Be Faithful Unto Death, Even in Times of Religious Liberty

History has a way of saying it like it is. The citation below is a historian’s reflection on a time of comfort for the Christians in Rome after intense persecution. The time of repose from severe Roman persecution lasted just over 40 years, from AD 260-303. The longer a church is free from times of purification the more likely it will become a frighteningly complacent, comfortable, and worldly church. May we be faithful unto death, even in times of religious liberty.

§23. Temporary Repose. A.D. 260-303.
During this long season of peace the church rose rapidly in numbers and outward prosperity. Large and even splendid houses of worship were erected in the chief cities, and provided with collections of sacred books and vessels of gold and silver for the administration of the sacraments. But in the same proportion discipline relaxed, quarrels, intrigues, and factions increased, and worldliness poured in like a flood.

Hence a new trial was a necessary and wholesome process of purification.
(Schaff, History of the Christian Church, 2:63)


4 thoughts on “Be Faithful Unto Death, Even in Times of Religious Liberty

  1. Dear Doug,
    I found your website because I was looking for other people who found parallels between Ananias, Saphira and Achan. I posted something there! Looking further on your site I am very happy about the focus of your articles.

    I am living in Turkey and we went through some kind of persecution. So I started to think more generally about the topic, and I am sure it is very important for churches in the West (I am German my wife Turkish). Here is a link to the book that I wrote about my brother in law, Necati Aydin, who was martyred in East Turkey in 2007:
    God bless you!
    Wolfgang Haede

  2. Doug,

    Do you find Schaff reliable and Christian in his perspective? I’ve heard mixed accounts and thoughts on Schaff’s History, and I would value your opinion before buying the set.

    • Justin,

      Sorry about my delayed reply. I recently came back from a sabbatical and have not given much attention to my blog (shame on me). You know, i have found Schaff to be reliable. My recommendation is to purchase Schaff. At minimum, he is worth consulting as a historian because of the scope of his work. I personally find him relatively easy and even enjoyable to read–though I’m sure many others would not share my take on this. However, I do not discern he is theologically conservative, though I can’t say this with 100% certainty. I infer this from his educational background. In any case, I would suggest having Schaff as a noteworthy work to consult on Christian history.


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