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Strange Religion: How the First Christians Were Weird, Dangerous, and Compelling

Publisher:
, 2024
ISBN: 9781493444922
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$18.99

Overview

The first Christians were weird. Within Roman society, they stood out for the oddness of their beliefs and practices. A New Testament teacher traces the emerging Christian faith against its Roman context to offer today’s believers encouragement and hope.

The first Christians were weird. Just how weird is often lost on today’s believers.

Within Roman society, the earliest Christians stood out for the oddness of their beliefs and practices. They believed unusual things, worshiped God in strange ways, and lived a unique lifestyle. They practiced a whole new way of thinking about and doing religion that would have been seen as bizarre and dangerous when compared to Roman religion and most other religions of the ancient world.

Award-winning author, blogger, speaker, and New Testament teacher Nijay Gupta traces the emerging Christian faith in its Roman context in this accessible and engaging book. Christianity would have been seen as radical in the Roman world, but some found this new religion attractive and compelling. The first Christians dared to be different, pushed the boundaries of what was acceptable, transformed how people thought about religion, and started a movement that grew like wildfire.

Brought to life with numerous images, this book shows how the example of the earliest Christians can offer today’s believers encouragement and hope.

This is a Logos Reader Edition. Learn more.

  • Shows how the example of the earliest Christians can offer today’s believers encouragement and hope
  • Traces the emerging Christian faith in its Roman context

    Part 1: Introduction

  • 1. Roman Religion and the Pax Deorum: Keeping Peace with the Gods
  • 2. “Believers”: The First Christians and the Transformation of Religion
  • 3. A Dangerous and Strange Religion: Christianity as a Superstition
  • Part 2: What the First Christians Believed

  • 4. What the First Christians Believed
  • 5. Cult without Smoke and Blood: Strange Worship
  • 6. Possessed by the Spirit of God
  • 7. Beginning at the End of All Things: A Strange Reckoning of Time
  • Part 3: How the First Christians Worshiped

  • 8. A Household of Faith: The Family Practices of the Early Christians
  • 9. A Priest-God and a Priestly People: Church as a Liturgical Community
  • Part 4: How the First Christians Lived

  • 10. Dangerous Contact: Becoming God-Like
  • 11. To Treat All as Equal
  • 12. The Christians Were Not Perfect
  • Putting It All Together
  • Title: Strange Religion: How the First Christians Were Weird, Dangerous, and Compelling
  • Author: Nijay K. Gupta
  • Publisher: Baker
  • Print Publication Date: 2024
  • Logos Release Date: 2024
  • Pages: 216
  • Language: English
  • Resources: 1
  • Format: Digital › Logos Reader Edition
  • Subjects: Church history—Primitive and early church, ca. 30–600; Christian sociology—History—Early church, ca. 30–600
  • ISBNs: 9781493444922, 9781587435171, 9781493444939, 1493444921, 1587435179, 149344493X
  • Resource ID: LLS:STRNGRLGCMPLLNG
  • Resource Type: Monograph
  • Metadata Last Updated: 2024-02-27T19:35:55Z

Nijay K. Gupta (PhD, University of Durham) is Associate Professor of New Testament at Portland Seminary, George Fox University, Oregon, and author of Worship that Makes Sense to Paul: A New Approach to the Theology and Ethics of Paul’s Cultic Metaphors (BZNW 175; Berlin: de Gruyter, 2010), Colossians (Smyth & Helwys Biblical Commentary; Macon: Helwys, 2013), and 1-2 Thessalonians (New Covenant Commentary Series; Eugene: Wipf & Stock, 2016). He is co-editor of The State of New Testament Studies (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2019), and co-editor of a planned second edition of the Dictionary of Paul and His Letters (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press).

Reviews

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  1. John Koeshall

    John Koeshall

    2/28/2024

    All too often as readers we assume that biblical world essentially works the way our world works, just without smartphones, airplanes, and jeans. Scholar Jerry Hwang in a Onscript Podcast (April 18, 2023) makes the claim, that of all our present world cultures, the Japanese culture today is most similar to the 1st Century Mediterranean culture of Paul's day. i.e. most of us have no idea of the deep undercurrents flowing in the subtext of the New Testament. This is where this book comes in. Nijay Gupta does a brilliant job elucidating how radically different the Roman world was compared to our (Western and Christianized) world, and simultaneously how how dangerously different the Christian communities were living and worshipping within their Roman context. In turn the book challenges todays Christian community to in turn live boldly different in (at least my context) the radical individualist context in which we live. For example, even as the first Christians were challenged to live out a new sort of family loyalty towards one another (despite the disapprobation of their biological families), even now the radical individualists are called to lay give generously of their personal freedom to form covenant community that nurtures the individuals and proclaims to the world the Father who calls individuals to become family. In the end, Nijay cautions that even the earliest Christians were not perfect and that the New Testament itself may reflect some of this (the New Testament is made up of occasional letters written to certain people facing certain challenges… it is up to us with the guidance of the Holy Spirit to continue working out the Gospel's message in our present circumstances today). I highly recommend this thought-provoking and accessibly written book.

$18.99