High standards of personal righteousness and of

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High standards of personal righteousness and of service Big contrast to many Mediterranean religions 5. Church’s answers to big questionsPreaching resurrection from dead and Christ’s return gave people hope, in a time when life was short and death was often brutal Large factor in its spread is its appealPersonal God who’s involved Christian love lived out in serviceThe Church itselfoNo social divisions, emphasis on fellowshipoOrganized leadership and care for members oWomen welcomeoGospel message, worship Christian identity and changed lifeChurch’s hopeful teaching on big issues of life and death Persecution and the Early Church Start for study guideoChristians start to attract negative attention from RomeoPersecution and martyrdom become a reality for the church because it varies widely, depends on ruler and on location, but danger always present 10
oTheology of Martyrdom:1. All Christians to be witnesses for Christ “martyr” comes from Greek word for “witness” ultimate witness is one who dies for the faith 2. Biblical ExamplesPaul’s imprisonment and expected execution 3. Teachings of Christ4. Example of Christ ultimate witnessdies in obedience to fathers will demonstrates that death not the end oEarly Christians honored their faithful dead, would gather at their tombs on anniversary of death, and practice gave rise to saints’ daysoSt. Agnes: martyred in 304 at age of 13, her emblem is a lamb and she was persecuted because she didn’t want to marry someone oEmperor Nero (54-68): first official persecution of Christians as Christians in 64 AD; major fire in Rome; it burns for a full week, two areas with little damage had many Jewish and Christian inhabitants, and destroyed 10 of 14 districts of Rome People think he set the fire because he wanted to destroy some of the land for hisgardenChristians were tried on arson but soon just being a Christian is enough to warranta criminal charge oEmperor Domitian (81-96):wants to restore roman traditions and worship of Roman gods, both jews and Christians are obstacles, so both groups were persecuted oEmperor Trajan (98-117): Trajan’s advice and decision on legal dilemma facing PlinyoIgnatius, Bishop of Antioch: martyred in 107 during Trajan’s rule; condemned by imperial court in Antioch; writes 7 letters on way to Rome and these letters deal with:identity of Christ, church structure and authority, Ignatius’ personal zeal regarding his approaching death, and his request that he not be rescued 11
oMarcus Aurelius(161-180): philosopher and ruler with stoic ideals; very good emperor and supported Roman traditions and gods, so many martyrdom accounts from this period oSeptimius Severus (193-211): empire getting harder to maintain, promoted empire-wide religious unity through worshiping of Sol Invictus, meaning Unconquered SunAll religions and philosophies must be incorporated into this sun-worship

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