Early Christian Writings Condensed

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Justin Martyr's Second Apology

Post by Paidion » Thu Jul 01, 2021 8:22 pm

Justin Martyr (A.D. 110-165)


To the Roman Senate: I, Justin, am compelled to write to you in response to the persecution of Christians.

Let me start with a story (it’s a true story). Once upon a time there was a very wicked married couple. One day, the wife became a Christian. She wanted to separate, but was persuaded to remain in the marriage in hopes that her husband might be led to faith in Christ as well. But his revelries only increased and she did, in fact, file for divorce. His revenge was to accuse her (officially) of being a Christian. But the husband didn’t stop there. He went after her discipler (a man named Ptolemaeus) and officially accused him of being a Christian as well (a point that he, of course, refused to deny). Upon seeing that Ptolemaeus was found guilty simply for being a Christian, another man (named Lucius) made his objections to this unjust condemnation known to the Emperor. In response, the Emperor asked if he, too, was a Christian (which he was and did not deny). Lucius was also sent to death. WHEN WILL IT END? Why is merely confessing oneself to be a Christian an act worthy of death? I’m sure my time, too, is short (it only takes one enemy to be officially accused!). I’ll likely be accused by someone who knows next to nothing about what it is I actually believe.

Some of you, in fact, don’t understand why we Christians don’t simply commit suicide. If we’re willing to die for our faith because we know we’ll pass on to God, then why not just speed that process up by killing ourselves? There are 2 reasons why: First, we believe that we have a purpose in the world. We live for others… to help them discover the truth. Second, we believe that to take our own lives would be to disobey the will of God. When we are accused, however, we will not deny our faith and we will suffer the consequences.

Some of you insist that if God really were on our side, we would be protected from persecution. This insistence assumes that God is in absolute control of all that comes to pass. In reality, God has delegated much authority to both angels and humans… both of which sometimes make terrible decisions. Fallen angels, in fact, have led the world astray (creating the very kind of world where persecutions take place) and are responsible for the existence of these (false) gods.

All such gods have names. That should be a give-away that they’re not really gods. For any god with a name, was named by someone preceding them. In Christianity, God does not have a name. Terms like Father, God, Creator, Lord, Master (Etc.), are not names, but titles. This is also true of the Son (the Word, the Christ, etc.), who only has a name (Jesus) in regards to His role as human and Savior. He was conceived (and given a name) for our sake (and to be the destroyer of the gods, which are actually demons). And His name, and His name alone, still exorcises these demons that your best exorcists, doctors, and drugs can’t even touch.

Ironically, the only reason God doesn’t put an end to all evil (like the persecution of His people) immediately, is because God desires to use His persecuted people to save their persecutors. For as long as the earth endures, there is hope for wicked men (since they have free will). There is no pre-determined fate. We choose between vice and virtue. The best of your philosophers agree on this point. It is no surprise that many of them were persecuted too (since demons rage against the truth). And it is no wonder that we are persecuted even more, since we have even more of the truth.

Some say that we use fear (of punishment) to force others into the way of Christ. It is true that we speak of judgment. The truth of a coming judgment flows from the reality of a good God. Wouldn’t a good God care how people live? Wouldn’t a good God provide people with laws? And must there not be consequences to breaking these laws? Our whole society is founded on these principles.

And anyone who argues that truth is relative is absolutely wrong. Lies have been promoted, by demons, as competing truth claims… but that doesn’t make them true. Truth is not relative, but it is sometimes partial. Socrates possessed the truth in part (and was persecuted for it), but no one was willing to die for his doctrines. We die for Christ because, in Him, the fullness of truth has come. We die because we’d rather choose the truth… virtue… which has ever-lasting rewards than falsity dressed up as the truth… vice… which has ever-lasting punishment.

Even before I became a Christian, I could tell that the rumors against the Christians were simply slander. They were accused of loose sexual ethics, cannibalism, and the like… but why would such people show no fear of death (where opportunity for such things is removed)? The more I looked into the matter, the more I became convinced of the truth of Christianity. In becoming a Christian, I did not have to forsake all that I had previously believed (for there were kernels of truth in many such teachings). But all truth is God’s truth. Seeds of the truth give way to The Truth (Jesus).

So I request that you publish this little book. Let the conversation on these matters be public. Let’s discuss the ‘justice’ of putting our people to death simply for being Christians. Let’s not make decisions in the darkness of ignorance. When we make such judgments, we subject ourselves to the One True Judge.

I wrote this treatise for the good of all. We’re not ashamed of our beliefs. They stand up to sober scrutiny. Indeed, they are of surpassing worth to all other worldviews (most of which have un-persecuted adherents).

I have made my case and shall now be silent. My only role now is to pray for all… including you.

Man judges a person by his past deeds, and administers penalties for his wrongdoing. God judges a person by his present character, and disciplines him that he may become righteous.

Avatar shows me at 75 years old. I am now 83.

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