The History of Christianity #30
Our Scripture verse today is John 1:14 which reads: "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth."
Our quote today is from John of the Cross. He said: "Whenever anything disagreeable or displeasing happens to you remember Christ crucified and be silent."
Today, we are examining "The Defense of the Faith" (Part 1) from Dr. Justo L. Gonzalez's fine book, The Story of Christianity (Volume 1).
Today's subject is Base Rumors and Lofty Criticism
Throughout the second century, and well into the third, there was no systematic persecution of Christians. It was illegal to be a Christian; but those who followed the new faith were not sought out by authorities. Persecution and martyrdom depended on local circumstances, and particularly on the good will of neighbors. If for any reason someone wished to harm a Christian, all that had to be done was to present an accusation. Such may well have been the case with Justin, who seems to have been accused by his rival, Crescentius. At other times, as in Lyons and Vienne, it was a mob, fired by all sorts of rumors about Christians, that demanded that they be arrested and punished.
Given such circumstances, Christians felt the need to refute rumors and misconceptions regarding their beliefs and practices. Even if their arguments did not convince others of the truth of Christianity, it was believed that something very tangible would be gained if false reports were dispelled. Such was the task of some of the ablest Christian thinkers and writers, known as the "apologists" --- that is, defenders. Some of their arguments have been in continuous usage through the centuries.
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