Justin Martyr
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Justin Martyr
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Stained Glass

Marcus DodsWe catch sight of a house church in the Justin Martyr interview (100-165 AD) by a magistrate (sometimes called a Judge.) Justin Martyr was an early Christian apologist, born in Samaria who moved to Rome. This interview was part of a translation by Marcus Dods (1834-1909) who was a Scottish divine and eminent Biblical scholar on the "Anti-Nicene Fathers."

Worship Anywhere

Justin MartyrThe interview went like this. Judge: 'Where do you have your meetings?'
Justin: 'Wherever we can. Our God fills heaven and earth, and is worshipped everywhere.'
Judge: 'Tell me where.'
Justin: 'I live upstairs in the house of Martin, close to the Timiotinian Bath. And if any one wished to come to me there, I passed on to him the true doctrine.'

Street Converse

Stained Glass Martyr NicholasThis court document revealed to us that Justin Martyr could talk to people in the street, and tell those who were interested to come to Martin's house to learn more. The house as meeting place afforded some privacy, a degree of intimacy, and stability.

Potential for Factions

Saint PaulHowever, it also created the potential for the emergence of factions within the Christian body in a city. It may well have been the case that the factions addressed by Saint Paul in 1 Corinthians 1-4 were based on different views in different households. The household context also set the stage for some conflicts in the allocation of power and in the understanding of roles in the community. The head of the household, by normal expectations of the society, would exercise some authority over the group and would have some legal responsibility for it. See also Justin Martyr Worship.

"Justin Martyr"
by Ron Meacock © 2018

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