How Should We then Live? The Roman Age notes by Gloria Cortes

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How Should We Then Live – Episode 1 – The Roman Age | Francis Schaeffer,…

How Should We then Live?
By Dr. Francis
A.
Schaeffer
Video 1
: The Roman Age
1.What people believe determines how they act.
2.Roman civilization is direct ancestor to the modern European world.
2.1.Roman law and political ideas have influenced the whole western civilization
.
2.2.Roman Empire was great in size and military strength.
2.3.Roman treasures in art and architecture(opulence).
3.Rome didn’t have real answers to the problems humanity faces: without the knowledge of right and wrong,
military strength is not sufficient.
3.1.Rome tried to build a society on the opinions of certain citizens(elite), then emperors, then gods
(i.e.Diana of Ephesus). But they, including their gods were finite. They amplified humanity, not divinity.
3.2.They had no value system strong enough to overcome the strains of live, either individual or political.
They couldn’t decide on life, morals, values, or final decisions.
3.3.When society tumbled, their gods tumbled with them. The senate couldn’t keep order; armed gangs
terrorized the city, self-interest took the place of social interest.
4.Authoritarian government centered on Caesar Augustus (Octavian)was born.
4.1.Caesar appointed as “Pontifex Maximus.”
It was mandatory to worship Caesar
.
4.2.A human-god failed
.
5.Christians were marked into their faith by baptism; marked for death.
5.1.Rome was cruel: Christians were thrown to the beast.
5.2.Christians were killed because they were “rebellious.”
5.2.1.They didn’t worship the emperor.
5.2.2.They worshiped Jesus (one God only). Caesar counted it as treason.
5.3.Early church believed:
5.3.1.Jesus Christ was the Messiah
.
5.3.2.Jesus Christ performed a substitutionary sacrifice on the Cross.
5.3.3.Old Testament and New Testament were God’s spoken word. No longer believed in the relativistic
world of Rome.
6.A weak base of a culture or an individual can only stand when the pressures are not too great (bridge
example).
If the foundation is weak,itwill crumble. Culture and the freedoms of men are fragile. If there’s
not a strong base for it,time will bring it to a collapse.
7.Syncretism:the combining of different (often contradictory) beliefs
.
7.1.Christians rejected it (no mixture of true faith and paganism).
7.2.Christians had a universal standard by which to judge personal morals and the state. They were counted
the enemies of totalitarian Rome.
7.3.Christians were martyred.
7.3.1.They had the answer which Romans didn’t have.
7.3.2They continued to grow in numbers while Roman society collapsed.
7.4.Romans,in their decadence,increased in violence and gratification of theirs senses (immorality); blatant
and rampant sexuality.
7.4.1.Rome collapsed not from external forces but from internal weaknesses.
7.4.2 Constantine ended Christian persecution.
7.4.3.Christianity became a legal religion in 313 AD
.
7.4.4.Christianity became the official state religion of the Roman Empire in 381 AD
.
7.4.5 Apathy became the chief mark of the period:
Less people were inclined to work because they were used to the
indulgence of their senses.
8.Conclusion:
8.1.Nothing humanistic provides a strong base for society and individual life.
8.2.The Greeks and the Romans tried to build on
society (those they chose; elitist) and failed. Then, on finite
gods; not the infinite, personal God.
8.3.There’s no foundation strong enough for society within the realm of finiteness and beginning from man alone
as autonomous.
8.4.Christians were able to resist syncretism because they began the opposite place; the existence of an

infinite personal God who spoke through the Bible.

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