Monday, June 11, 2007

The Pattern of the Early Christians...

The pattern of how the Early Christians --of the first 200 years-- practiced their Christianity is worthy of our attention. It was a powerful church, a church that spoke loudly ... without saying a word. The Early Church of the first 200 years stood unified against the heretics; indeed, their writings against the heresies show us vividly exactly what they believed, how they discerned Scriptures, and how they lived.

Without saying a word, their modest, unfashionable, and plain dress made them visible to and yes, targets in, their unregenerated world. It gave them ample opportunities to witness... both to the hungry souls yearning for the one true GOD and to the haters of GOD.

They spoke to their society wordlessly when they simply did NOT attend the theaters, sports, or events in the public arenas and stadiums. They would not go to the public bath houses. Nudity and nakedness in any degree were avoided. They stood out simply because they did not do the pleasure activities that were common in their societies. Mind you, they did not wear placards nor demonstrate on the sidewalk nor make any public protest; they simply withdrew themselves from attending these events. They knew how to separate themselves from worldliness.

They also refused to berate, gossip, or speak derogatorily of others. They practiced quietness, especially noticable in public. Loose, worldly talk nor jesting would not be heard in their somber interactions. They took the Word literally, that ...we must give an account for every idle word.

They were accused of being Christians, based on such evidence. Even one of the Roman rulers complained that the Christians lived such lives that "they not only feed their poor, they feed our poor also!"

The Christians were accused of not harming anyone, even their enemies. And, they never went to court to sue anyone. Christians would always suffer the wrong, with the hopes that
..."the blood of the martyrs would be the seed of the church."

Society considered Christians uncultured and even a danger to their society's values because they did not attend the common entertainment activities nor sporting events. What a tremendous witness, even though given in a form of accusation.

In this day and age, do we give enough evidence to the society around us that we are Christians... without opening our mouths? Are our values so distinctly different from the world around us that we make society uneasy... that something is drastically wrong?
If not, it's time to seek The LORD and change.

This is why The Order of the GOOD SHEPHERD+ patterns itself after the Early Church of the first 200 years. We follow CHRIST JESUS first; then we look to see the pattern lived out in the lives and writings of our Early Christian brethren.

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