Radical Christianity, part 2
September 29, 2006 2 Comments
“Many also of those who had believed kept coming, confessing and disclosing their practices. And many of those who practiced magic brought their books together and began burning them in the sight of everyone; and they counted up the price of them and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver*. So the word of the Lord was growing mightily and prevailing.” Acts 19:18-20
*fifty thousand Greek drachmas, a drachma is approximately a day’s wages
This episode happened in the city of Ephesus, in the middle 1st Century. I realize that book burning is probably seen as a radical act of savagery, but I think it is very interesting so read what happened as a result of this particular book burning. “The word of the Lord was growing mightily and prevailing.”
Why would God endorse a book burning? I think it is pivotal to realize what kind of books were burned in Ephesus. Magic books, full of spells and incantations that might or might not have any supernatural power. These Ephesians who came to God realized that their old ways came between them and God and took radical measures to expunge these demonic elements from amongst their midst.
There is a youth group in the city of Minot, North Dakota, which held a ‘vice burning’ very similar to what we read about in Acts 19 (picture above). I undertand that their actions of burning CDs, DVDs, magazines and books might be seen as radical by some, but their reasons are the same reasons that prompted the Ephesians of the 1st Century. In fact this is a quote from the leader of the group: “Getting rid of junk in their lives that would hinder (their) relationship with the Lord.”
Did not Jesus say to gouge out your eye if it causes you to sin? (Matthew 5:29, yeah from that radical Sermon on the Mount again) This is more radical than a book burning, yet it drives home the point that if something is causing you to sin, do whatever it takes to eject it from your life.
Click here to read the ‘vice-burning’ story from North Dakota.