Tags: Ancient Rome, Saint Augustine, City of
God, Christian persecution, religious freedom, Christian nation, fall of Rome, house
divided, Babylon, Queen of Apostasy, Caesar, Nero, Xenophon, Caisus, Claudius, Agrippa,
Seneca, Burrus, Britanica, Christian Martyrs, Apostle Paul, Roman Church, Early Church
Bewilderment filled their hearts. The
commonwealth had long since left the values that had built her into the principle power in
the world. Though those with insight heralded the return to traditional family values, few
would listen. Adultery was rampant, homosexuality common and street violence a way of
The welfare state had burgeoned till it
was out of control. In the hopes of keeping the discontented masses in the impoverished
slums content, sporting extravaganzas filled the arenas in each major city with every
imaginable amusement. The entertainment industry, once the expression of the finest art,
had degenerated into the display of the most disgusting sexual acts that could come out of
the imaginations of her writers.
Moral tension was high. Throughout the
country debate was stirred concerning how society should act, and if there was a God that
they were accountable to. The greatest minds of the domain pondered this question, and
there were a multitude of answers with no resolutions.
While the poor fought in the street, the
middle class enjoyed the advantages of the long peace. Wealth was easily had by many, and
opulence and indulgence in every sort of stimulating activity was their central pursuit.
The proposition of peace and prosperity was the theme of the age.
Hardly had anyone considered the
possibility of foreign invasion. The armed forces of the kingdom were unmatched in the
entire world. The peace that their strength brought, gave the world prosperity such had
never before been imagined. They had become the wealthiest citizens in the history of the
They were a nation of people who were
obsessed with their personal rights and liberties. Societal law was king. This law granted
them a pluralistic community, where every culture in the world lived together in peace.
Religious freedom was the dominant theme, as the people employed any god they desired in
any way they could dream up. And they had many to choose from, for every religion in the
world had gathered within their borders.
The kingdom's long-standing democratic
institutions were intact, but the freedoms that they implied were long gone. Politicians
had forgotten why they were elected. Financial gain and political power now dominated
their minds. Statesmen gathered around issues that were popular to their constituents, but
no longer was the will of the people directing the actions of the state. Their leaders had
given themselves over to self-indulgence.
As the centuries passed, the
long-standing peace faded. The populace that had learned the art of violence became the
victim of the savagery themselves. Class struggles had eventually weakened the land beyond
repair. The poor had managed to subjugate the rich, as the wealth of the domain was
redistributed into their welcoming hands. In the midst of struggle, these victors of class
contention overlooked the very internal forces that would lead to the nation's undoing. It
wasn't long before the world's cities were burning under the cruel hand of the very people
who had feigned political leverage.
Fingers pointed to the cause of the
dilemma. Most aimed at the followers of Christ. "If we hadn't become a Christian
nation," many reasoned, "we would never have got into the jam that we now have
found ourselves in. Christianity has made us weak."
Out of the controversy arose a man who
settled the matter. His name was Saint Augustine, and the kingdom he was speaking to was
5th century Rome. Because Augustine lived in a society inundated with gray, he determined
that he would put his gray matter into action. As it turned out, Augustine has since been
recognized as the greatest mind Rome ever produced. Yet soon their civilization would be
no more. They were committed to living in the gray.
While hands shook in accusation of the
Christian, Augustine stepped in with his great mind to silence all who opposed him. After
he had written his greatest work, the City of God, the critics of Christianity were
silenced for a thousand years. It was his astute mind that assured Christianity would be
the principal religion in the West for many centuries to come.
It hasn't been until the 20th century
that Christianity has suffered any serious challenge that has threatened it with universal
annihilation. Times have changed. Christians have forgotten that there is nothing new
under the sun. They have bent their ear to everything novel that passes by their senses.
Christians have turned to the gray. They are living in the middle. Though the greatest
minds in the history of the world have been believers who have submitted their minds to
Christ, Christendom has stopped thinking.
As a result, the attackers of
Christianity have asserted that Christianity is an ignorant religion. These haters of
Christ have proclaimed themselves as the true minds of the age, while the Church wanders
after pursuing its sensual pleasures. Truth has been lost in the senseless reckoning of
non-truth within a culture that has determined that nothing is worth considering beyond
its self image.
But answers are as old a Rome. For in
the writings of Saint Augustine lie the explanation from God's Word that delineates the
very culprits of the agony of our new age. Through the centuries, the pages of the Bible
speak the same truth that they communicated to the ancient bewildered society of Rome.
Augustine utilized the words of God to silence the oppressors of Christ, and these same
words are as pertinent today as they ever have been.
The book you are about to read is about
using your head. It is a call to the modern world's cerebral mass that has been slumbering
in the stupor of its own complacency. It is a summons to wake up and begin thinking again.
It is the shout of truth echoing in a truthless world. It is the argument of Saint
Augustine being told once again to the same wayward society from which all modern apostasy
Augustine spoke of a house divided. He
spoke of two cities, which have stood diametrically opposed to each other since the
beginning of time. It is as these two cities express themselves in the world that the
division of man is manifested.
There is no middle ground between the
two cities. There is no gray area to divide opposites. The answers for today are not
encompassed in "Should or could I", "I hope so or I hope not",
"Maybe or maybe not". Rather, the only solution that makes sense lies in the
propositions of "Left and right", "Up or down", "In or out",
"Good or bad", "Right or Wrong".
In this book we will examine how the two
opposites of the world have manifested themselves in history. We will apply this knowledge
to our contemporary society and its worship life. In so doing, we will turn to reiterate
to the world what Augustine had shown us fifteen hundred years ago. We will identify the
source of our problems. We will be directed to our only hope.
We will consider the "house
divided"; the division in society that is inevitable when two points of view are
prevailing. We will discover that the separation between opposites is absolutely essential
in discerning truth from error. We will see why the doctrine of tolerance within the
framework of non-accountability is exactly that which severs liberty and freedom from man.
We will examine the great kingdoms of
the world to see how Augustine's two cities have manifested themselves through history. We
shall uncover the consequences that have developed in the kingdoms of men as a result of
the influence of each point of view. We will unearth the reality which acknowledges that
the future of a kingdom is directly reliant upon the city which directs its course.
We will consider the philosophies that
underpin the two cities. We shall behold that these ideologies determine how men view
themselves and direct how they see the world that they live in. We will resolve that men
become exactly who they think they are. Finally, we will come to an understanding of the
precepts of the two great religions of the world. Each of the two cities is masterminded
by its own faith. Because there is only one faith that is true, we shall rustle the Queen
of Apostasy out of her nest, to expose her and demonstrate where she has made her bed.
* * *
As we wait for Christ's return, we
perceive the coming darkness that proceeds the dawn of a new age. As we look about at the
gloomy disorder that lurks about us, we are observing the translucent images of our past
transformed into subtle grays. We know that when the sun can no longer be seen on the
horizon, that evening is near. When twilight descends with its shaded impressions, we know
that it will soon be night. So it will be in the last days of man.
Yet among the bearers of truth, there
are no grays: For some reject the sensual thinking of their generation, to utilize their
gray matter which restores the reasonable to the absurd. They realize that there is no
matter that is gray.
Those who truly know how to think
understand that truth cannot be found in compromise with its opposite. They discern that
truth is specific rather than relative, objective rather than subjective. They realize
that the matter is distinctly Black-and-White. It is when this occurs that we can discover
the true unity of mind that can save a nation from herself.
He grimaced in pain as the last nail was
driven into his emaciated limb. Tongues of retribution ran up and down his frame
delivering the oil that was now seeping into his wounds. As they raised him up, he could
see his wife across the courtyard while to his side he could hear the agony on the breath
of his firstborn son. Together they were elevated in martyrdom as the emperor paraded his
grandeur before them, riding upon his chariot to the thundering applause of his subjects.
Yet the man hung suspended, hardly noticing the antics of the tyrant. His mind drifted
It was only hours ago that he was
together with his family. Concealed in the vast matrix near the city, they clutched hands
as he somberly blessed their final meal together. The affectionate squeeze emanating from
his life long companion had assured him that their firm poise in the faith would not go
un-rewarded. The words that the prophet had spoken were true! They now knew the presence
of their God was with them. So they sang as one to glorify the king they served.
Now this blessed moment has quickly
faded. He hangs awaiting his certain death. Far below the praises still ushering from his
lips, he witnesses the servants of the emperor in their revelry. Their drunkenness has
left them oblivious to his suffering just above their heads. They toast to the god of
fertility as they worship images made to look like mortal man and reptiles. Therefore
God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the
degrading of their bodies with one another (Rom -24 niv). Men with men, women with
women, they sing in riotous laughter while the innocent prepare to die.
A nameless man has led his now forgotten
family down a path that will bring them an eternity of peace. He takes one last glimpse
into the eyes of his beloved. The torch has been lit as the flames engulf their bodies.
They are in the presence of the Lord.
* * *
Now there is left behind only the
carcasses to illuminate the monarch's feast. It was rumored the dictator had lost his mind
years ago. The prophet had once walked these courts chained to a guard as he shared the
truth to all who would listen. It was to Nero that the Apostle Paul had appealed to in his
defense, and to Nero's tribunal he was taken after his first imprisonment. (Acts 25:11)
Nero seemed to take a considerable amount of interest in providential cases such as Paul's
so it is very likely he heard the message of the Gospel from this one who presented it as
none has since.
In the early years of this infamous
Caesar's reign, the Apostle wrote to the Roman Church to explain the great doctrines that
comprised their faith. He was eventually beheaded for this stand he had taken. This
occurred in the last year of this cruel dictator's life very near the city of Rome itself.
Paul wasn't the only one to fall into
this tyrant's clutches. Even the apostle Peter was executed by Nero, crucified upside down
on a cross as he felt himself unworthy to die as Christ had done. Now all the followers of
that message suffered constant persecution in the hands of that insane dictator.
There was a time when Rome and
Christianity were on friendly terms. Christians were viewed by the rulers of the day as a
harmless Jewish sect. Possibly the trial of Paul brought to Nero's mind the difference of
the two. The great fire of July 64 A.D. nearly destroyed Rome. The result was that
thousands of homeless people required housing and the lowering of the price of corn.
The desires of the depraved Caesar were
not easily fulfilled! It was suspected his demented ego inspired him to burn the city
while he played contemptuously on his fiddle. In actuality he was in Atium when the fire
began, returning to supervise in person the work of the fire brigades, while exposing
himself to danger in the endeavor. He even opened up his private gardens to shelter many
of the homeless. Yet he could not shake the suspicion that continued to knock at his door.
He desperately needed something to defer the attention away from his cowardly personage.
The Christian community provided the perfect scapegoat.
Christians were already despised as a
result of their abominations. Their withdrawal from society, exclusive behavior, failure
to participate in the duties of state and their active evangelism drew the suspicion of Rome.
As a result, charges of immorality were levied against them. It was believed they
conducted nightly orgies, Thespian feasts, and Oedipodean incest. These are interesting
accusations coming from a society that has been attributed with such rank sin itself.
It is an embarrassment to us today that
many pronounced ministries have been exposed to the same judgment by a world that finds
itself involved in the vilest of sin. It is even more deplorable that the accusations are
in fact true. The Biblical record assures us that the EarlyChurch was involved in much
loftier activities as they met to worship the one true and holy God. Yet this did not
defray the anger of Caesar nor the misunderstanding that surrounded them. Therefore
Christianity became a crime as the followers of Christ were labeled enemies of the state.
Thus began the first persecution of
Christians by a heathen nation. It would not be the last! Anyone who confessed to being
Christian was arrested and interrogated. Many were implicated by these confessions. Those
who remained faithful to the faith found themselves victims to the appetites of the wild
beast in the great arenas. To the amusement of a discontent populace, myriads of
Christians suffered violent ends in the hands of sadistic executioners. They were covered
with the skins of animals and fed to the dogs, crucified, lit up as torches, and mocked as
a result of their beliefs. Women were tied to mad bulls and dragged to death in the mad
Yet it would not be long before Nero
would meet his end; indicted in the hands of his contemporaries. The prophet had delivered
the message. Caesar would not believe.
The fate of this wretched individual
seemed to be sealed on the day of his birth. Among the congratulations of friends, his
father declared that any of his seed could only prove to be abominable and disastrous to
the good of the public. At the age of three, Nero's father had died and his inheritance
robbed by Caisus. In 39 AD his mother Agrippa was banished by Caisus, on account an
alleged plot against him. As a result young Nero was separated from both his natural
parents at an early age to be raised by his aunt.
In 41 AD, as Claudius ascended to the
seat of Caesar, Nero was restored to his vindicated mother. Yet with this reunion began
the unscrupulous acts of this Jezebel who would manipulate events and incorporate the
asset in her son with the express desire to rule the entire known world in her insidious
Now Agrippa's uncle, the emperor, was a
sucker for female charms. Quite aware of this, Agrippa seized the opportunity and captured
his fancy. They were married in 49 AD and she found herself empress of the greatest empire
the world had ever known. Exercising all of her cunning allowed the betrothal of Nero to
Claudious' daughter Octavia, and the subsequent adoption of Nero as a son. The true heir
to the throne, Britannicas was carefully kept in the background as Agrippa executed her
well-devised plans. Any alleged supporter of Caesar's true son was either murdered or cast
into exile. Soon Claudius was persuaded to draft a will in favor of Nero.
The stage was finally set for their
ultimate rise to power. Rumors began to be developed amongst the Senate and the populace
that Claudius was not favorably disposed to the exclusion of his son. Not to allow this to
thwart her plans, Agrippa enticed Xenophon, his physician, to insert a feather down
Claudius' throat laced with poison under the pretense of inducing a vomit. Through these
precarious circumstances Nero was brought forth and proclaimed emperor in 54 AD.
At first, Nero permitted two respected
advisers to direct state affairs, Seneca, a philosopher and writer, and Burrus, a military
officer. The result was five years characterized by good government. In fact Nero was
quite popular among the Senate and the people. Indeed he was very devoted to his mother,
calling her the "best of mothers."
He silences the lips of trusted
advisers and takes away the discernment of elders. (Job niv)
However, when Seneca and Burrus became
aware that Agrippa intended to rule with her son, they proceeded to encourage him to
pursue a relationship with a Greek freed woman, Acete, to break Agrippa's spell over him.
The plan was successful as the arrogant Agrippa found herself without her chief protector,
She retaliated by threatening to present
Britanicus as the rightful heir to the throne, only to sign the young man's death warrant.
While attending a banquet, Nero arranged to have Britanica's hot wine cooled with water
laced with poison. It was convenient to blame the incident on the epilepsy Britanica had
suffered since his youth. Defeated in that arena Agrippa took up the cause of the
mistreated Octavia, which lead to the removal of her bodyguards and her expulsion from the
Seneca and Burrus, according to the International
Standard Bible Encyclopedia, "perceiving the bent of his evil nature, allowed him
to indulge in low pleasures and excesses with the most profligate companions, thinking,
perhaps, either that the young ruler would in this way prove less harmful to the public,
or that, after sowing his wild oats, he would return to the serious business of
government. However in both ways they were sorely disappointed, for Nero, having
surrendered himself to the basest of appetites, continued to go from excess to excess. He
surrounded himself with the most dissolute of companions, conspicuous among whom were
Salvius Otho and Claudius Seneco."
Those in the Church today who desire to
adopt policies of tolerance and leniency towards sinful behavior should closely observe
the resulting events in Nero's life.
Otho's wife Poppanea Sabina
"unprincipled, and endowed with every gift of nature except an honorable mind"
sought the king's attention in accordance with her consuming lust for power. It was
through her husband that she gained Nero's admiring eye, enabling her to influence him to
disregard any restraint, ignore the council of his advisors, and dig a hole of immorality
and crime he would never climb out of. At her wishes, Nero sent Otho to a distant province
while he proceeded to have an affair with his wife.
Not to allow the possibility of any
competition, Sabina plotted the death of Nero's mother as well. Upon Nero's orders the
Admiral, Anicetus constructed a seagoing vessel that would sink on command. Nero persuaded
his mother to travel on it, whereupon it was sent to the bottom of the Mediterranean.
Agrippa survived the accident by swimming ashore, but was soon found dead in the clutches
of her murderers.
Nero divorced Octavia who was falsely
accused of committing adultery. Banished to the island of Pandateria, she too fell into
the sadistic hands of the possessive and vindictive Sabina. The innocent Octavia was
executed in 62 AD, and her head was delivered to the vile concubine. Yet fate had its
ultimate reward upon this loathsome beast. Indeed, Sabina married and became empress, but
only for a brief time. God brought justice to this unrighteous tramp as she died in
childbirth as a result of a swift kick in the stomach administered by the one she fought
so hard to possess, Nero. Sin indeed carries with it its own reward.
To support his extravagances though,
Nero had squandered the vast treasury his predecessor had accumulated. Therefore he began
to plunder the provinces that had once enjoyed sound Roman government. Yet this did not
prevent the financial crisis that eventually lead to the bankruptcy of Rome and collapse
of this mighty empire.
is a graduate of the prestigious music department at CSULB where he studied under Frank
Pooler, lyricist of Merry Christmas Darling, and sang in Poolers world renown
University Choir alongside Karen and Richard Carpenter. During this time Don was also the
lead composer of the band, Clovis Putney, that won the celebrated Hollywood Battle of the
Bands. After giving his life to God, Don began attending Calvary Chapel, Costa Mesa to
study under some of the most prominent early Maranatha! musicians. Subsequently he toured
the Western United States with Jedidiah in association with Myrrh Records.
Don served as a pastor at Calvary Chapel Bakersfield to witness thousands of salvations
through that ministry. As the music/concert director, Don worked for seven years with most
major Christian artist of that time while producing evangelical concerts attended by
thousands of young people seeking after God. Dons Calvary Chapel Praise Choir
released the album Let All Who Hath Breath Praise the Lord on the Maranatha! label.
years of Dons life were spent as the praise leader of FirstBaptistChurch in Bakersfield
during a time of unprecedented church renewal. Don teamed with the leadership to
successfully meld the old with the new through a period of tremendous church growth.
During this exciting time, Dons praise team, Selah, produced the CD Stop and
Think About It.
Today Don is
the leading force behind Wigtune Company. This
webbased project located at www.praisesong.net has provided several million downloads of
Dons music and hymn arrangements to tens of thousands of Christian organizations
throughout the world. More music can be found at Don's Southern
Cross Band website at www.socrossband.com.
The book Holy
Wars represents Dons most recent effort to bless the church with biblical
instruction and direction in praise and worship. This heartfelt volume is an offering not
only to Gods people, but also to God Himself.
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