).

Shortly after Ambrose’s [AM-BROZE’s] consecration, the nearby region was ravaged by a band of Goths who had crossed the border with imperial permission but had then rebelled. Refugees flocked to Milan [MEE-LAHN], and there was news of many captives for whom the Goths were demanding ransom. Ambrose’s response was to order that funds be raised for the refugees and for ransoming the captives by melting some of the golden vessels and other ornaments the church possessed. This created a storm of criticism, particularly among the Arians [AHR-EE-AHNS], who were eager to find him at fault and accused him of sacrilege. Ambrose [AM-BROZE] answered:

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, 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.

Likewise, in writing about the duties of pastors Ambrose [AM-BROZE] told them that true strength consists in supporting the weak against the strong, and that they should invite to their feasts not the rich who could reward them but rather the poor who could not.

Among the many who went to listen to him preach, there was a young teacher of rhetoric who had taken a long and tortuous spiritual pilgrimage, and who was so entranced by the bishop’s words that he returned to his mother’s faith, which he had abandoned many years before. Eventually, the young man, whose name was Augustine, was baptized by Ambrose [AM-BROZE], who does not seem to have been aware of the exceptional gifts of his convert, who one day would become the most influential theologian of the West since the apostle Paul.

Next time, we will begin looking at “Ambrose of Milan (Part 4): The Bishop and the Throne.”

Let’s pray.


Dear friend, simply knowing the facts about Christian history without knowing the One on Whom this faith is based will do you no good. If you do not believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, may I encourage you to get to know Him today. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can be a part of the church in this life and in the life to come. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will. Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Until next time, remember that history is truly His story.