Cultural Christians in the Early Church (Instructor)
Zondervan ActivEreader

Cultural Christians in the Early Church (Instructor)

This textbook considers the challenge of culture to the earliest converts to Christianity as they struggled to live on mission in the Greco-Roman cultural milieu of the Roman Empire, and argues that cultural Christians were the rule, rather than the exception, in the early church.

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Cultural Christians in the Early Church

By: Nadya Williams

Christians today tend to see the earliest followers of Jesus as zealous converts who were much more counterculturally devoted to their faith than typical churchgoers today. Cultural Christianity might seem like a modern concept, one most likely to occur in areas where Christianity is the majority culture, such as the American Bible Belt. The story that this book presents refutes both of these faulty assumptions. Aiming to be both historical and practical, Cultural Christians in the Early Church argues that in the early church cultural Christians were the rule rather than the exception. Using categories of sin as an organizing principle, classicist Nadya Williams considers the challenge of culture to the earliest converts to Christianity, as they struggled to live on mission in the Greco-Roman cultural milieu of the Roman Empire. Recognizing that cultural sins were always a part of the story of the church and its people is a message that is both a source of comfort and a call to action in our pursuit of sanctification today.

Table of Contents

    • Map of the Roman Empire
    • Introduction
    • Part 1: Cultural Christians in the New Testament Era
    • 1. More for Me, Less for Thee: The Curious Case of Sharing without Caring in the Early Church
    • 2. BBQ and Wine: When Food Leads to Sin
    • 3. (Un)Holy Bodies, (Un)Holy Minds: Resisting the Cultural Views of Sexuality
    • Part 2: Cultural Christians in the Age of Persecution
    • 4. Trouble in Bithynia: How Cultural Sins Lead to Apostasy
    • 5. Unexpected Martyrs: Women’s Challenge to Cultural Christianity in the Third-Century Church
    • 6. When Sharing and Caring Disappear: The Problem of Self-Care in the Age of Crisis
    • Part 3: Cultural Christians in the Age of Constantine and Beyond
    • 7. “Are You Washed in the Blood?”: Sectarian Violence among Cultural Christians
    • 8. The Altar and the Cross: Christian Nationalism in the Twilight of Empire
    • 9. The Siren Call of the Desert: Why Running Away from the Church Cannot Solve the Problem of Cultural Sin
    • Conclusion
    • Acknowledgments
    • Subject Index
    • Index Locorum

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About the Technology

Author & Instructor

Nadya Williams
Dr. Nadya Williams

Ph.D., Princeton University

Nadya Williams is a military historian of the Greco-Roman world and the coeditor of Civilians and Warfare in World History. She is book review editor at Current, where she also edits The Arena blog. She is a regular contributor to the Anxious Bench and has also written for Plough, Front Porch Republic, Church Life Journal, History Today Magazine, History News Network, and The Conversation.