“Let Them Not Share in the Affairs of Life”: How Ancient Christians Were Viewed as Dangerous to Society

Celsus “just can’t stand Christians.”

So, writes James O’Donnell (Pagans, 101) as he describes the vicious opposition to Christians in the earliest centuries, particularly from the second-century critic Celsus.

A few weeks ago, I began a short, three-part blog series about what people in the ancient world thought of Christians. In the prior post, we explored how Celsus viewed Christians as ignorant, uneducated simpletons.

In other words, one of the main problems with Christians was intellectual in nature.

But Celsus is by no means finished. In this post, we will see that he thinks that Christians also have a behavioral problem.  Their actions are rude, anti-social, and …

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Moving Beyond One-Dimensional Sermon Applications

Let’s just get it out there. Preaching is hard.

In the midst of all the disputes over preaching, this fact remains undisputed.  Yes, preaching is wonderful and exhilarating.  But, it is also exhausting, frustrating, and difficult. Whether a person has preached one time, or a hundred times, they know this.

Why is that? What makes preaching so hard?

I would suggest that it has to do with the nature of preaching.  Preaching is not just delivering a message, passing along facts, or making a point (though it does include these things).  At its core, preaching is something that calls for a response in the listener.

Put differently, members of the …

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Confused by All the Attacks on the Bible? Here Are Three Categories to Help You

When it comes to the truth of the Bible, our world has found plenty of reasons to reject it. We are bombarded with a dizzying variety of objections. So much so, that the average believer is quickly overwhelmed.

It’s a bit like being in a fight with multiple opponents at the same time.  You might have a chance in a one-on-one contest, but it is disorientating when punches are coming from all sides.  You can’t block them all.

One helpful way to address this problem is to learn how to separate these varied objections into distinct categories.  This simple step allows us to organize our thinking. This helps us get …

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Want to Understand How Suffering Fits with the Sovereignty of God? Here’s a Great Place to Start

One of the perennial questions for all theologians (and all human beings) is “Why do we suffer?”  And, “If God is good and sovereign, why does he allow suffering?”

While most of us have these questions, we don’t really have to deal with them until we experience suffering ourselves.  This is when we discover whether we really have a “theology of suffering” that can deal with the hard parts of life.

This is an area of theology which needs more attention.  I am not talking about answers to the intellectual questions regarding the problem of evil and how to resolve it.  Reformed folks have addressed that issue in spades.

What …

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Have Questions about Marriage and Divorce? Here is a Fantastic New Book That Answers the Key Questions

When it comes to shepherding God’s flock, there is little doubt that pastors spend a disproportionate amount of time addressing marriage problems in their congregations. Since marriage is a foundational institution created by God (Gen 2:23-25), it is perhaps no surprise that Satan attacks it relentlessly.

For this reason, I am excited about the new volume by RTS Charlotte counseling professor Jim Newheiser entitled, Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage: Critical Questions and Answers (P&R, 2017).

One of the unique features of the book is the structure.  It is arranged into 40 different questions about marriage and divorce which allows the reader to turn directly to the question that is most pertinent …

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