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Tag Archives: Christian historians

Remaining Above the Fray

The expression above the fray refers to abstaining from getting involved in a heated argument, confrontation or debate.  While individuals may participate by adding their opinion, temperance is demonstrated by going the right distance and no further.  One of the reasons I have not activated my twitter account is to avoid being dragged into a no win situation of endless mudslinging back and forth.

But avoid foolish and ill-informed and stupid controversies and genealogies and dissensions and quarrels about the Law, for they are unprofitable and useless. 10 After a first and second warning reject a divisive man [who promotes heresy and causes dissension—ban him from your fellowship and have nothing more to do with him], 11 well aware that such a person is twisted and is sinning; he is convicted and self-condemned [and is gratified by causing confusion among believers], Titus 3:9-11.

Controversy is nothing new.  During the first century, philosophers meet in the marketplace to exchange their ideas.  When these new teachings conflicted with biblical principles, dissensions and quarrels about the God’s law triggered heresy, a departure from biblical beliefs.  In the passage above, the apostle Paul warns a servant of Christ to avoid getting sucked into these futile discussions.  In the centuries following biblical times, God raised up Christian historians who wrote apologetic books defending and justifying biblical truth.

Therefore if there is any encouragement and comfort in Christ [as there certainly is in abundance], if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship [that we share] in the Spirit, if [there is] any [great depth of] affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, having the same love [toward one another], knit together in spirit, intent on one purpose [and living a life that reflects your faith and spreads the gospel—the good news regarding salvation through faith in Christ], Philippians 2:1-2.

The best solution to remain above the fray is by developing a Christ-like mind.  Arguments tend to bring out raw emotions that influences human nature to attack, lash out and seek revenge.  Yet, Jesus shares a contrary message, to let God judge the living and the dead.  Jesus had the power to call down fire from heaven as the Son of God, but he choose to live a humble life as a blue collar carpenter.  By taking time every day to meet quietly with God, this spiritual discipline empowered Jesus to carry out God’s will on earth.  When individuals begin to practice Philippians 2:2-5, attitudes will transform toward a heavenly mindset to remain above the fray.

by Jay Mankus

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The Seed of the Church

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

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