Month: April 2011

Ancient Rome – How it Affects You Today

Ancient Rome – How it Affects You Today

Ancient Rome – How it Affects You Today

Ancient Rome: How it Affects You Today by Richard J. Maybury is an easy and excellent primer on the subject of comparing Rome with modern Western civilization. Every once in a great while, a book finally makes sense of current world events. There truly IS “nothing new under the sun.” If you care about the United States of America and where it’s headed, I highly recommend you purchase a copy of this book. First, read it yourself. Next, if you’re married, read it with your spouse. Third, read it AGAIN after you’ve watched/surfed/read the news. You will see just how far reaching the fascist principles of Rome have pervaded through our world. Rome was truly the Phantom Menace, which is still alive and well today.

In our Church Offensive, we must be aware of the current battlefield situation we find ourselves in. “Rome” is not the Enemy. It’s just the context where we find ourselves today. Onward!

Gates of Hell Evangelism

Gates of Hell Evangelism

Gates of Hell Evangelism

Gates of Hell EvangelismJesus talked about the Gates of Hell as something to be assaulted. Read about its misery, as described by Dante Alighieri:

“I am the way into the city of woe.
I am the way to a forsaken people.
I am the way to eternal sorrow.

Sacred justice moved my architect.
I was raised here by divine omnipotence,
Primordial love and ultimate intelligence.

Only those elements time cannot wear
Were made before me, and beyond time I stand.
Abandon all hope ye who enter here.”

Dante’s Inferno

Caesarea Philippi stood only twenty miles or so from the religious communities of Galilee. But their religious practices were light-years apart from those of the nearby Jewish towns.

In Old Testament times, the northeastern area of Israel became a center for Baal worship. In the nearby city of Dan, Israelite king Jeroboam built the high place that angered God and eventually led the Israelites to worship false gods (1 Kings 12:29-31). Eventually, fertility worship of the Baals was replaced with worship of Greek fertility gods.

Caesarea Philippi, which stood in a lush area near the Southern foot of Mount Hermon, became the religious center for worship of the Greek god, Pan. The Greeks named the city Panias in his honor.

Years later, when Romans conquered the territory, Herod Philip rebuilt the city and named it after himself. But Caesarea Philippi continued to focus on worship of Greek gods. In the cliff that stood above the city, local people built shrines and temples to Pan.

Interestingly, Jesus chose to deliver a motivational speech to his disciples at Caesarea Philippi. In that pagan setting, he encouraged his disciples to build a church that would overcome the worst evils.

Evangelism on the frontier of the Gates of Hell is just what Jesus had in mind.  If you need to overcome fear in evangelism, see my previous post.

Let’s Storm This Place Together!

Let’s Storm This Place Together!

I am the way into the city of woe.
I am the way to a forsaken people.
I am the way to eternal sorrow.
Sacred justice moved my architect.
I was raised here by divine omnipotence,
Primordial love and ultimate intelligence.
Only those elements time cannot wear
Were made before me, and beyond time I stand.
Abandon all hope ye who enter here.
 The Gate of Hell, from The Inferno by Dante Alighieri
Matthew 16:13-20 (ESV)

Matthew 16:13-20 (ESV)

13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”20 Then he strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ.