Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus was born in the middle of the second century. Spanning 85 years, Tertullian lived during the height of the Roman Empire. After the apostles within Acts and Jesus’ disciples passed away, Christian historians began to record post biblical events. Residing in the Roman province of Africa in Carthage, Tertullian is regarded as one of the earliest theologians. He is the first Christian author to produce extensive literature on apologetics, defending Christianity against heresy and the threat of Gnosticism. These works earned Tertullian the title father of Latin Christianity.
“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you,” John 15:18.
While Tertullian was born after Nero’s persecution and died well before the reign of Decius third century worldwide persecution, suffering was rampant. Another early historian Eusebius spoke of a great multitude of believers who perished. Tertullian developed a unique perspective of Christian persecution that he witnessed. In the cases of death, Tertullian said the blood of martyrs is the seed of the church. This quote is found in what is known as Apologeticus pro Christianis within the concluding chapters, pages 48-50.
Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 2 Timothy 3:12.
Persecution is one of those experiences you don’t want to brag about it. Depending upon the severity you endure, these events can scar your soul. Nonetheless, Jesus tells his disciples to not take this personally for the world hated me first. Meanwhile, one of the apostle Paul’s mission helpers makes a strong statement about the topic of persecution. Its not a matter of if, but when. Therefore, persecution should be expected for those who stand out by emulating Christ in this life. In fact, if you’re not receiving weekly doses of persecution, perhaps you have become a chameleon, blending in to avoid this. As Palm Sunday arrives, make sure you come out of your shell to give Jesus the praise He deserves. If persecution results, so be it. As Tertullian once wrote, the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.
by Jay Mankus