Athanasius Contra Mundum

“Stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.” 1 Corinthians 16v13

Around the year 340AD God raised up a man – Athanasius – who stood firm in a day when heresies ran riot. At a time when men were preaching that Christ was not God but a created being, Athanasius wrote a book called ‘On the Incarnation of the Word of God’, defending the true, biblical doctrine of the person of Christ.

The thing that Athanasius is most remembered for is his quote ‘Athanasius contra mundum’ (which translated means ‘Athanasius against the world’). By this he meant that even if he was the only person in the whole world who was standing for the truth he would still stand. He was willing to hold his ground. Even if everybody else believed false teaching and went against the Bible, he would not be moved.

Now, we do have freedom to read the Bible, to go to church, to meet with other Christians and to speak about God. Right now we have the freedom to read Christian books and look at Christian blogs and websites. But if all of this was taken away, would we stand firm? If we didn’t have our Christian families, would we stand firm? If the whole world was going against the Bible, would we just go with the crowd?

Isn’t it incredible that still today Athanasius’ faith can challenge us? If we were all on our own, would we speak up for what is right and good and true? Would we stand our ground and not be moved? Even if it meant death?

By Becsy Wells


  1. Thank-you for this challenge, Becsy. Actually, this is a subject about which I have been thinking a lot recently. When reading through your article, it reminded me of a verse I read in my devotions yesterday: "Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." (2 Tim. 3:12). So if we live consistently godly Christian lives, we are to expect persecution. I think I could even go as far as to say that, if we do not suffer any persecution as Christians at all (no matter how small, whether it be opposition from friends or family, teasing/taunting from non-Christians or complete avoidance from others because of our faith) then perhaps we ought to question if we are living the godly lives that we should?...

    Anyway thanks very much for this Becsy!

  2. Thanks fro that comment Rebekah

    Just quoting you '' So if we live consistently godly lives, we are to expect persecution..." That is right.

    Of course we're going to get persecuted

    I just thought that i would echo that comment.

    Becsy, thank-you for the article. Short and Sweet!


  3. Thank you :)

    The question asked at the conclusion of your article is almost identical to one I was recently faced with that continues to challenge:

    “Even if he was the only person in the whole world who was standing for the truth he would still stand.” Wow.

    As well as the measure of persecution to be borne HERE and TODAY is worth remembering how meagre that persecution is when in perspective with what others must suffer and have suffered abroad and in history. It is at very little cost that we may be Christians here and today.

    When, for us, the truth costs so little, is it possible that we begin to also forget its value?

    Regardless of the COST – whether a friend, a job or even lives – the truth’s value & worth is the same. That worth is infinite. It is eternal life and all the value that is God! :)

    If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.

  4. This post reminded me of a comment made by Paul Washer (I think in his "Shocking Youth Message" sermon" this is VERY paraphrased, sorry about that...) he said that he had seen a 9 yr old boy shot 5 times in the stomach then left to bleed to death, all because he said "I cannot deny Jesus, please do not kill me." We can so easily say that we would do exactly the same thing, but would we?

    Thank you so much for this post Becsy :)



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