CHRISTIAN LOVE AND THE IMITATION OF CHRIST IN THE EPISTLE TO DIOGNETUS: A SECOND-CENTURY EXAMPLE OF CHRISTIAN DISCIPLESHIP
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ABSTRACT CHRISTIAN LOVE AND THE IMITATION OF CHRIST IN THE EPISTLE TO DIOGNETUS: A SECOND-CENTURY EXAMPLE OF CHRISTIAN DISCIPLESHIP Charles Theodore Mielke IV, Ed.D. The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, 2017 Chair: Dr. Timothy Paul Jones The Epistle to Diognetus is an early church writing that offers an excellent picture of the Christian life, as well as deficiencies of other religions. In the text, the author illustrates the nature of God’s love. As he comes to the climactic point in the text, he also offers a call for action on the recipient of the letter. This call is to imitate God; but not just a generalized concept of God, specifically God’s love. This invitation to imitate God, along with the detailed expression of his love offers a clear image of a true committed disciple in the middle second century. Along with expounding upon the nature of God’s love and how to imitate this characteristic, strong connections are drawn between the text of Diognetus and the writings of the New Testament. These connections provide support for continuity of thought between the unknown author of Diognetus, and the New Testament writers.