Christianity Turned the World Upside Down – Part I
by Ruth Smith
Acts 17:6 refers to These that have turned the world upside down . . .
As we contemplate the blessings of this Easter season we are reminded of the great price that was paid for our sin through Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. We should also be reminded of the effect that Christ and Christianity had upon the world.
“As people believed in Jesus as their Saviour, their hearts were changed. They loved a living God rather than idols. They began to love the things of God, rather than the things of the world.”1
As their lives changed, they began to love their neighbors. Others could not understand them.
Augustus Neander writes in his Memorials of a Christian Life of the astonishment of the world as they looked at these Christians. “. . . the Roman statesmen desired only a blind obedience; they knew not how to understand the enthusiasm with which the Christians would rather surrender their earthly life than do anything against their conscience. . . In this firmness of the Christians they saw nothing but blind fanaticism, criminal disobedience, men who met death and excruciating tortures with composure.”2
As Christians’ hearts were changed, they realized they could be controlled (governed) by God in their hearts. They could choose to follow the laws of God internally, rather than being controlled by man’s laws externally. This is self government.
Consider these thoughts by James Rose: “Reflect upon this: When Christ Jesus came, He gave individual, internal, spiritual liberty to every one who accepted Christ by grace through faith. The gift of individual salvation is the gift of spiritual liberty. (Eph. 2:8-9) When one is redeemed from bondage to internal sin and spiritual death, he is given spiritual liberty. The same principle of liberty is identified in the Scriptures ‘. . . the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.’ Romans 8:2 ‘And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free. . . If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.’ John 8:32, 36. Also consider Romans 6:22, II Corinthians 3:17, Galatians 5:1, James 1:25.
“Christ’s free man, throughout all ages, has desired, striven for, and often died for religious freedom. Christianity purposes to work positively to effect laws for the lawless and liberty for the righteous under the Law.
“. . . After the English Bible was printed and promulgated, did the individual enjoy more or less liberty? Surely, thoughtful men discern there was more, not less liberty for the individual. And, when the Bible was brought to America by the Pilgrims in 1620, and, then, the Puritans in 1630, did individuals enjoy more or less liberty? Indeed, liberty abounded even more than before! And, when the constitution of the United States of America was finally ratified in 1789, the local church enjoyed the greatest expression of individual liberty the world had ever witnessed!”3
1.Ruth J Smith, Liberty and Justice for All (South Bend: Bradford Press, Inc. 2003), page 36.
2. Dr. Augustus Neander, Memorials of a Christian Life in Teaching and Learning America’s Christian History (San Francisco: Foundation for American Christian Education, 1966), page 250.
3. James B. Rose, Spiritual Liberty is Causative to Religious and Civil Liberty, A Tract on America’s Christian History and Government. (Granger: Pilgrim Institute and American Christian History Institute).