Christianity 201

August 22, 2010

Early Church Snapshot

“Christians are not distinguished from the rest of humanity by country, language, or custom. For nowhere do they live in cities of their own, nor do they speak some unusual dialect, nor do they practice an eccentric lifestyle….While they live in both Greek and barbarian cities, as each one’s lot was cast, and follow the local customs in dress and food and other aspects of life, at the same time they demonstrate the remarkable and admittedly unusual character of their own citizenship.

They live in their own countries, but only as aliens; they participate in everything as citizens, and endure everything as foreigners. Every foreign country is their fatherland, and every fatherland is foreign. They marry like everyone else, and have children, but they do not expose their offspring. They share their food but not their wives. They are `in the flesh,’ but do not live `according to the flesh.’ They live on earth, but their citizenship is in heaven. They obey the established laws; indeed in their private lives they transcend the laws.

They love everyone, and by everyone they are persecuted. They are unknown, yet they are condemned; they are put to death, yet they are brought to life. They are poor, yet they make many rich; they are in need of everything, yet they abound in everything. They are dishonored, yet they are glorified in their dishonor; they are slandered, yet they are vindicated. They are cursed, yet they bless; they are insulted, yet they offer respect. When they do good, they are punished as evildoers; when they are punished, they rejoice as though brought to life….Those who hate them are unable to give a reason for their hostility.”

~From The Epistle to Diognetus, a little known piece of early Christian literature written to a high-ranking pagan, Diognetus. You can read the post where I found it at Scott Shirley’s blog, which also links you to a longer article about this document and another segment of its text.


  1. thank you for this enlightening piece of information, when I was young my girlfriends mother said to be a Christian you have to be tough and bare the cross of Jesus. before that I thought Christians were wimps. I am now 53 and I preach the gospell when ever the Holy Sprirt speaks through me and I live in a town of Mormons and am persecuted for my Christian belifes… Yes to be a Christian you need the Lord to present in your life and bear the fruit of the Spirit. Much fruit has been evident in my life since that day my girl friends mother tuffened me up and spoke the Truth. Shortly after that I joined the Highway Missionary Society so many years ago it has not been easy I have been locked up in instutions and jailed and I always come to the Lord Jesus for comfort and to ease my pain.

    Comment by mark t. lundberg — August 25, 2010 @ 2:28 pm | Reply

  2. […] August 22, 2010 – Early Church Snapshot […]

    Pingback by First Century Church Growth « Christianity 201 — September 28, 2012 @ 5:21 pm | Reply

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