By Tony Perkins
Ebola is a dangerous disease but readily contained. It is especially dangerous in countries where proper sanitation breaks down. Once diagnosed, its spread can be arrested. Still, many worried Americans are reading about the alarming outbreak of Ebola in West Africa — and the transfer to Emory University’s isolation unit of a stricken missionary doctor. Dr. Kent Brantly of the Samaritan’s Purse Christian ministry has returned home for treatment. He is the first known victim of Ebola to enter the U.S. He had heroically ordered that the single dose of an experimental serum be provided instead to his medical colleague, Nancy Writebol. We understand the fear of Ebola. Yet this threat is not new. Christians have been meeting such threats for two thousand years. Historian Rodney Stark relates in his book The Rise of Christianity how a minority faith astonished the pagans of the Third Century. Bishop Dionysius of Alexandria, in modern day Egypt, wrote to his flock at Easter, around 260 AD:
Most of our brother Christians showed unbounded love and loyalty, never sparing themselves and thinking only of one another. Heedless of danger [of the plague] they took charge of the sick, attending to their every need and ministering to them in Christ, for they were infected by others with the disease and with them departed this life serenely happy. Many, in nursing and curing others, transferred their death to themselves and died in their stead.
The conduct of Christians then and now is a wonder of the world. You will know they are Christians by their love. We offer our prayers and support to Dr. Franklin Graham’s organization, Samaritan’s Purse, and to Dr. Brantly and Nancy Writebol. Dr. Graham, son of famed Evangelist Billy Graham, spoke recently at FRC’s Watchmen on the Wall.
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Tony Perkins is president of the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council. He is a former member of the Louisiana legislature where he served for eight years, and he is recognized as a legislative pioneer for authoring measures like the nation’s first Covenant Marriage law.
(Via FRC’s Washington Update. Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.)
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