James 1:27 NIV¹
According to the history of the great Roman empire, Rome considered itself to be polytheistic and pagan. It was established on fear of the gods as one of the main principles governing life. Citizens believed the fortunes of the empire depended upon the favor of the gods. Christians of this time were considered outlaws. BBC’s history channel asserts that Pagans were probably most suspicious of the Christian refusal to offer sacrifices to the emperor, a semi-divine monarch, or the Roman gods. All social injustices and crimes like rape, racism, prostitution, murder, slavery, human trafficking and treason amongst many others, were at their all time high. The innumerable deities and rites of polytheism were closely interwoven with every circumstance of business or pleasure, of public or private life. Amazingly, Christianity not only survived, but actually thrived under the constant threat of imprisonment, enforced servitude, confiscation of property, and martyrdom. As Tertullian, a Christian apologist and former pagan, wrote to the Roman leaders in A.D. 197, the more Christians were “mown down by you, the more in number we grow; the blood of Christians is seed.” The believers’ refusal to renounce their faith during torment actually caused more Romans to inquire into Christian doctrine. Christian behavior under persecution preached a sermon far more effective than words. Christianity emerged in a world hostile to it, and in some sense, that hostility and controversy spurred its growth because people would see how faith gave people strength to withstand persecution, and it also gave people a sense of hope and purpose. The church thrived in the pits of Rome and later became the official religion of the Roman empire. Christianity arose from the ashes and pits of Rome by faith, the word and the Spirit the God.
The church is being held captive or struggling to stay afloat in this age. Christainity has become a religious idea of mankind trying to reach heaven on her own accord. A Christian apologist Os Guinness³ says that when we look at ‘church’ today, “it is the world and the spirit of the age that are dominant, not the Word and Spirit of God. The church is strong numerically, but weak because it is worldly to a great extent.” According to Christianity Today², “The church is in the world and of the world; and as a result, it is in profound cultural captivity. It has in many ways become episodic; we put on a good show and excel at drawing interest, but we lack practical life change and transformation.” Some churches have basically become charitable organisations and others have primarily taken on a social identity. We’re founded more on fairness than biblical truth, politics and other platforms while families are falling apart, addictions are becoming rampant, wars are all around us, diseases are on the rise, amongst other vices. This, like Rome, is the breeding ground for the true church. If Jesus has become another option because it works, we won’t survive these pits. If we truly desire to win the world to Christ, we must first raise the bar
Are you a church empowered by faith or religious ideology?
¹ The Bible. New International Version.
² Kim, Sam. The Church Today in Cultural Captivity.” Christianity Today, 15 May 2019, christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2019/may/church-today-in-cultural-captivity.html. Accessed 3 March 2020.
³ Mooney, Ginny. “Os Guinness Calls for a New Christian Renaissance.” The Christian Post, 18 June 2011, christianpost.com/news/os-guinness-calls-for-a-new-christian-renaissance.html. Accessed 3 March 2020.
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