It is one of the earliest references to Christianity from non Biblical sources. It involves graffiti on an ancient wall in Rome that was part of a home that originally belonged to the notorious Roman emperor Caligula. It was drawn sometime between the first and second century.
Carved by soldiers in the Roman army, it involves an image of a man with a donkey’s head hanging on a cross. There is a Roman soldier standing at the side with a hand raised that is explained by the words written in Greek beneath: “Alexamenos worships [his] God.”According to Christian apologist Tertullian (160 to 225 AD), depicting Jesus as a donkey was a popular way of insulting Christians at that time. He wrote of a man living in Carthage who had an image of a Christian with ears and hooves of a donkey. In today’s equivalent of an editorial cartoon, it had the words: “The God of the Christians begotten of an ass” written beneath.
And lately in North America we starting to see anti Christian graffiti showing up. I am not talking about comments on social media but images and words painted on church buildings.
Christian News recently ran a story of graffiti appearing on churches across North America.
Upward Baptist church in Flat Rock North Carolina had the following graffiti painted on its outside walls and church sign: “(expletive) Jesus” and the phrase “(expletive) Billy graham + diabolic delusive ‘divinity.’”
Seeders Planters church in McDonough, Georgia was similarly desecrated. Someone painted satanic symbols on the newly constructed facility including “666,” the letter “A” in a red circle, a pentagram, and the words “Hail Lucifer.” The last phrase was written twice, including once backwards.
A Roman Catholic church in Boulder Creek Colorado also had the numbers “666”, upside down crosses, “hail satan” and homosexual slurs painted on its walls.
In Jasper, Texas, a Lutheran and Pentecostal church had the words “phoneys” and “(expletive) Christians” scrawled on the front doors of their buildings.
In an interview with KTRE-TV, the pastor of Jasper’s St Paul Lutheran church said:
“When I was a kid, I would’ve never thought that things like this would happen, but they are.”
Rickie Henderson, a trustee at Blackwell Chapel AME Zion Church, in Belville, NC, made a similar comment after his church had its door broken in and windows shattered. It was simple vandalism as nothing was stolen.
In an interview with WECT-TV, Henderson said:
“I’m just really upset, that in this day and time, people would do such a thing to a church.”
It is also happening in Canada. In mid-February, a Catholic church in Stratford, P.E.I, was heavily vandalized with graffiti, including homosexual slurs, painted on the church and in September last year, a church in Guelph-Eramosa Township, Ontario had the words “Islamic State will rema[in],” spray painted on its outside wall.
We are not used to this type of behavior. But it was the way of life in early Rome and many parts of the world today. As a North American Christian, myself included, we need to toughen up. Jesus warned His disciples that they would be persecuted because people’s hatred of Christ (Matthew 10:22).
The Christians in the Book of Acts were under constant pressure, but God did not leave them defenseless. As we toughen up, I believe the Holy Spirit will move with power through healings and miracles, just like He did in the early church.
- String of vandalism case reported at churches nationwide: Christian News
- Doors and windows smashed at two Belville churches overnight: ‘I’m just really upset.’: WECT TV
- Pastor, worshipers address vandalism at Flat Rock church: WLOS
- Church desecrated by vandals in McDonough: Fox News
- Jasper PD investigating vandalism at two churches: KTRE TV
- Man arrested in vandalism of two Boulder Creek churches may be charged with hate crime: Santa Cruz Sentinel