A Conflict of Claims

By T.M. Moore - Posted at The Fellowship of Ailbe:

The claims of Christ are our first priority.
Clash of Swords (2) 
And they troubled the crowd and the rulers of the city when they heard these things. Acts 17.8 
Let the saints be joyful in glory;Let them sing aloud on their beds.Let the high praises of God be in their mouth,And a two-edged sword in their hand,To execute vengeance on the nations,And punishments on the peoples;To bind their kings with chains,And their nobles with fetters of iron;To execute on them the written judgment—This honor have all His saints. Psalm 149.5-9

A new King
It’s not surprising that Christianity, truly lived and boldly proclaimed, should pose a threat to the social and cultural status quo, and to the political powers and cultural elites who maintain that status quo. From at least the time of Abraham, believers have taken the Sword of the Spirit into battle against all the swords of men, to further the divine economy and agenda.

In first-century Rome the powers-that-be were content for Christianity to have a place in the Empire, as long as its followers understood the rules of the game. Adherents of many strange religious cults populated the subject nations of Rome, and each sect enjoyed a certain legitimacy, because each of them constituted an element of the social glue which held the pastiche of Empire together. As long as those religions did not challenge the authority of Rome and the supremacy of the Emperor, they were free to practice their beliefs. Even the Jews were allowed to practice their faith, because it was understood by Roman authorities that their exalted claims of sovereignty for their God applied only to His chosen people. And the Romans had demonstrated to their own satisfaction that they could manage that.

Everything changed when Christianity broke out in the cities of the Empire.