N. T. Wright’s After You Believe: On Service, For Discussion

Regarding service, Wright refers the description in Rodney Stark’s The Rise of Christianity: How the Obscure, Marginal, Jesus Movement Became the Dominant Religious Force …. of how Christians in Asia Minor reacted to the coming of plague in their cities —

The rich, the well-to-do, and particularly the doctors would gather up families and possessions and leave town. … But the Christians, often among the poorest, and many of them slaves, would stay and nurse people, including those who were neither Christian, nor their own family members, nor in any other way obviously connected to them. Sometimes such people got well again; not all diseases were necessarily fatal. Sometimes Christians would themselves catch the disease and die from it. But the point was made, graphically and unmistakably: this was a different way to be human.

(pp. 236; emphasis in original).

About Jay F Guin

My name is Jay Guin, and I’m a retired elder. I wrote The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace about 18 years ago. I’ve spoken at the Pepperdine, Lipscomb, ACU, Harding, and Tulsa lectureships and at ElderLink. My wife’s name is Denise, and I have four sons, Chris, Jonathan, Tyler, and Philip. I have two grandchildren. And I practice law.
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5 Responses to N. T. Wright’s After You Believe: On Service, For Discussion

  1. jamesbrett says:

    Hardships, trials, and persecution have a way of showing us exactly who are indeed the people of God. There is a weeding out of sorts. The numbers grow smaller, but the faith almost seems to get bigger.

    At the same time, though, this genuine and active faith played out in front of others is attractive. It wreaks of true life, a better way…. And often grows the numbers to beyond what they were before the trial.

    We've gotta' get us some of that persecution.

  2. Ray Downen says:

    Isn't it ALWAYS true that actions speak louder than words? If we profess to love Jesus and to love others, yet all we do is for ourselves, for our own pleasure, to look good to others, then our words are hollow.

  3. Mick Porter says:

    Stark's book is excellent, certainly quite graphic. After reading it, my perspective was changed particularly regarding the NT epistles. Picturing Roman cities as overcrowded centres of misery changed my view of the texts somewhat.

    "A different way to be human" is a great phrase, and a useful way to summarise Christianity.

  4. nick gill says:

    Compare this to David Lipscomb's account of the cholera epidemic in Nashville. He stayed behind when so many others evacuated, and was "written up" for using his buggy to transport nuns who had also chosen to serve the least and the lost, wasn't he?

  5. Jay Guin says:


    Excellent example. Thanks.

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