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Good News in America


The Roman empire was a pagan place where Christian values were little known or honored, where corruption was pervasive in business, where morality was at a historic low, where divorce was common to the point that marriage was little known. It was a dirty and a filthy place riddled with disease and epidemics. Life expectancy was less than half of what it is in the United States today. There were few families who had both parents, and few parents ever saw all of their children grow to adulthood. Modern methods of birth control were virtually unknown. Abortion was frequent. Because medical procedures were primitive, germ theory had not yet been invented, no one knew about soap, infection was common, and many of those who underwent abortions ended up being infertile or dead. However a primary method of birth control was selective infanticide. They would determine the gender of the child at birth, keep the male babies and take the female babies either down to the seashore or out to the forest and leave them to die of exposure. It caused enormous social upheaval in the Empire because there was a huge disequilibrium between the number of males and females.

Epidemics swept through the cities to the point that up to half of the population of major cities would periodically be destroyed by measles or smallpox or bubonic plague. When the cities were depopulated, the policy of the government was to move tens of thousands of people from different parts of the empire and overnight repopulate those cities, resulting in communities where there were scores of different languages were spoken and people could barely communicate.

The Roman Empire was unusual for an ancient empire in its tolerance of diverse religions. Christianity ...

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Leith Anderson is president emeritus of the National Association of Evangelicals and Baptist pastor emeritus of Wooddale Church in Eden Prairie, Minnesota.

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Sermon Outline:


I. Godly living changed society.

II. Christian influence is growing.

III. Tragedy reveals deep faith.