7:11 PMKevin Rossen – Chris Powell is doing a review of last week’s class. I was out of town, so this is good info for me.
7:13 PMKevin Rossen – Four teachers of the church: Irenaeus of Lyons – The Pastors (130 AD); Clement of Alexandria – The Intellectual (215 AD); Tertullian – The Lawyer (202 AD); and Origen of Alexandria – The Scholar.
7:15 PMKevin Rossen – Chris just said “I’m a good Republican who hates trees, so I printed off a bunch of stuff.” Funny stuff.
7:17 PMKevin Rossen – Rome’s official stance was not to seek out Christians to persecute, but they allowed it to happen if Christians were found.
7:18 PMKevin Rossen – Anyone who gets power by force knows they gotta do something to keep that power.
7:21 PMKevin Rossen – In 202 AD, Septimius Severus didn’t really care if people had a particular religion, but he wanted them to also worship the Sol invictus too. Christians and Jews caused problems along with this, since they wouldn’t conform to his wishes.
7:22 PMKevin Rossen – Severus was the first emperor who was vocally against Christians because they wouldn’t bow to his wishes.
7:25 PMKevin Rossen – Severus went after the primary teachers of the church to bring them down, but his main goal was to make people afraid to convert to Christianity. He thought that by scaring them away from faith in Christ that Christianity would die within a generation.
7:26 PMKevin Rossen – Romans invented lawyers and the justice system has never moved swiftly since.
7:30 PMKevin Rossen – After Severus died in 211 AD the church enjoyed an almost 50 year period of peace.
7:31 PMKevin Rossen – It’s estimated that 2/3 of the world’s population at 200 AD lived in the Roman Empire.
7:34 PMKevin Rossen – Decius became emperor in 249 AD at about the time when wheat crops were failing. He thought that the biggest problem Rome had was that they had ignored their heritage that made it strong. Most importantly, they were not devoted to their true gods.
7:35 PMKevin Rossen – Decius didn’t want to fuel devotion to Christ by killing Christians to make them martyrs. He instead thought that it would be more effective to torture them.
7:37 PMKevin Rossen – Chris is going to make a recipe tonight that needs 10 blocks of cream cheese. Sounds tasty.
7:41 PMkevin –
7:42 PMKevin Rossen – When someone is holding a sword to you it makes you start to consider your commitments in a way you never have before.
7:45 PMKevin Rossen – There was a group of Christians (kind of like high C’s today) that thought that the way that they could get the certificate from Decius to avoid persecution without actually worshiping the Roman gods by bribing someone for one.
7:45 PMKevin Rossen – There were a group of Christian who did not shrink away from persecution at all. Their attitude was “you took one arm, but I’ve got a another good one. Go ahead and chop it off. I’ll never forsake Christ.”
7:46 PMKevin Rossen – After Decius dies around the late 250’s the church enjoyed another period of peace for about forty years.
7:47 PMKevin Rossen – The Christians that stayed true to Christ in the face of persecution were called Confessors. They were easy to identify because of the missing limbs.
7:48 PMKevin Rossen – After the persecution ends, the church had to pick up the pieces. What should be done with the Christians who “lapsed” in faith?
7:51 PMKevin Rossen – The leaders had to figure out what to do when people who remained faithful and lost body parts, people who bought certificates from the black market, and those who abandoned the church all showed up to worship together.
7:54 PMKevin Rossen – Some people thought that those who lost a leg (confessors) deserved to be listened to more than the existing preachers.Some bishops fled to the desert to escape persecution. This created a power struggle and created the threat of a church split.
7:56 PMKevin Rossen – Bishops pulled rank by saying that Confessors didn’t have any real authority because they were just named but were not a recognized leader in an official capacity of the church.
7:59 PMKevin Rossen – Cyprian called for a synod of the bishops in North Africa to address the issue of the church split.
7:59 PMKevin Rossen –
8:02 PMKevin Rossen – Cyprian said that those who bought false certificates but never worshiped the false gods could be readmitted to the church immediately, but those who worshiped false gods would only be readmitted to the church on their deathbeds or if a future persecution led to martyrdom.
8:02 PMKevin Rossen – There was a huge shift in policy change because the bishops were starting to decide who was in and who was out.
8:03 PMKevin Rossen – Confessors were thought of as in good standing as long as they submitted to the authority of the bishops.
8:04 PMKevin Rossen – The bishops probably weren’t really power-hungry. They were just responding to real world issues.
8:06 PMKevin Rossen – When Rome fell apart, 2/3 of the world still needed to eat. This caused the power of the bishops to rise.
8:07 PMKevin Rossen – The Muslim expansion in the 7th century caused there to only be two bishops remaining in power.
8:10 PMKevin Rossen – Questions to consider: 1) How would your faith stand up if there was a sudden outbreak of persecution? 2) Do you believe there are different degrees of sin? 3) Does the church have the authority to decide who is in good standing? What is the role of repentance in restoring someone to the church? 4) Which is more important in restoring repentant Christians: mercy toward the individual or purity for the congregation?
8:17 PMKevin Rossen – “We use the sword of the Spirit as a chainsaw on our brothers” – Said to a room full Bible College students.