Skip to main content

The City of God (and its Refugees)

The European city of light and culture was attacked by violent enemies. The living fled for refuge while the bodies of the dead fell to the ground like so many of the autumnal leaves.

The decadent and godless city was traumatised, but it recuperated - they believed their city to be 'eternal'. They sang songs and held vigils. They swore it would never happen again. But it did. It was the year 410 AD when Alaric and the Goths first sacked Rome. It would not be the last time.

Strangely, many Romans were saved by fleeing like refugees into the churches. Historians struggle to explain both why the Romans fled there and why the Visigoths spared those places. Rome had pagan deities and temples, but they were debauched. Sexual immorality had free reign and expression throughout the city – sodomy, prostitution, and paedophilia were all common practice and these temples were often akin to brothels.

Churches stood as a small, alternative and counter-cultural movement that held to the new and radical ideas of there being only one true God who should be worshipped and that of sexual monogamy for one man and one woman within marriage alone.

Somehow, the Visigoths knew that the worship of Jesus Christ was different from the worship of the other gods in the city – in reverence they passed over these places in their attacks. Unfortunately, when the Visigoths had left, the Romans went back to worshipping their old gods and to practising their old sin. Many whose lives had been spared when they fled for refuge in the churches, actually went on to blame the sack of Rome on the Christians themselves.

In the aftermath, one of the shining the intellectuals of the city, Augustine of Hippo, wrote a book that survives to this day: The City of God. In it, he calls the pagans to account for their hypocrisy but he also points to a truth far greater. He lets people know that there is a city that is truly eternal – a city that will never fall and that everyone is invited to become a citizen of. Scripture says that Abraham - and ultimately all of the people of God - were, ‘looking for a city that has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.’ That’s the city all of our hearts are really homesick for – though we’ve never been.

Rome fell - and will fall again. So will New York. So will Paris. Cities are temporal, human beings last forever and will forever one day be citizens of the glorious City of God or the hopeless City of Man.

Fortunately, the City of God has a different refugee policy then our nations do. Anyone who is willing to flee the City of Man will be welcomed into the heavenly one.

What are you sticking around for?
Please Share

or check out Joshua's book on Friendship in the USA and the UK


Popular posts from this blog

Dear Pro-Gay Christian Friend

[Response to the letter Dear Non-Affirming Christian]
Dear Pro-Gay Christian Friend,

Thank you for taking the time to write me. Sadly, it seems you misunderstand why I met with you for coffee. Please let me explain my motives by defining the words in my salutation above. Would this be too terrible a way to go about it?
Let’s start with ‘friend’ shall we? You rightly question this term as an accurate description of our relationship. For now, let's simply say I mean it as an expression of goodwill. But we will return to it again at the end of the letter.
Then there's this term, 'pro-gay'. By this, I don't mean your personal sexual urges. There have historically been―and are today―countless godly leaders in the church who have deep sexual and romantic attractions to people of the same gender. In spite of their desires, they remain celibate and teach orthodox views of gender and marriage. In your letter, you repeatedly refer to me as a ‘non-affirming Christian’, but I affi…

Jezebel: Our Whorable Queen

[Extract from the bookElijah Men Eat Meat]

Ahab married Jezebel, then he proceeded to worship Baal.’ -1Kg 16
Queen Jezebel is a Baal-snogging, fake-teaching, boob-flaunting, pride-marching, man-manipulating, Yahweh-blaspheming, prophets’ blood-drinking monstrosity of a female.
And that’s being nice.
This daughter of Ethbaal, the Phoenician King, grows up surrounded by power, education, luxury, and evil. Of course, she doesn’t think of it as evil. No one sees their culture’s sins for what they are. It is like air to a child or water to a fish: it’s so much a part of us that we don’t even know it is there. She thinks her culture is the rule by which others should be measured. Yes, Israel is used to being surrounded by pagan neighbours and their debauched royalty. But now we have a problem. The problem is that this ghoulish gal now has a throne in the midst of God’s holy nation. It’s one thing for a boat to be in the sea. It’s quite another thing for the sea to be in the boat. And the nati…

Driscoll Returns, ‘Christian Today’ Melts.

Sometimes in the course of events, a peculiar thing happens that then triggers a response more peculiar still. This is what we now see with the return of Pastor Mark Driscoll to the church scene.
For those unfamiliar with the drama, Mark Driscoll was a church planter and Bible teacher who made a big impact in the least churched city in the USA: Seattle. Thousands professed faith in Christ through his ministry. But he left the church that he had started under dark circumstances. No, it wasn’t adultery as is so often the case with some of these big-name preachers. Rather, it was heavy-handed leadership―resulting in many spiritually crushed church members―that drove him to resign.
Now, three years later, he is leading a new church and many are downloading his sermons once again. This is not without some valid controversy―for reasons we’ll mention soon. But what is most noticeable is not his peculiar return. It is the reaction among those who lean left of classical Christian teaching: the …