Friday, February 05, 2010

How Christianity Transformed Civilization :: part 5

Civilization Transformed

“"These who have turned
the world upside down
have come here too.”

(Acts 17:6)

Everything that Jesus Christ touched,” writes Dr. Kennedy, “He utterly transformed. He touched time when He was born into this world; He had a birthday and that birthday utterly altered the way we measure time.[i][ii] Kennedy continues,

“Someone has said He has turned aside the river of ages out of its course and lifted the centuries off their hinges. Now, the whole world counts time as Before Christ (B.C.) and A.D. Unfortunately, in most cases, our generation today doesn’t even know that A.D. means Anno Domini, ‘In the year of the Lord.’”

Jesus utterly transformed everything He touched. “Not only countless individual lives,” writes Paul Maier, professor of Ancient History at Western Michigan University “but civilization itself was transformed by Jesus Christ.”[iii] Professor Maier continues,

In the ancient world, his teachings elevated brutish standards of morality, halted infanticide, enhanced human life, emancipated women, abolished slavery, inspired charities and relief organizations, created hospitals, established orphanages, and founded schools.

In medieval times, Christianity almost single-handedly kept classical culture alive through recopying manuscripts, building libraries, moderating warfare through truce days, and providing dispute arbitration. It was Christians who invented colleges and universities, dignified labor as a divine vocation, and extended the light of civilization to barbarians on the frontiers.

In the modern era, Christian teaching, properly expressed, advanced science, instilled concepts of political and social and economic freedom, fostered justice, and provided the greatest single source of inspiration for magnificent achievements in art, architecture, music, and literature that we treasure to the present day.

Jesus says in Revelations 21:5, “Behold, I make all things new.” “Behold!” This is the Greek word idou, which means to “note well,” “look closely,” and “examine carefully.” As we do so, it isn’t long before we see that it was the cause of Christ and the mission that He sent His first disciples on that has truly turned the world upside down and made things new. Some of His last words were, “Go into all the world…” And as we look at the world almost 2,000 years later, we see time and time again the imprint of Christ and His followers around the globe.

Take a few moments and brainstorm how we as individuals and as the Church can make a mark in the midst of the world we live and practically fulfill the call of Christ to “go into all the world” whether that “world” be another country or in your back yard.


God help us to not focus on how big the world is and become overwhelmed
but to focus on the one in front of us. Whether that person be our spouse,
a parent, teacher, or a stranger; help us to be led by your spirit
to ‘See a need, Fill a need’.

[i] Dionysius Exiguus, a Scythian monk, created “the Christian era” in A.D. 525. He began time with the birth of Christ at A.D. 1. He was later proven to be off by 4 years, which means that Christ was born four years Before Christ! No matter, for the coming of the Son of God into our world demarcates the history of our world. It has never been the same since.

[ii] Kennedy, What if Jesus had Never Been Born?, 1-2.

[iii] Schmidt, Under the Influence, 8.

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