Justin & Justin: Second Apology
Justin’s second apology is a letter to the Roman Senate. It begins be recounting the reign of a certain city ruler named Urbicus. Under Urbicus, a divorce case escalated into the martyrdom of three Christians, one of whom was a city councilman. Justin then turns his attention to a man named Crescens who has been accusing him. Crescens, however, refuses to appeal the charges to Rome, even though Justin has suggested it.
Justin then launches into a defense of why Christians don’t commit suicide, despite the fact that they unflinchingly give themselves in martyrdom. Justin continues his defense of Christianity comparing it to the teaching of the Stoics and Socrates.
Justin finishes this short letter with an explanation of the Christian view of death and an appeal to the Imperial Senate to publish this letter and consider its contents.
What is the most striking about this much shorter defense of Christianity is the doctrinal complexity mixed with simplicity. On some issues, Justin’s theology is very elementary. His discussion of free-will is not only devoid of the trappings of two millennia of debate, from Augustine v. Pelagius to James White v. Dave Hunt; but it also lacks much interaction between God’s Will and humans’s will. At the same time, Justin’s doctrine of Common Grace, truth, and the relationship between Christ and general revelation is very well developed. Justin could jump into many modern debates on epistemology (study of how we know what we know). He lays out a very complex Christian view of knowledge in chapter 10 in particular.