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Jerome, Augustine, and the Fall of Rome: An Object Lesson for American Christians


An excellent message from Kim Riddlebarger. I encourage you to follow the link at the end of the intro… 

When an alien spaceship destroyed the White House in the 1993 science fiction film Independence Day, I’m told that pre-9/11 moviegoers were not horrified at the possibility and that some even cheered (perhaps because they were a bit cynical about the current occupant of the Oval Office). As the world’s lone superpower, we believe there is no nation on earth that would dare invade our nation and occupy our territory. While terrorists may do great damage and cause huge loss of life (as they have done), from a strategic point of view, a terrorist strike is of little consequence when it comes to challenging the military and economic might of the United States. At this point in our history, the fall of the American Republic to a foreign adversary (space aliens aside) is unthinkable. Similarly, the citizens of the Roman Empire once thought themselves invincible and therefore safe from invasion….

The purpose of this essay is to briefly consider how the Fall of Rome provoked different reactions from two prominent church fathers living at the time: St. Jerome and St. Augustine. Their response to Rome’s fall serves as an object lesson for many American Christians, who may see the health and success of the American Republic as in some way connected to the success and vitality of the kingdom of God.

See, Jerome, Augustine and the Fall of Rome

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2 comments on “Jerome, Augustine, and the Fall of Rome: An Object Lesson for American Christians

  1. I have a question for you PJ. I have a tendency to think in absolutes, of black and white, of one extreme or the other, so I have trouble in really dealing with the “grays” of our world. Sometimes I think I understand, and other times, I lose my footing, and don’t know what to think or do. (Like just now.)

    When it comes to political activity, how, really, should we Christians behave? Would it be wrong for me to ever consider a career in politics? And if I ever went into politics, how should I handle issues such as abortion and gay marriage? That is something I would like to do one day, if ever I have the opportunity to do it. (But, most likely, such dreams of mine are vain.) How should I, even as a regular citizen, handle such issues?

    I sense that all these things don’t really matter, and that it is Evangelism, and not politics, which should be our highest calling. If American Christians want a moral America, they ought to spend their millions not on Mitt Romney the Mormon for short term and ultimately meaningless political victories, but on preachers and missionaries in order to accomplish eternal ones. I think this is really the true answer, but, still, I would like to know how I ought to be conducting myself in the world’s politics, if at all.

    • Ricardo, i understand the problems which can arise, when we are followers of Jesus, with the gray areas. And when one is deeply involved in politics gray areas are going to be a constant problem. For when one is elected to an office as representing “all” people (from their area, district, etc) then the problems will arise.

      You know i post some things which concern politics or political issues, but unless they’re posted only because i found them interesting, you’ll notice many of these posts either concern theological issues as well (which concern or effect the Church) or moral issues, which absolutely affect us as Christians. What is sad to say is that it is becoming more difficult to separate politics and religion, every day. Our (American) politics has almost become a “religion” itself!

      Personally, i could never enter politics. Because going in i would know at some point (if i were to represent fairly, all people) i would have to compromise my beliefs.

      You asked how we as Christians should behave concerning political activity. Ricardo, i can honestly say i don’t know for sure. If we feel to follow Jesus as our example, and the disciples, we don’t involve ourselves at all. They didn’t. Their minds and hearts were on God’s Kingdom, not on this earthly one. But i can’t say with 100% confidence that God would not lead a believer into the field of politics either! That would be presuming to know what God’s plan is for another believer.

      I completely agree with your last paragraph,

      I sense that all these things don’t really matter, and that it is Evangelism, and not politics, which should be our highest calling. If American Christians want a moral America, they ought to spend their millions not on Mitt Romney the Mormon for short term and ultimately meaningless political victories, but on preachers and missionaries in order to accomplish eternal ones. I think this is really the true answer..

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