Ancient Christian Commentary on Current Events: What Is War Good For?

What early church leaders thought of Christians and the military

In 1998, a Christianity Todayarticle called the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture (ACCS) "one of the most promising publishing ventures in evangelical scholarship." Books & Culture went even further, calling it "the most important project in religious publishing at the end of the millennium." Twelve volumes (out of 28) and five years later, the ACCS, published by InterVarsity Press, continues to earn plaudits from evangelicals, mainline Protestants, Roman Catholics, and Eastern Orthodox Christians.

There is much in this "Christian Talmud" that speaks directly from the early church fathers to Christians of today. Each month, the ACCS team will comb ancient letters, sermons, commentaries, and other writings on specific topics in the news (the ACCS series, in contrast, is arranged biblically rather than topically).

Like the ACCS, the Ancient Christian Commentary on Current Events draws from the church's first seven centuries, and the selections are chosen for their insight, rhetorical power, and faithful representation of the consensual exegesis of the early church. Where possible, we've linked to the full text of the original writings (Note, however, that the linked documents are generally public domain—and thus older—translations than the ones appearing here).

"It is a good rule, after reading a new book, never to allow yourself another new one till you have read an old one in between," said C.S. Lewis. The same could be said about the analysis of current events—never allow yourself to read more of what today's experts have to say until you've read how the first Christian experts already weighed in on the subject.

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The ancient church understood that war has been around as long as human beings and sin have coexisted. ...

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