Torchlighters: The Augustine Story
Elise Wixtrom writes reviews of VOM resources for readers of kidsofcourage.com. Enter “Elise” in the search box to read about Elise and to find more of her reviews. Read below her review of the Torchlighters DVD, The Augustine Story, and watch a clip from the DVD.
The story of Augustine begins in Rome – 300 years after Christ’s life and death. Augustine was an educated man, well-studied in debate. He taught students in Rome the art of rhetoric (how to speak well). In fact, he was so good at public speaking that government officials offered him a job as “the voice of the emperor.” The voice of the emperor was a man who would speak for the emperor in public places. The court needed someone to do this because the emperor was very young and could not yet speak for himself in public.
Augustine accepted the job. “Tell me what to debate,” he told the officials, “and I will win on your behalf.”
Now the Roman leaders were angry because so many people were becoming Christians, and the Christians didn’t want or need the old Roman gods anymore. So one man, the prefect, wanted to get back at the growing Christian population by taking away their most amazing church, the Basilica. (A prefect was a high official in the Roman Empire.)
The Basilica was a place where the church would hold services, but it also housed and cared for the families of people who were treated unfairly by the Roman Empire. The prefect wanted to take the Basilica and make it a temple for his gods. So he told Augustine to find out all he could about the bishop who ran the church, and to find problems with what the bishop taught. They needed the information to take the Basilica without making all of Rome angry.
So Augustine went to services. He studied what the bishop taught. But he could not find anything at fault. He couldn’t figure it out. Augustine could not argue against an opposing view for the first time in his life. Augustine’s heart was softened when he heard about how the people of the church treated the poor, hungry, and downtrodden. He could not tell the people that the bishop was lying to them about Jesus, because it wasn’t true.
Eventually, the people sided with Augustine, and the officials let the Christians stay in the Basilica. Later in his life, Augustine himself began to follow Christ and live according to his word. Augustine is now regarded as one of the most important church fathers, and one of the most brilliant thinkers in Christian history. His story shows us that when someone is unjust and oppressive, you must stand up for the truth. You must stand up for what is right, even if it hurts or people don’t like you anymore. All Augustine did was to unashamedly tell the truth in front of everyone, and he is remembered even to this day.