Listening to Celsus
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of God.
- Matthew 5:4
Today we’re going to listen to one of the strongest early critics of Christianity - a Greek philosopher named Celsus, who wrote this piece in 180 AD. Celsus thought Christians were ridiculous because they said the riff-raff could enter the kingdom of God. The beautiful thing about Celsus’s critique is that he got it right! He actually understood Christianity a lot better than many of us. So take this chance to listen to him rant about Christians and ask yourself if you could be critiqued in the same way (like Jesus was!):
Those who summon people to religion make this proclamation: 'Whosoever has pure hands and a wise tongue is invited.' And again, other religions say, 'Whosoever is pure from all defilement, and whose soul knows nothing of evil, and who has lived well and righteously - they are invited.' Such are the preliminary exhortations of those who promise purification from sins.
But let us hear what people these Christians call. 'Whosoever is a sinner', they say, 'whosoever is unwise, whosoever is a child, and, in a word, whosoever is a wretch, the kingdom of God will receive him.' Do you not say that a sinner is he who is dishonest, a thief, a burglar, a poisoner, a sacrilegious fellow, and a grave-robber? What others would a robber invite and call? Why on earth this preference for sinners?"