Death and the Afterlife: Biblical perspectives on ultimate questions (IVP Academic, 2018) by Dr. Paul Williamson is a great guide into a subject that impacts everyone on earth. The contents of the book were originally part of a lecture Dr. Williamson gave during the 2016 … Continue reading Book Review: Death and the Afterlife
We have looked at the HOW and WHY of street epistemology in previous reports and are currently looking their tactics. You can click here to read a basic report before reading further. It is an introduction to basic tactics, so that’s a good place to start. This second part … Continue reading Street Epistemology: Basic Tactics, Part Two
We are currently looking at Christian apologetic writings from the 4th century AD. In our last article we saw that the 4th century for Christians exploded into an all-out attempt by the Roman Empire to destroy Christianity. Christian bishop and historian Eusebius of Caesarea lived through the Great Persecution and wrote about it in his well-known Church History.
The persecution came to an end in 313 AD with the Edict of Milan. Emperors Constantine I (Western Empire) and Licinius (Eastern Empire) agreed to allow all people in the Empire to worship the deity of their choice. Christians received their legal rights back and were allowed to own property and organize local church assemblies.
Keep in mind that thousands of Christians died during the Great Persecution – many of them leaders of local churches. What followed the Edict of Milan was the process of Christianity finding its way in a new world that did not include persecution, but did face other strong challenges.
In our previous reports about street epistemology we’ve looked at their purpose, goals and strategy – that’s the WHY issue. We move now to their tactics – HOW they do what they do.
“This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck.” 1 Timothy 1:18-19
We are currently answering seven questions about the spiritual battle Christians find themselves fighting every day. In our last study we looked at the Battleground and the Players on the Field of Battle. We now move to the Strategy of War.
Christianity At The Crossroads: How The Second Century Shaped The Future Of The Church (IVP Academic, 2018) will be an excellent addition to anyone’s personal, teaching, pastoral or church library.
Written by Dr. Michael J. Kruger (President and Professor of New Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte, North Carolina), this new book does a wonderful job demonstrating the importance of the 2nd century to the life and future of the Christian Church.
“There was a time, nearly two thousand years ago, when Christianity was in its infancy. It possessed very little cultural influence, was weak and frail, and found itself fighting for its life. Theological formulations were imprecise and undeveloped, factions and ‘heresies’ were dominant, attacks from pagan philosophers were rampant, and the future was altogether uncertain. On top of all this, Christianity was, for the first time, moving forward without the direct guidance of living apostles and still did not yet have a fully formed New Testament canon.
When was this time? It was the second century. This particular block of time is one of the most critical in the life of the Church – perhaps the moment when it was most vulnerable. It is what we might call the transitional century for the early Christian faith. The Church was out of the apostolic womb and now trying to take its first breath.” Christianity At The Crossroads, Introduction, p 1
The Christian Church reached a pivotal point as the 3rd century blended into the 4th century. The Great Persecution under Roman Emperor Diocletian and his co-rulers went after Christians with a vengeance. It began in the early part of the 4th century (303 AD) and continued for several years. Their intent was to destroy Christianity.
It is this story of the Great Persecution and its impact on the Christian Church that we now take up in our special series A Reading Plan for Christian Apologists.