How influential was Jesus?
Last updated 6/7/2007 at Noon
In their book “What if Jesus Had Never Been Born?” D. James Kennedy and Jerry Newcombe attempt to answer this question, at least partially. They begin with the assumption that the church – the body of Christ – is Jesus’ primary legacy to the world. Then they examine what has happened in history that displays the influence of the church. Here are a few highlights they cite:
• Hospitals, which essentially began during the Middle Ages.
• Universities, which also began during the Middle Ages. In addition, most of the world’s greatest universities were started by Christians for Christian purposes.
• Literacy and education for the masses.
• Representative government, particularly as it has been seen in the American experiment.
• The separation of political powers.
• Civil liberties.
• The abolition of slavery, both in antiquity and in modern times.
• Modern science.
• The discovery of the New World by Columbus.
• Benevolence and charity, the Good Samaritan ethic.
• Higher standards of justice.
• The elevation of the common man.
• The high regard for human life.
• The civilizing of many barbarian and primitive cultures.
• The codifying and setting to writing of many of the world’s languages.
• The greater development of art and music. The inspiration for the greatest works of art.
• The countless changed lives transformed from liabilities into assets to society because of the gospel.
• The eternal salvation of countless souls.
It is the followers of Jesus who have taken the great sacrificing steps to lift others out of the dregs of life. Jesus of Nazareth had been transforming lives for almost two millennia, and in the process he has been rewriting the progress and outcome of human history.