Paganized Ecclesiasticism, The Chief Antagonist Of The Modern Missionary -- By: Joseph

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 011:44 (Oct 1854)
Article: Paganized Ecclesiasticism, The Chief Antagonist Of The Modern Missionary
Author: Joseph

Paganized Ecclesiasticism, The Chief Antagonist Of The Modern Missionary1

Rev. Joseph

That a school of theology should also be a school of missions, accords alike with the philosophy and the history of Christianity. If, as a late writer2 on the History of the Apostolic Church suggests, we are yet in the Pauline age, intermediate between the age of ceremonial order and the age of sympathetic fusion, then do we but imitate our great Apostolic type in blending the missionary spirit with the polemical. The greatest of theologians was also the first and the greatest of missionaries.

In studying Christianity under its missionary aspect, our thoughts at once revert to Antioch, the historic centre of Christian missions. That luxurious capital of the Macedonian kingdom of Syria — then the seat of the Roman government in the East, and the third city of the empire, rivalling Alexandria in wealth and population, and vieing with Rome itself in the magnificence of its festivals — was the first city of the Gentiles in which Christianity gained a footing, and gathered a church without the pale of the synagogue. The converts of the Pentecost, scattered from Jerusalem by the persecution that arose about Stephen, travelled northward along the sea-coast of Phoenicia, visited the adjacent island of Cyprus, and found a refuge in Antioch, three hundred miles distant from the Jewish capital, where, under the immunities granted to the Jews by the Seleu-cidae and confirmed by the Caesars, this new sect of Judaism, as it was regarded, might grow without molestation. Here, in the old exclusive spirit of the circumcision, they “preached the word to none but to the Jews only” until certain Hellenists from Cyprus and the northern coast of Africa, not sharing in the exclusiveness of the Palestinian Jews, “spake openly to the Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus.”

The marvellous report of this first open movement without the synagogue, hastened to Antioch Barnabas from Jerusalem, and Paul from Tarsus; who labored together at Antioch for a whole year. So numerous were the converts to the Gospel, that, even in a population of two hundred thousand, they became conspicuous as a distinct and self-existent community; and they whom the Jews had stigmatized as “Galileans” and “Nazarenes,” and who were known to each other as “the disciples” “the brethren,” and “the saints,” were there for the first time called “Christians,” by the contemptuous Greeks. And now the genius of Christianity for sympathy and diffusion began to be developed. Contributions for the relief of ...

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