The caring actions of members of the early church nearly 2,000 years ago definitively prove that pro-life values have always been deeply embedded in the Christian way of thinking.
Filmmaker Phil Cooke, co-author of the new book, “The Way Back: How Christians Blew Our Credibility and How We Get It Back,” recently revealed that early Christians would often save the lives of babies who the Romans left outside to die.
In fact, Cooke told Faithwire that the Roman empire was infamous for having a low regard for human life, with infanticide raging.
Some people wouldn’t even name their children for weeks after birth just in case they decided not to keep them; and if they didn’t want the babies, they would simply let them die of exposure.
But Christians, he said, would go out in the dark of night, rescue those babies and raise them as their own.
And that’s not all: When sickness hit, Christians would also rush in to help save lives, while Romans fled. Over time, these kind acts transformed Romans’ perspectives.
Cooke shared these examples to show how the early church managed to change hearts through action, despite lacking political and cultural power — and how modern-day Christians could learn quite a bit from them.
“I want people to understand, first of all we’ve got to commit,” he said, adding that accepting Jesus and living out Christian values go hand-in-hand. “We’ve business class cozied it up to ‘accepting Jesus’ … it’s amazing how uncommitted we are. Commitment is the key.”
This isn’t the first time that the story of Christians saving babies’ lives has been recounted. Christianity.com once noted that a document written in the 2nd century titled, “The Octavius of Minicius Felix” shows, through a debate between a Pagan and Christian, how Bible believers viewed their responsibility.
Here is part of the dialogue that was derived from that text:
CAECILIUS THE PAGAN: You Christians are the worst breed ever to affect the world. You deserve every punishment you can get! Nobody likes you. It would be better if you and your Jesus had never been born. We hear that you are all cannibals–you eat the flesh of your children in your sacred meetings.
OCTAVIUS The Christian: That story is probably based on reports that we share together a meal of the body and blood of Christ. That we do. But it is not human flesh we eat. It is bread and wine we consecrate to commemorate our Lord’s death. It amazes me you give credibility to these rumors of cannibalism. You know what we’re like. Keep in mind that if you have a child and it is a girl but you wanted a boy, or if the child is deformed, or if you simply don’t want it, what is done? You leave the child outside, exposed to die.
CAECILIUS: You know that it is far more merciful to let the baby die than to bring it up in a home where it is not wanted.
OCTAVIUS: We do not expose our children, and you are well aware how so many of the little ones that have been left out to die have been rescued by Christians and given a home. So it’s just the opposite of what you accuse us of, Caecilius. We don’t consume human life; we rather protect and defend it.
You can read more about this incredible pro-life story here.
In an era in which Christians are looking to rebuild influence, perhaps a page can be taken from these early believers’ book: be devout, be devoted and truly live out the faith.
These are the very topics Cooke talks about in “The Way Back: How Christians Blew Our Credibility and How We Get It Back,” as he encourages believers to get back to basics and to actually live out the faith they claim to embrace.