Read this on Justin Taylor's blog today and just loved this description from an unknown author of early Christians. What a joy to read but sad as well for I had to ask if a non-christian historian of our day could say the same thing of us.
Read the whole article below and thanks to Justin for posting this:
From the unknown author of The Epistle to Diognetus, Chapter
5, written perhaps between 117 and 225 AD, capturing the paradoxical nature of
Christian identity and practice:
For 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 way of life.
This teaching of theirs has
not been discovered by the thought and reflection of ingenious people, nor do
they promote any human doctrine, as some do.
But 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
They live in their own
countries, but only as nonresidents; 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 [to kill them].
They share their food but
not their wives.
They are in the flesh, but
they 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
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
the Jews they are assaulted as foreigners, and by the Greeks they are
persecuted, yet those who hate them are unable to give a reason for their