Until I saw the headline, I never thought of it this way…
As Philip Jenkins in The Lost History of Christianity: The Thousand-Year Golden Age of the Church in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia–and How It Died noted, the Church of the East died out in many ways due to persecution. What allowed the West to flourish was it’s relatively remove access to trade routes like the “Silk Road” that allowed first the Church, and then its persecution, to travel freely.
How did the Church move from being “regional” and confined largely to the West to becoming global… here is the story…
Christianity’s transformation from regional to global in the last 100 years
Christians most persecuted…
This reality is hitting the larger media outlets, today’s Wall Street Journal featured this article:
Cooper, Huffman and Adlerstein: The Most Persecuted Religion
An interesting post for all the “For the City” Churches.
One thing worth observing is that while Paul is said by many to have an URBAN strategy, the pattern in Luke-Acts is a HOUSEHOLD (oikos) strategy that stands out as much or more than the urban side. Of course urban areas were much more likely to host the extended family/business relations envisioned by the concept of Household/Oikos.
(I suppose it begs the question as to whether a first century city is exactly equivalent to a modern city sociologically, but that’s another question as well!)
A technical study on the topic of the “Household Conversion” being the focus of St. Paul’s ministry is found in:Household Conversion Narratives in Acts: Pattern and Interpretation (JSOT Supplement)
A much more popular, affordable, and practical exposition written by an actual evangelism practitioner and critic of the “prosperity gospel” (it’s worth the cost just to read the zingers!) is: The Luke 10 manual
It demonstrates how the “oikos” model is considered a viable mission strategy even today for a variety of reasons but does not address the “city” per se.
Great CS Lewis books at a great price on Amazon…
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