Justin Martyr quote

Ken Curtis, PhD

Justin Martyr quote

Justin is generally recognized as the first great philosopher of early Christianity, showing how the Gospel could stand up to the philosophical heritage of the Greek world and sustain a sound scholarly basis for its claim to truth. He was schooled in Greek philosophy but one day while walking the seaside Justin was brought to faith in Christ through the witness of an old man. Justin reported that "straitway a flame was kindled in my soul . . . I found this philosophy alone (Christian faith) to be safe and profitable." But this early philosopher was no ivory tower academic. The quote at the top of the column is from his "First Apology" and was addressed to none other than the Emperor himself, the one presumed to be the most powerful man in the world.

Justin demonstrates the remarkable courage of the early Christians who promised the emperor that they would pray for him, gladly pay their taxes, and exceed the normal expectations of citizenship. But they would not compromise their faith. And here the emperor and the tyranny of government threats were powerless against the believers. All that the state could do was kill the body, but for Christians that was not the end of existence, for they knew the Lord would be with them and they would rise again. Justin goes further and warns the emperor that he too will face the judge of all the world one day. Justin proved faithful to his own audacious claims as he died for the faith. He was beheaded in 165 AD.

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