An early Christian street meeting in ancient Rome, etc.

 

Cardston's temple is no longer alone.
The Calgary Alberta Temple (LDS Media Library)

 

It’s Friday, so a new article has appeared in Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture:

 

“Consecration Brings Forth Zion, Not Just Disaster Relief: An Examination of Scholarly and Prophetic Statements on the Law of Consecration”

 

Because of the considerable length of the article, the audio for it is taking just a bit longer to produce.  We hope that it will be finished this weekend.

 

***

 

Here are a few relevant sites — by no means an exhaustive list — relating to causes that I personally care about, recommend, and to which I have (to at least some small degree) contributed:

 

https://www.ldsphilanthropies.org

 

https://www.ldscharities.org

 

https://ourrescue.org

 

https://liahonachildren.org

 

FairMormon

 

http://www.mormoninterpreter.com (specifically http://www.mormoninterpreter.com/donations/)

 

***

 

And there’s another bit of good news that I can now announce:

 

The premiere broadcast of the Interpreter Foundation’s first venture into film-making, Robert Cundick: A Sacred Service of Music, is scheduled for 3:00 PM on Sunday, 3 September 2017, on BYUtv.

 

***

 

Finally, a short snippet from another book on which I work (literally) every couple of years:

 

The first few pages of the Recognitions of Clement, a Christian text from perhaps the first half of the third century, offer us a glimpse of a clash between Hellenized philosophical culture and a Christian witness that had not yet succumbed to the attractions of that culture.  The first-person narrator, who identifies himself as Clement of Rome, tells of his youthful anxiety about the immortality of the human soul, and his desperate search for proof of it.  A talented young man, Clement joined the philosophical schools of his native city, but was very disappointed and depressed to find no truly convincing arguments and to see that his teachers and fellow students were more interested in demonstrating their cleverness than in attaining to the truth.  So desperate did he become that he even, for a time, considered taking up spiritualism.

But then rumors began to reach Rome of a great and powerful worker of miracles in the distant land of Palestine.  And one day, while he was walking in the city, Clement ran into what can only be described as a Christian missionary “street meeting.”  A Jewish Christian named Barnabas was proclaiming the coming of Christ to the passersby.  “When I heard these things,” recalls Clement, “I began, with the rest of the multitude, to follow him, and to hear what he had to say.  Truly I perceived that there was nothing of dialectic artifice [i.e., arguments of the kind that were cultivated in the philosophical schools] in the man, but that he expounded with simplicity, and without any craft of speech, such things as he had heard from the Son of God, or had seen.  For he did not confirm his assertions by the force of arguments, but produced, from the people who stood round about him, many witnesses of the sayings and marvels which he related.”

A number of those in the crowd were impressed, and began to give credence to what Barnabas and his fellow witnesses related.  But then a group of philosophically-minded onlookers challenged Barnabas.  They  “began to laugh at the man, and to flout him, and to throw out for him the grappling-hooks of syllogisms, like strong arms.”  Why do tiny gnats have six legs and a pair of wings, while the much larger elephant has only four legs and no wings at all?  But Barnabas declined to enter into their silly objections.  “We have it in charge,” he said, “to declare to you the words and the wondrous works of Him who hath sent us, and to confirm the truth of what we speak, not by artfully devised arguments, but by witnesses produced from amongst yourselves.”

The crowd now mocked him, saying that he was a barbarian—that is, a foreigner, presumably with a funny accent—and a madman.  At this, though, Clement could remain silent no longer.  “Most righteously does Almighty God hide His will from you,” Clement cried out, “whom He foresaw to be unworthy of the knowledge of Himself, as is manifest to those who are really wise, from what you are now doing.  For when you see that preachers of the will of God have come amongst you, because their speech makes no show of knowledge of the grammatical art, but in simple and unpolished language they set before you the divine commands, so that all who hear may be able to follow and to understand the things that are spoken, you deride the ministers and messengers of your salvation, not knowing that it is the condemnation of you who think yourselves skillful and eloquent, that rustic and barbarous men have the knowledge of the truth; whereas, when it has come to you, it is not even received as a guest. . . .  Thus you are convicted of not being friends of truth and philosophers [i.e., lovers of wisdom], but followers of boasting and vain speakers.  Ye think that truth dwells not in simple, but in ingenious and subtle words, and produce countless thousands of words which are not to be rated at the worth of one word.  What, then, do ye think will become of you, all ye crowd of Greeks, if there is to be, as he says, a judgment of God?”

 

The account occurs at Recognitions of Clement I.1-9.  Hugh Nibley summarizes it in The World and the Prophets, edited by John W. Welch, Gary P. Gillum, and Don E. Norton (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book and FARMS, 1987), 34-38.  I use the translation of Thomas Smith, as featured in Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, eds., Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 8 (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1994), 77-79.

 

 

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