Old Paths: Justin Martyr

Our new teaching series starts this week. It is called ‘Old paths’ and we will be tracing the course of church history through the lives of those who have gone before us.
“Though their culture and language seem alien to us, the same call of Jesus echoes in their ears, and the same spirit works in their hearts”
The first is Justin Martyr, who lived from around 100AD to 165AD and wrote bravely in defence of Christians and their faith in a time when such belief was brutally oppressed. For further reading his surviving documents are all available online. The excellent ‘To the Emperor Titus Aelius Adrianus Antoninus Pius Augustus Caesar’, his second apology To the Roman Senate and the Dialogue with Trypho. There is an excellent wikipedia article on Justin too.

4 thoughts on “Old Paths: Justin Martyr

  1. Good observation Vicky, I don’t know if you feel the same, but it has seemed to me that all of the figures we have studied seem very familiar. Not that different from us at all.

  2. Missed the sermon but really interesting to read Justin’s writings. Just skimmed through his letter to the Emperor in defence of Christianity. Struck by two things.

    Firstly, that he was willing to stand up and be counted for his faith – and to defend his faith and argue for Christ to the highest powers in the land. He does so in a very clear way. It’s not antagonistic but it’s not apologetic either. He points to the lives of Christians as evidence that they are not ‘enemies’ of the country but in fact are allies because of the way they live and conduct themselves. Thought that was interesting. Wondered if that is how Christians are perceived now by decision-makers. Made me thankful to God for Christians who are acting behind the scenes to continue to defend our religious freedom and to draw attention to the contribution Christians make to our country. Justin was passionately convinced that Christians are a force for good.

    Also – was curious to find out how Christians living within a hundred or so years of Christ conducted their worship to see if there was anything to learn from that (he describes that at the end of his letter to the Emperor)and whether it had changed much since the church in Acts and compared to us now. Well, wait for it, they met on Sundays, listened to readings from scripture (for as long as time allowed!) and then the leader spoke to them and encouraged them to follow the example from scripture. They prayed together and gave thanks to God and then shared bread and wine together. They gave money if they could and the leader would make sure that those who were in need or any visitors among them were provided for. No mention of singing here (!) but other than that, pretty amazing to think that the basic format has carried on over the last 1900 years or so, pretty much unchanged.

  3. A number of people asked if I could blog the words I read on Sunday, so here they are:

    Come, my Way, my Truth, my Life:
    Such a Way, as gives us breath:
    Such a Truth, as ends all strife:
    And such a Life, as killeth death.

    Come, my Light, my Feast, my Strength:
    Such a Light, as shows a Feast:
    Such a Feast, as mends in length:
    Such a Strength, as makes his guest.

    Come, my Joy, my Love, my Heart:
    Such a Joy, as none can move:
    Such a Love, as none can part:
    Such a Heart, as joys in Love.

    George Herbert (1633)

    I got it from a C of E book called Time to Pray, which I’ve found very helpful as a daily prayer guide.


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