Patrick of Ireland was a Scot (by CB Scott)

As we prepare for another national holiday devoted to drunken revelry tomorrow, CB reminds us of who St. Patrick really was. 

The saint of God who became known as St. Patrick to the world was born in his native homeland of Scotland in A.D. 389. Below is a very short history of this tough-as-nails follower of Christ who became known as St. Patrick.

(This is a story of the slave trade. Slavers have been parasites upon humanity since the early years of creation. The Bible records many such stories. The Bible also records the stories of God’s wonderful works of grace and deliverance in spite of the evil that men do . . . and still do this day. Since the fall of man, no greater sin has been perpetrated by men upon other men, women, girls, and boys than to enslave them for profit and personal pleasure. Slavery’s ongoing continuance upon this planet is the great shame of all free men everywhere. However, God’s grace continues to be sufficient in spite of our shame and shameful conduct to one another. Patrick’s story is evidence of Gods’ amazing grace upon a slave.)

Patrick was born in Scotland. As a youth of 16, he ran into the worst of all possible life experiences for a young man or woman short of a torturous death. A band of Irish mercenaries (Wild Geese) captured him and sold him into slavery upon their return to Ireland. Patrick lived a harsh life working for cruel owners.

By the tender mercies of God, Patrick escaped and fled to Western Europe, then known as Gaul. While there he became a follower of Christ in accord with the biblical gospel. He was, as we would say today and as Christ explained to Nicodemus of the first century, “born again.” Patrick returned to his native home of Scotland, a free man both of body and soul. Christ had freed him of his slavery to sinful man and from the penalty of sin itself.

While living as a free Scot in Scotland, God spoke to Patrick. It was not unlike the same manner in which Christ our Lord spoke to Paul in the “Macedonian Call.” This experience would change Patrick’s life forever and make him a figure in human history that will never be forgotten although his story has been greatly altered from the truth.

In a dream Patrick saw a “man of Ireland.”  The Irishman gave him a letter entitled, “The Voice of the Irish.” In this same dream, Patrick heard voices of men who lived near where he had lived as a slave in Ireland. The voices he heard stated, “We entreat you, holy youth, to come and walk still among us.”

With nothing but sheer grit and steel faith that God’s call was upon him and inspired by his new found life of freedom from Satan’s slavery given him by Christ alone, Patrick left the freedom he had cherished in Scotland and went back to the land of the hardest men ever to roam the earth for blood, profit and adventure; Ireland, native home of the Irish.

He landed in Wicklow, but found nothing but hostility to his efforts. He then sailed north and settled in Strongford Lough. There, he moved into a barn and started a church. He took the biblical mandate seriously and began to aggressively “do the work of an evangelist” in fulfillment of the Great Commission.

God blessed his obedience to go among the heathen Irishmen with the Good Story of Jesus Christ. He shared the gospel with the peasantry and the nobility alike. History records that Patrick treated the people who had enslaved him as a youth with kindness and grace. He gave true adherence to the gospel admonition to love one another, even those “who despitefully use you.” God blessed his ministry, using him to plant hundreds of churches and baptize thousands of converts. His influence was felt throughout the Middle Ages even to distant parts of the earth. Patrick imparted a stronger impulse than any other man toward Medieval Missions and Evangelism.

Lastly, it is significant that despite the claims of the Roman Catholic Church upon Patrick, his message and methods were more distinctly those of contemporary Baptists and evangelistic Protestants than were others of his time and culture. He had no connection with the Pope whatsoever, although his grandfather had been a “married” priest. The reliable accounts of the life and career of Patrick present no reference to such Roman Catholic practices as auricular confession, extreme unction or the over emphasis of Mary in the gospel story. Patrick was not a Catholic. However, he was a saint in the biblical sense of the word totally and completely.

Comments

  1. Roger Simpson says

    CB:

    Thanks for this story. Of course I had heard of St. Patrick but I didn’t know much about him other than he supposedly removed all the snakes from Ireland.

  2. Jake Barker says

    In my best Irish brogue (for a Cherokee/Seminole/german crossbreed) “I lift a toast of Guinness to ye”!

  3. J. T. Lowe says

    Not to rain on the parade, but the term Scotland is more contemporary. Patrick was a Brytonic Celt not a Scot from Scotland. What are your sources?

    • says

      But there’s this source, Dictionary of Christian Biography and Literature to the End of the Sixth Century A.D., with an Account of the Principal Sects and Heresies. It says, “The story of St. Patrick’s life may be derived from the primary authorities, his own writings and the Patrician documents which really belong to the 7th and 8th cents. He was born probably at Kilpatrick, near Dumbarton in Scotland. St. Patrick, in the Confession, names Bannavem Taberniae as the residence of his parents, a name which cannot now be identified. ”

      Another vote for Scotland.

      • Dale Pugh says

        Bennaventa Berniae is generally thought to be the Roman “Glannaventa,” which is now Ravenwood, Cumbria, in Northwest England.

  4. Dale Pugh says

    Patrick MAY have been a Scot. No one knows for certain.
    His story IS a remarkable witness to the early Christian mission. The Gospel had extended all the way to the British Isles within 250-300 years of Jesus’ death and resurrection. His father was a Christian deacon and his grandfather was a Christian priest. Early Catholicism looked much different than today’s variety, thus he may indeed have been “catholic” but not “Roman Catholic.”
    My earliest known Irish ancestors were from Armagh, home to St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Church of Ireland, which Patrick founded.

    • jerry d says

      Having ancestors from Scotland, I have a hard time believing Patrick was a Scot; given the fact that he was loving, patient and willing to give to others.

    • Christiane says

      ” The Gospel had extended all the way to the British Isles within 250-300 years of Jesus’ death and resurrection. ”

      there is a ‘legend’ that is sung as Great Britain’s ‘other’ national anthem, look at these very strange words from the hymn ‘Jerusalem’ with the words written by the poet Blake:

      “And did those feet in ancient time
      Walk upon England’s mountains green?
      And was the Holy Lamb of God
      On England’s pleasant pastures seen?
      And did the countenance divine
      Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
      And was Jerusalem builded here
      Among these dark satanic mills?

      Bring me my bow of burning gold!
      Bring me my arrows of desire!
      Bring me my spear! O clouds, unfold!
      Bring me my chariot of fire!
      I will not cease from mental fight,
      Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand,
      Till we have built Jerusalem
      In England’s green and pleasant land.”

      (A treasured legend perhaps, but Brits dearly love to sing this hymn.)

    • cb scott says

      Dwight,

      I am Irish. Yet thankful for Patrick who was not, but was certainly a great evangelist and missionary to Ireland by the grace of God.

      • Dale Pugh says

        Going to share this on my Facebook page today, SEC CB. It will be good to remind people of a true reason to celebrate–Patrick led many to faith in Jesus!

  5. says

    I think its safe to say that as the Celt influence and the Norse influence are still felt in Scotland today, that some one from that area in the early medieval would still be a Scot. Even as Wallace was 900 years later. Aye! And the Head propulsion officer of the Enterprise over 2 millenia later.

    • volfan007 says

      TN? Now, why’d you bring TN into this discussion? Bob?

      TN has had some greats born here…that’s for sure…..David Crockett, Andrew Jackson, Andrew Johnson, Carl Perkins, Al Green, Alvin York, Darrel Worley, Nathan Bedford Forrest, Dolly Parton, Steve Spurrier, as well as the one’s who were born close to TN, and who called TN home…. Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and most of the other country music stars, and the list goes on and on and on……there’s just something really, really special about being born in TN.

      :)

      David

      • volfan007 says

        Other famous Tennesseans: Roy Acuff, the Allman Brothers, Kathy Bates, Pat Boone, Dixie Carter, June Carter Cash, Kenny Chesney, Lester Flatt, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Morgan Freeman, Johnny Majors, Phil Fulmer, Aretha Franklin, W. C. Handy, Isaac Hayes, Tina Turner, Ike, Samuel L. Jackson, Ed “Too Tall” Jones, Popeye Jones, Johnny Knoxville, Jerry “The King” Lawler, Robert Neyland, Patricia Neal, Minnie Pearl, Pat Summit, Usher, Darrel Waltrip, Patrick Willis, Reese Witherspoon, just to name a few more…..

        Bob, do you need to see more? There’s more…..because, there’s just something special about this land called TN.

        David

  6. says

    Thanks for this one CB. Shared a shorter but similar post via social media this morning. Sadly Patrick’s legacy often gets clouded by bad beer dyed green. Love it when we can share the true story of God’s grace at work thru hardship and trial. Patrick was missional before the word ever existed.