According to sociologist Rodney Stark, Christians were more than 50% of the population by the year A.D. 350. He says they grew despite bitter persecutions and epidemics because Christians lived their faith. They were Christ-like in their homes, and this spilled out into the cities where they cared for the sick, strangers, orphans, widows, the homeless, and the poor. The African Church father Augustine said, “One heart set another on fire.” The African Church father Tertullian said, “It is our care of the helpless, our practice of loving-kindness that brands us in the eyes of many of our opponents, who say ‘See those Christians how they love one another.'” When the Apostle Paul gave his credentials to the church at Galatia, he included the backing James, Peter, and John gave him. He said, “Their only suggestion to me was that we keep helping the poor.” Then Paul added, “I have always been eager to do that.” We see it in 2 Corinthians chapters 8-9. Jesus told the rich young ruler to go do as the Good Samaritan did-to help the needy, irrespective of ethnicity or culture. When we care for the needy, we show that we are followers of Jesus Christ; we spread the flame of God’s love; and by doing so, we make an impact on people worldwide.
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