In this week’s episode, Wes continues his conversation on racism in the early church with Andrew, the host of the popular “Post-Apostolic Church” YouTube channel. Racism, classism, and other forms of discrimination have plagued our world for centuries. Not only is the church wrestling with these issues today, Christians in the First, Second, and Third centuries dealt with them as well. We will allow some of the theologians and leaders from the early church to help us think through how we should treat one another as followers of Jesus. If you missed Part One of this conversation, you can find it here.
One quote, from Lactantius (A.D. 310), that is shared in this episode:
“The first office of justice (peity, religousness) is to be united with God, the second (equity, fairness) with man. The former is called religion. The second is named mercy or kindness, which is familiar to the just person and to the worshippers of God, because this alone comprises the principle of common life (equality). For God, who has not given wisdom to the other animals, has made them more safe from attack in danger by natural defences. But because He made mankind naked and defenceless–in order that He might rather furnish him with wisdom–He gave him this feeling of kindness. So that man should protect, love, and cherish [his fellow] man, and both receive and give assistance against all dangers. Therefore, kindness is the greatest bond of human society. And he who has broken this is to be considered impious and a murderer of family. For if we all derive our origin from one man, whom God created, we are plainly of one blood. Therefore, it must be considered the greatest wickedness to hate a man, even though [he may be] guilty. On which account God has commanded that hostilities are never to be contracted by us, but that they are always to be removed, so that we soothe those who are our enemies, by reminding them of their relationship [with us]. Likewise, if we are all inspired and animated by one God, what else are we than brothers? Indeed, the more closely [we are] united, because we are united in soul rather than in body….On account of this relationship of brotherhood, God teaches us never to do evil, but always good. And He also instructs us in what is doing good: in giving aid to those who are oppressed and in difficulty and in bestowing food on those who are destitute. Because God is kind, He wishes us to be a social animal. Therefore, we ought to think of ourselves in the sense of other men. We do not deserve to be set free in our own dangers, if we do not set others free, and we do not deserve assistance, if we refuse to give assistance.”
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Click here for the full transcript. Special thanks to Beth Tabor for transcribing it for us.
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