Yesterday Matt Lauer interviewed Nancy Writebol in front of a banner that read SIM. It was so third century.
In The Rise of Christianity, Rodney Stark argues the Christian faith exploded in part because early Christians sacrificially helped their neighbors in times of crisis. Pagan religion had no answer for the deadly plague that struck North Africa. Even their priests fled from the contaminated cities. But average Christians risked their lives to nurse and comfort the sick, and the pagans noticed. Stark estimates that by the middle of the fourth century, more than half of the Roman Empire had converted to Christianity (p. 6-10, 73-94).
Then, as now, the dominant culture thinks our Christian beliefs are a threat to society. But they have no answer for the missionaries who caught Ebola while serving those who had the disease. So they put them on TV, in front of the banner that advertises their mission agency.
Let us thank God for Nancy Writebol and Kent Brantly and pray for the recovery of Rick Sacra. They are heroes who of the faith who are making “the teaching about God our Savior attractive” (Titus 2:10).