Tuesday, August 11, 2020

So who reigns?

Other terms that we today traditionally associate with Christianity were also popular as part of imperial propaganda. In the broader Greco-Roman world, the word euangelion, “gospel,” could mean good news of military victory or of the emperor’s birth or reign. The term kyrios, “lord,” along with sōtēr, “savior,” was a favored term used by the emperor. In fact if one had ceased to be a Christian and wanted to prove that to the Roman authorities, then one could offer a sacrifice in the presence of a statue of the emperor while saying “Caesar is Lord,” which was understood in such contexts as incompatible with the sworn confession “Jesus is Lord.” We have a detailed description of this process in the letter of Pliny to the emperor Trajan, written around AD 112. Pliny certainly understood that allegiance to Jesus as a sovereign was more fundamental to Christianity than anything else, even if it is not readily recognized today.—Matthew Bates in Salvation by Allegiance Alone, 88

<idle musing>
Indeed! We see all too much evidence of that everyday here in the US, with christianity being equated with nationalism. The early church wouldn't understand any of our culture war mentality. They knew Jesus was Lord and that he reigned. And because of that, they were not manipulated by fear, the weapon of choice today against christians.
</idle musing>

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