I took the liberty to photocopy something to read to you. It’s a letter from Pliney the Younger to the Emperor Trajan. Pastor Melissa Scott tells us that if you’ll indulge me for a minute because there are many people, some newer people and even those old-timers, I’m not sure that you’ve ever heard anything like this. This is an actual copy put into English for the reading. “I have made it a rule, Lord,” this is Pliney writing to the emperor and he calls him ‘Lord,’ the equivalent of what we would use to refer to God they called the Roman emperors ‘Lord.’ “To refer everything to you about which I’m in doubt, for who could better provide direction for my hesitations or instruction for my lack of knowledge?

I’ve never been present at the interrogation of Christians, therefore I do not know how far such an investigation should be pushed or what sort of punishments are appropriate. I’ve also been uncertain as to whether age makes any difference or whether the very young are dealt with in the same way as adults. Whether repentance.” Now listen closely. This is not a Christian writer and you can feel where this word slipped into our Christian realm in translation because this is a non-Christian using this word ‘repentance.’ “Whether repentance and renunciation of Christianity is sufficient, or whether the accused are still considered criminals because they were once Christians, even if they later renounced it.

And whether persons who are to be punished simply for the name of Christian, even if no criminal act has been committed or whether only crimes associated with the name are to be punished. In the meantime, I’ve handled those who have been, who have denounced their Christianity as follows: I asked them whether they were Christians. Those who responded affirmatively, I’ve asked them second and third time under the threat of the death penalty. If they persisted, if they persisted in their confession I had them executed.” Nice.

“For whatever it is that they are actually advocating, it seems to me that the stubbornness must be punished in any case. Others who labor under the same delusion but who are Roman citizens I have designated to be sent to Rome.” This is indeed why Paul ended up in Rome but not under the same course. “In the course of the investigations as it usually happens charges are brought against a wider circle of people and the following special cases have emerged. An unsigned placard was posted accusing a large number of people by name.

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