Christianity--Church History/Fire and the sword


Am I right in thinking that the ideas of the 'Prince of Peace' and 'turning the other cheek' were there before the idea of persecution? Or did they always exist side-by-side? I was surprised to see in 'Julian' by Gore Vidal the emperor-to-be is afraid the priests would burn him alive. Could you clarify the point, and perhaps let me know if there are any books on the subject?



My dearest Martin,
that is a great question!  If we consider the history of the Hebrews and their struggles, captivities, and other hardships then one is bound to think this concept was always there, that is always coexisted.  However we should also consider the many examples of their triumphs and the glorious period of the dynasties or kingdoms that spanned hundreds of years and gave us men like King David, Solomon, and others who are the ultimate role models.  Written into the law and especially the Ten Commandments is the theme of love and the idea that being wronged is actually common in the world and the child of God must accept this and "take it in stride".  Many of the Parables Jesus told were based on this belief system.  Jesus was the master of interpreting the Old testament scriptures and defining the "intent" of the law.  He summarized the commandments, wisdom books, psalms, and the law in just two commandments.  Love God with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself. Love, he taught, is the foundation of faith and the substance that proves that faith as well; was the complete fulfillment of the law and the main characteristic of those who believe.

Again, if we look at the examples that Jesus gave during his ministry the ability to love even your enemy and forgive them and the contrast He always made with the ungodly carried the powerful message of the fruits and true benefits of love.  He explained to us the depth and scope of love in Matthew Chapter 5 and throughout the New Testament. Now, did the phenomena of persecution coexist with this?

During much of the period of the Old Testament accounts we learn that the entirety of the world was at war and many kingdoms believe they were superior to the other people groups.  It was so very common for one to force their beliefs on the nation they conquered - an even to kill those who refused to "convert".  This was truly the way of warfare and the fate of the conquered the great majority of the time.  But the true concept of persecution as we know and understand it did not begin until relatively modern times; the era when Israel was no longer a nation and was perpetually subjugated by one kingdom or another. This was most prevalent during the era of Roman rule.  We are told that it always started as a distrust and escalated to hatred. In the New Testament we see that Romans saw the Jews as inferior and even labeled them as atheists.  It was the unwillingness of the Jews to conform to the Roman lifestyle and particularly to the "religion" they purported to believe.  

If we consider the many insults, physical abuses, etc. the Jews suffered at the hands of their captors / conquerors we see (with few exceptions) that they did indeed turn the other cheek - willing to suffer for their beliefs or the life they dedicated to God.  Lifestyle and religion were one thing for the Jews. It was not separated, they were the chosen among all the people of the earth so it was who they were and not what they did.  But, yes, they did turn the other cheek and from the beginning of their history recorded for us they looked forward to the "Prince of Peace" or Messiah.  It is true that some segments of the Jewish community expected a leader that would wage war against all their enemies, subdue them, and make Israel the strong powerful kingdom of the world.  These "zealots" often used violence to free their people and drive the invaders from their land.  That was a natural response and one that anyone would expect from a proud people who believed they were destined to rule because it was their divine right.  

Was there persecution alongside the thread of love that joined the entire Bible together?  Again, here, it only becomes obvious during the New Testament era. There was a big difference between oppression, enslavement, and dominance and persecution.  So, then, it is my impression that the theme of love and of forgiveness and turning the other cheek existed before the actual persecution of God's people became apparent.  Persecution is a concept and action that is clearly defined in the era just before Christ and the many centuries that followed His death.  Persecution became the hallmark of the church (of the followers of Christ) as well as of the Jews themselves.  Persecution did exist along with the new era for God's children and the overt teachings of love and turning the other cheek- who now included all people not just the Jews.  

I think some of the best sources for perspective on this are the writings of Flavious Josephus, Tactitcus (the Roman historian), and the work of Eusebius (famous church chronicler), many of the modern works in Apologetics and Bible Commentary.  I got much insight into this through reading the work of men like G K Chesterson, W H C Frend, and Miller.  I also discovered very recently that some of the Christian fiction books bear great testimony and explain many of the principles that I found difficult to understand.  I suggest visiting sites like Goodreads and becoming part of an organization like Scripture Institute where open discussions cover a broad scope of topics.  Lastly, Christian Classic Ethereal Library (CCEL) offers an abundance of free books in all subject areas.  

My dear brother I hope i have been of some help with your question.  If there is something you want clarified or just need more information please don't hesitate to ask.  This is one of the very best places to get answers to tough questions.  If I cannot answer a question or provide the answers someone is seeking, there are many folks here who can.  I just want to do my best to explain things because I too have questions that come from the heart of one seeking the truth.

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness for they shall be filled" - Jesus.

Christianity--Church History

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Dr Wesley B Ley Rose


I can answer questions on: Biblical Studies, Biblical History, Church History, Early Christian History, Sociopolitical Background in the Early Church, Biblical Archeology, Biblical Theology, and some Greek


I did my field work in Israel, Egypt, Turkey, and Jordan while on active duty in the US Air Force during the period between 1989 to 2000. I served as a Chaplain in five theaters of war and spanning well over a decade. This afforded me the opportunity to view digs, museums and Universities where i was blessed by the staff and many graduate students. I also viewed many original manuscripts, me Archeologists, Anthropologists, and benefited from the direct teachings of Rabbi's and many learned individuals. UI have personally written almost three hundred commentaries, Essays, Treatise, and Theses. I founded my own School on Early Christian History and recently began the process to offer courses in Biblical Archeology. I teach at the local community colleges, churches, and community centers. I have authored seven books and still continue research and study. I recently received my Doctorate in Early Christian History through Scripture Institute.

Biblical Archeology Society, Paralyzed veterans of America, Habitat for Humanity, Christians with Disabilities, and many more Academic organization not to mention alumnus to many Universities throughout the world including the University of Cairo, University of Tel Aviv, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, King Fadd University, plus so many in the US and the pacific rim. many I just too a few courses, and some are honorary alumni status. Schools such as Cambridge, MIT, Stanford, University of Maryland, Appalachian State University, University of New Mexico, Empires State University, Clemson University, for Christian and Jewish Studies, and almost a dozen others. I have been attending college since 1977.

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I currently Hold two Doctorates in Theology and Divinity. Additionally i hold two separate master's in Biblical History-Biblical Studies, and Early Christian Studies. I'm also enrolled in salt lake Bible College as a Master's seeking a Masters in Christianity through the First 500Yyears. I have three Associate degrees in Electronic Engineering, Teaching, and Biblical Archeology. i was a Communications Engineer and worked in that field along with my Chaplianship; I received a field ordination in Kuwait by the US ARMY, yes the US Army. It's a very long story. Essentially I served in both branches for over five years; officially on loan to the Army when needed.

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