Faithful Stephen and the Sharp Tongues of his False Accusers

It has struck me for some time now, that often we come to read the Holy Scriptures through our 21st Century Western Christianity lenses (and theological presuppositions), especially when it comes to the New Testament.  For example, one of these presuppositions was that Christ changed everything that came before him; he fulfilled – and therefore has done away with – the Law (better translated, the Teaching) and the Old Covenant.  Therefore, since he did this, the Apostles and early church obviously did this too – we would cite most of Paul’s writings and events like Acts 10 with Peter for our evidence.  [I know I’m being overly simplistic to the complexity of this situation.  Please forgive me for my approach here.  Honestly, I just wanted to post a brief musing and not a properly drawn-out theological statement; maybe more of that will come later.]

Honestly, I think we come into problems with this approach if we think it through.  What struck me today (and has in times past that I have since forgotten about) was the story of Stephen [Acts 6 & 7; read during morning prayer].  Stephen is touted as a hero of our faith as being the first martyr under the revelation of Jesus Christ; rightly so I believe.   What led to his death was a sharp rebuke he gave to the Sanhedrin for being like the unfaithful fathers in generations past.  However, what led him to be taken in front of the council to begin with?  He was being an agitation to some because he belonged to the sect of The Way – or, being a Christian before that term came into use – and some of his peers thought that Jesus was not the Messiah and therefore thought Stephen, along with the other followers, were blasphemers.  However, when they studied him, they found him to be blameless (which I think is a lesson for us, by the way!).  The only way they could get him in front of the council was to have others, who were willing, to lie on him and say that he was blaspheming the Law of God and the prophets.  So, this begs the question, if Christ and his early followers got rid of the Law and prophets, why did Stephen’s accusers have to get false witnesses to lie and say that he was blaspheming the Law and prophets?  If these things were done away with in Christ and the early church was no longer following them, obviously they wouldn’t have needed to have been lied on about these issues.  Indeed, if this was the case, I think Stephen’s response to the Sanhedrin may have gone a little differently as well.  Let’s look at it this way: How would our theological statements and thoughts line-up with our faithful and heroic brother Stephen?

Something for you to chew on and think through.  Please read and pray through the chapters and see what conclusions you can draw from the text.  Many blessings to you!

Published in: on 7 PMpFri, 26 Dec 2014 13:01:53 -050001Friday 2016 at 1:01 pm  Comments (4)  

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Great point Josh. No false witnesses needed if Christian’s where forsaking God’s Teachings.

    • Thank you for the feedback sir.

  2. Great observations!

    • Thank you Fr. Nathan.

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