Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Bridging


I’d probably be baking a lot more chocolate chip cookies if I lived in the second century. It was illegal in those days to be a Christian, but persecution mostly depended on local circumstances. If you were reported, you were arrested. Otherwise, you could fly under the radar for the most part. It was the original “don’t ask, don’t tell” philosophy.

Most Christians who were arrested and sometimes martyred were turned in by someone they knew. So it was good to be on friendly terms with your neighbors.

Christian beliefs were grossly misunderstood. Imagine that.

Followers of Jesus were condemned for such things as:

  • Cannibalism.
  • Incest.
  • Ignorance.
  • Being ridiculous.
  • Encouraging anti-social behavior.
  • Following a criminal.

Christians were forced to explain their faith in terms that made sense to a pagan culture. How could they answer some ridiculous rumors and explain some mysterious practices?

It was into this stew of misconceptions that a special group of people, the apologists, began their work. (An apologist is one who defends. )

The value of those early apologists was to find a bridge between the culture and Christian life.

These early Christians wrestled with issues not so different from our own. They were misunderstood, mistrusted, misquoted.

Tomorrow: what we can learn

2 comments:

Angela @ Refresh My Soul Blog said...

I guess I am an apologist then! I do not see myself as one smart and learned like Ravi Z. But I do defend and explain the faith in other terms.

Interesting and thought provoking!
Much love,
Angela

Kathy at Sumballo said...

Angela, you are exactly right. You ARE an apologist and a courageous one. Thanks for all you do!