Dec 17, 2009
The history of the world is the tale of cities that rise and fall. Nineveh,Tyre, Babylon, Jerusalem and Ancient Rome all crumbled and fell. When the Germanic Odoacer deposed the last Roman emperor in 476 A.D., Rome fell not simply because of the invading vandals, it fell because it was corrupt from within. Decadence, economic downturn, government incompetence and military troubles helped bring Rome down.
Writing at the time of the fall of Rome, St. Augustine offered one of the most lasting interpretations of human history seen with the eye of faith and reason as well. In his monumental work, "The City of God," the great theologian-bishop of Hippo offered a Christian vision of history and its meaning. He spoke of two cities, the City of God and the City of Man. The earthly city builds its foundation on wealth, power and pleasure. The City of God, however, is totally devoted to the glory of God. The two cities demand allegiance.
However, it is impossible to be a citizen of the one and still pledge allegiance to the other.
By birth, we are citizens of this world. By our rebirth of water and the Spirit, we belong to the City of God. Constantly we must choose between the City of Man and the City of God. Many today find it increasingly more difficult to hold on in public to their Christian identity and be seen as citizens of the City of God. Some even make the schizophrenic choice of professing privately one truth with their faith and then living publicly in a way that denies what they say they believe.