Saturday, December 05, 2015

History of the Christian Church: "The Change" Podcast of the Week (11/29 - 12/5, 2015)

Lance Ralston does a good job with the History of the Christian Church ("Communio Sanctorum") podcast. He recently paused to do a four-part series on the impact of the Christian church on the world. It serves as a good answer to those who say "Christianity has led to nothing but violence and hatred."
Ralston walks through the historical documents outlining the cultural clash between Christianity and the brutal Roman world in which it was born. As Tim Keller points out in his excellent The Reason for God, the Roman world may have been more tolerant and pluralistic, but it was also more cruel-- women and children were treated with impunity, and death was something cheered by the masses. Before Christianity.

There would be no feminism if Christianity had not first elevated women. Ralston points out that Paul's commands to submit have to be understood in context, the commands for husbands to love and cherish their wives as their own bodies was foreign to Romans who could do as they pleased with their wives and property.

Romans used to abandon their unwanted babies in the hills, and it was Christians who adopted them because they were made in the image of God. Eventually, churches became the safe places to drop off unwanted children because parents knew Christians would raise them. 
While slavery is not condemned as an institution in the Bible, many slaves were "brothers" and were told they were equal in value to God as the Emperor. This, of course, had implications through the years for the development of democracy.
It was Christians who boycotted the Roman games because of their brutality and wanton killing (this has implications for those who watch football and MMA today). Constantine's abandonment of the cultural religion/tradition of the games is one evidence he had some heartfelt convictions.

You can find all 4 parts at the podcast website on iTunes. I recommend Part 3 and 4 as probably the best.

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