The Lions Are Eating The Prophets

1417 words - 6 pages

The birth of the church resulted from the work of Jesus. God had prepared the way so that the disciples through the power of the Holy Spirit could be witnesses “in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) (Gonzalez, 7) The first century church was plagued with persecution, torture, and martyrdom. The stamina, staying power, and survival of the Christian community during the early days may be the greatest “miracle” beyond the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Attempts to eliminate them by emperors, by opposition from the religious leaders, and from false teachers and doctrine within the Christian community merely strengthened the resolve and faith of the Christians. All this established and spread the Christian church throughout the then known world.
Christianity has always faced both external and internal problems even in the very beginning. The Early Church had to face serious internal problems and at the same time, had to deal with the external problems and persecution. During the first few years, Christianity, like Judaism, enjoyed the protection of Roman laws. The church endured little persecution so long as it was perceived as a part of Judaism that was a legal sect (Dowley, 71) When Jewish religious leaders started rejecting Christianity, then Christianity was distinguished from Judaism as a separate religion. At that point, it came under the ban of the Roman state and was considered a threat to the Roman state. Then persecution started and people suffered hardships for their faith. People were mistreated, tortured, and even killed for their faith though stoning, crucifixion, burning at the stake, and being thrown to lions. The martyrs, who felt honored to share a death like Christ, actually helped bring others to Christ. Their courage brought hope and courage to others when they were facing persecution and possible death. The outside world was amazed at their resolve and starting wanting to know more about a faith so strong that it was worth suffering persecution for. As the persecution spread so did Christianity because the Christians scattered and took the Gospel with them.
Some of the external problems facing the church were from the fact they believed and lived a separatist life. The social values and strong moral values of the Christians were in direct conflict with the Roman beliefs and practices. Roman religion was mechanical and external. The Roman religion had its alters, idols, priests, processionals, rite, and practices that were contrary to Christianity.(Cairns, 97) The first Christians lived under a entirely different set of values and beliefs which caused problems. Paganism insisted upon an aristocratic configuration for society and believed that the lower classes and slaves should serve the privileged few. (Cairns, 97) Christianity upheld the equality of all men (Col 1:3). This difference caused hatred of the Christians, who taught all people could experience a...

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