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Mathetes – On How Christian Are Different

An early Christian apologist writes to a friend about how Christians are different. Mathetes (which means disciple) writes Diognetus about the Christians saying:

These Christians are not distinguished from other men by country, language, or common customs. They don’t have their own cities, they don’t have their own language, and they don’t lead a lifestyle which is peculiar or spectacular. They haven’t developed a new philosophy invented by very smart men; they don’t proclaim themselves to be the advocates of any merely human doctrines. But, living in Greek and barbarian cities without preference, according to their lot in life, they follow the customs of the people who live where they live in respect to clothing, food, and the rest of their ordinary conduct. But they display to us their wonderful and confessedly striking method of life.

So they live in each country, but they live there as sojourners, travellers passing through. As citizens, they do what all citizens do, and yet endure all things as if foreigners. Every foreign land is to them as their native country, and every land of their birth as a land of strangers. They marry, they beget children; but they do not destroy their offspring. They have a common table, but not a common bed. They are in the flesh, but they do not live after the flesh. They live their time on earth, but they are citizens of heaven.

They obey the written laws, and at the same time surpass the laws by their lives. They love all men, and are persecuted by all. They are insignificant and condemned; they are put to death, and restored to life.

Let’s make sure that our children see our lives as different than the world.

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