Thursday, March 30, 2006

Has Sin Changed So Much?

In my studies today I came across this historical note about the church at Constantinople in 379, just after Gregory of Nazianzus had arrived. The author identifies the church as follows:

"Religious feeling like everything else had become to the idle and empty mind a subject of joke and amusement. What belonged to the theatre was brought into the Church, and what belonged to the Church into the theatre. The better Christian feelings were not seldom held up in comedies to the sneer of the multitude. Everything was so changed by the Constantinopolitans into light jesting, that earnestness was stripped of its worth by wit, and that which is holy became a subject for banter and scoffing in the refined conversation of worldly people. Yet worse was it that the unbridled delight of these men in dissipating enjoyments threatened to turn the church into a theatre, and the preacher into a play actor. If he would please the multitude, he must adapt himself to their taste, and entertain them amusingly in the Church. They demanded also in the preaching something that should please the ear, glittering declamation with theatrical gesticulation; and they clapped with the same pleasure the comedian in the holy place and him on the stage. And alas there were found at that period too many preachers who preferred the applause of men to their soul's health. "


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