Larry Hurtado: A Very Brief Summary

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In the book, Why on Earth Did Anyone Become a Christian in the First Three Centuries?, author Larry Hurtado argues that the idea of a loving God and the promise of eternal life inspired Christians to persevere through all hardships. In a time where life expectancy was low and punishments were brutal, the two points that Hurtado mentions certainly seem promising to a minority that was often unfairly penalized. Although the idea of a loving God surely inspired those to follow Him, the peaceful agenda that Christians promoted must have also played a large role in converting others to Christianity.
Including Judaism, Christianity was one of few monotheistic religions in the first millennium. Not only was Christianity unique for having a compassionate
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St. Paul’s epistles sent throughout the Roman Empire and other kingdoms often preached messages of love and other faithful insights. Violence was a common form of retaliation in the Roman Empire, but despite this, Christians did the unheard of and “turned the other cheek.” While it may have seemed foolish to some, others must have been inspired by the Christian goodness. Christianity was a crime punishable by death, and Romans seemingly found pleasure in torturing Christians as they found more elaborate ways to inflict pain on those who meant no harm. Some Christians were willing to die for their faith, and those that didn’t practiced in secret. Though it would be irrational to openly express admiration for those being killed, seeing such events must have caused bystanders to realize the erroneous way of life that some Romans seemed so fond of. Because the Christian faith was not yet backed by the Empire, Christians had to preach with intelligence and back their words through actions. The first three centuries were a difficult time for Christians, for they lived with the fear of impending death. Despite this, Christianity prevailed; however, such might not have been possible had it not have had the promise of eternal life, a loving God, and the message of love. Christianity was the antithesis of the pre-established Roman Empire,

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