Monday, June 6, 2011

Jerome the Ciceronian

In a letter, Jerome (347-420) recounted a vision he had in which he was revealed to be kidding himself about his true loyalties:

Suddenly I was caught up in the spirit and dragged before the judgment seat of the Judge; and here the light was so bright, and those who stood around were so radiant, that I cast myself upon the ground and did not dare to look up. Asked who and what I was I replied: "I am a Christian." But He who presided said: "You lie; you are a follower of Cicero and not of Christ. For 'where your treasure is, there will thy heart be also.'" LETTER XXII. TO EUSTOCHIUM

This is similar to the point I was making in what I posted on Friday. I was particularly reminded of it when I read this piece on Ayn Rand and Jesus by Stephen Prothero this morning. Prothero might be overly-simplistic, but he still makes a good point.

And I came across this by church historian, Mark Noll, which makes a similar point to the one I was making on Friday:
To aim at being a biblical Christian above all else means that self-identity must come from Christian faith and not American citizenship. It means that we are first Christians, and only then capitalists, socialists, or defenders of a mixed economy. It means that we will be Christians who happen to be Republican or Democrats, rather than Democrats or Republicans who happen to be Christians. The faith will loom larger than support for social security, welfare reform, farmer relief, anti-abortion legislation, or a nuclear freeze. It is unlikely that anyone can fully succeed in setting so rigorously the demands of faith before other allegiances, but it is nonetheless the place to begin.
h/t:Musings of a Hard-lining Moderate

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