Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Christians In the World

"Nothing illustrates what's possible better than an anonymous letter written to Diognetus, a Roman scholar who lived between the second and third centuries (likely during the great persecutions of Christians). It shows the tension - and the potential - of how thinking and living with a restoration focus can impact the world.

The Christians cannot be distinguished from the rest of the human race by country or language or customs. They do not live in cities of their own; they do not use a peculiar form of speech; they do not follow an eccentric manner of life.... Yet, although they live in Greek and barbarian cities alike.... and follow the customs of the country in clothing and food and other matters of daily living, at the same time they give proof of the remarkable and admittedly extraordinary constitution of their own commonwealth.

They live in their own countries, but only as aliens. They have a share in everything as citizens, and endure everything as foreigners. Every foreign land is their fatherland, and yet for them every fatherland is a foreign land. They marry, like every one else, and they beget children, but they do not cast out their own offspring. They share their board with each other, but not their marriage bed.

They busy themselves on earth, but their citizenship is in heaven. They obey the established laws, but in their own lives they go far beyond what the laws require. They love all men, and by all men are persecuted..... They are poor, and yet they make many rich; they are completely destitute, and yet they enjoy complete abundance.

To put it simply: What the soul is in the body, that Christians are in the world."

From Gabe Lyons' book The Next Christians, page 185, 186, quoting Cyril Richardson's book Early Christian Fathers, pg. 175. Note: From the primary document "The So-Called Letter to Diognetus: The Mystery of the New People"

What are your thoughts?

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