Notes From a Q&A With Philip Jenkins, Author Of Lost History of Christianity

In The Lost History of Christianity, Philip Jenkins reveals aspects of the religion that are far from popular knowledge. If widely understood, this Christianity would show the televangelists in their limitations.

Here are a few excerpts from the interview with Jenkins. The full Q & A can be read at the link below them.

  • Religions really do die. We think of ancient religions like those of the Aztecs or Mayas, which had millions of followers, not to mention copious scriptures. Also, something like the Manichaean faith once stretched from France to China, but that is now extinct. The Zoroastrian religion is not exactly extinct, but it has gone from being a vast world religion to the creed of a few hundred thousand believers.

  • One thing that strikes me is how much a dead religion influences its successor - how for instance the old Christianity left its mark on the successor faith of Islam.

  • Finally, there is a major theological issue that nobody addresses, the theology of extinction. How do Christians explain the death of their religion in a particular time and place? Is that really part of God's plan? Or maybe our time scale is just too short, and one day we will realize why this had to happen. But as I say, nobody is really discussing these questions.

  • Also, this Eastern world has a solid claim to be the direct lineal heir of the earliest New Testament Christianity. Throughout their history, the Eastern churches used Syriac, which is close to Jesus's own language of Aramaic, and they followed Yeshua, not Jesus. Everything about these churches runs so contrary to what we think we know. They are too ancient, in the sense of looking like the original Jerusalem church; and they are too modern, in being so globalized and multi-cultural. Found at Belief Net.
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