Many people today live in polarized societies, struggling to find common ground in a time of deep division. But there is good news—the first Christians faced this challenge too. Christians & the Roman Army tells the forgotten story of the early church's relationship with the army of imperial Rome. Over six well-researched and thought-provoking chapters, Garnett explores the ways that some early Christians embraced the army and the reasons that other Christians did not want to welcome soldiers into the church.
Andrew Garnett offers lessons for our outreach to military service-members today, and discussion questions at the end of each chapter help readers apply the story to contemporary contexts. Anyone interested in ministry with the military, the history of the early churches, or finding common ground on contentious issues has a valuable resource in Christians & the Roman Army.
Andrew Garnett paints a captivating picture of the interactions of the Roman military in the early churches and how their challenges and successes can be used by modern day churches as tools to support military families. It’s the perfect book for anyone seeking further knowledge of religious origins inside military culture. I can’t wait to share it with all service members!
—Major Amanda Gutierrez
US Air Force Flight Commander
Vietnam. Iraq. Afghanistan. Our churches are filled with people whose lives have been shaped by war; yet, the complicated relationship between Christian faith and military service is rarely explored. Andrew Garnett leads us to reconsider the past—both Christian and Roman—so we can reimagine how the church can better minister to soldiers and their families. Pastors, chaplains, Sunday school teachers, and history buffs would all do well to read this book!
—Cameron H. J. Jorgenson, PhD
Associate Professor of Christian Theology & Ethics
Program Director, MA in Faith & Leadership Formation
Campbell University Divinity School
This fine study addresses many important topics, past and present, including a well-researched historical survey of early Christian responses to the Roman Empire and its armies; diverse Christian attitudes toward war, peace, and military service, present from the church’s origins; and the implications of those actions and beliefs for addressing such issues in our distinct, but equally turbulent times. It is a valuable resource for individual and congregational study, discussion, and ministry.
—Bill J. Leonard
Professor of Divinity Emeritus
Wake Forest University
In this book, Garnett delivers a creative historical lens through which to read Scripture. Without this important lens, Scripture loses important layers of practical application because we lose the original context in which these texts were written. If you are looking to add more layers of understanding to your faith, I encourage you to read this book.
Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Virginia
For the vast majority of my years in ministry, I have served in highly populated military areas. During those many years of service, it never occurred to me to give thoughtful consideration to the nature of the relationship between the Roman army and Christianity so that my ministry in a military context could be more meaningful and fruitful to both military and civilian personnel. This is a book I needed well over thirty years ago but did not know I needed it. Andrew Garnett has produced a must-read book for those whose ministry touches the military community. He brings together the academic mind of a scholar delving into ancient texts of Scripture and the early church with the pastoral heart of a minister of the gospel of Jesus living in a military community. It is a rare gift for a topic to be so richly mined and then offered in such a practical ministry expression. The depth and breadth of the ministry of pastors and churches who share the love of Christ in the shadow of military personnel, bases, and institutions will be greatly advanced. The door to a much needed conversation has been gently cracked open.
—Brian Williams, PhD
Tidewater Field Strategist
Baptist General Association of Virginia