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Discussion Forum : News and Current Events : Archaeologists Discover Ancient Church in Israel...

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ccchhhrrriiisss
Member



Joined: 2003/11/23
Posts: 4476


 Archaeologists Discover Ancient Church in Israel...

[b]Archaeologists Discover Ancient Church[/b]

[i]By ARON HELLER, Associated Press Writer
Sat Nov 5, 4:59 PM ET[/i]

JERUSALEM - Israeli archaeologists on Saturday said they have discovered what may be the oldest Christian church in the Holy Land on the grounds of a prison near the biblical site of Armageddon.

The Israeli Antiquities Authority said the ruins are believed to date back to the third or fourth centuries, and include references to Jesus and images of fish, an ancient Christian symbol.

"This is a very ancient structure, maybe the oldest in our area," said Yotam Tepper, the head archaeologist on the dig.

The dig took place over the past 18 months at the Megiddo prison in northern Israel, with the most significant discoveries taking place in the past two weeks, Tepper said. Scholars believe Megiddo to be the New Testament's Armageddon, the site of a final war between good and evil.

Tepper said the discovery could shed new light on an important period of Christianity, which was banned by the Romans until the fourth century.

"Normally we have from this period in our region historical evidence from literature, not archaeological evidence," he said. "There is no structure you can compare it to, it is a very unique find."

Channel Two television, which broke the story Saturday evening, broadcast pictures of a detailed and well-preserved mosaic bearing the name of Jesus Christ in ancient Greek and images of fish.

Pietro Sambi, the Vatican's ambassador to Israel, praised the find as a "great discovery."

"Of course, all the Christians are convinced of the history of Jesus Christ," he told Channel Two. "But is it extremely important to have archaeological proof of a church dedicated to him? Certainly."

Joe Zias, an anthropologist and a former curator with the Israeli Antiquities Authorities, said the discovery was significant but unlikely to be the world's oldest church. He said there were no churches until Emperor Constantine legalized Christianity in the fourth century.

"The earliest it could be is fourth century and we have other fourth-century churches. I think what is important here is the size, the inscription and the mosaics," he said. "I think it is an important find as far as early Christianity but I wouldn't say it was the oldest church in the world."

The Antiquities Authority said more than 60 prison inmates took part in the dig in recent months. Channel Two said there is speculation that Israel may move the prison and open a tourist attraction in its place.

"If it's between a prison and a church, I would like a church," Zias said. "You can put a prison anywhere."

Israeli Tourism Minister Avraham Hirshzon said the discovery could greatly increase tourism to Israel.

"If we nurture this properly, then certainly there will be a large stream of tourists who could come to Israel. There is great potential and together with the evangelical center in the north could bring great strides in tourism," he told Channel Two.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20051105/ap_on_sc/israel_ancient_church

:-)


_________________
Christopher

 2005/11/6 0:15Profile









 Re: Archaeologists Discover Ancient Church in Israel...

Quote:
He said there were no churches until Emperor Constantine legalized Christianity in the fourth century.

This is a remarkable statement of which we who seek to be 'church' today, should [u]take note[/u] and perhaps be far more willing to embrace a style of spiritual 'guerrilla' warfare early Christians must have waged, if we are serious about bringing the kingdom of heaven, to earth.

Having said that, many of them simply died for the sake of the gospel. This is the abiding challenge. Would I? Would you?

 2005/11/6 5:45
Snowdrop
Member



Joined: 2004/2/9
Posts: 13


 Re:

My answer to the question, would i die for the sake of the Gospel is YES, my fervent prayer is that i am faithful and strong enough, by His Grace, led by The Holy Spirit to live for it, to His Glory. Amen. God Bless you Dorcas.

 2005/11/6 6:20Profile
ccchhhrrriiisss
Member



Joined: 2003/11/23
Posts: 4476


 Re:

Hi dorcas...!

Quote:
This is a remarkable statement of which we who seek to be 'church' today, should take note and perhaps be far more willing to embrace a style of spiritual 'guerrilla' warfare early Christians must have waged, if we are serious about bringing the kingdom of heaven, to earth.

That is a very interesting thing to think about. I believe in fellowshipping with believers (and "[i]all the more as we see that day approaching[/i]"). But the notion that a church consists of a meeting, a meeting place, or place where we partake in Christian rituals, has always preplexed me. Every time that I read the New Testament, I do not find a church similar to the concept as found in Western nations. A church, according to the New Testament, seems to have been the fellowship of all believers within a given town or city.

I have worked with some missionaries overseas. I remember traveling to the Tarahumara, and how the believers there would journey for days over mountains by foot just to fellowship with other believers. Until we built a "sanctuary" for them, the Tarahumara believers would meet beneath trees or in caves. And the Tarahumara do not have [i]electricity[/i], let alone televisions in order to watch "Christian TV." Thus, the services in those caves hardly seem recognizable compared with what Western churches deem as "normal." There was not much "shouting" during the messages by the pastors or leaders. In fact, the Tarahumara are natually quiet-natured, and typically non-emotional. Yet to watch those who have found Christ trembling and weeping under the knowledge of His presence was beautiful. Those were some of the most awesome memories that I have ever experienced!

I just hope that the Church in the west (and around the world) will come to the understanding that it doesn't matter what type of building or programs your local "church" has -- if you don't truly fellowship together in His presence, then the meeting is in vain.

:-)


_________________
Christopher

 2005/11/6 12:15Profile
jeremyhulsey
Member



Joined: 2003/4/18
Posts: 777


 Re:

Quote:
He said there were no churches until Emperor Constantine legalized Christianity in the fourth century.



Hi dorcas,

This statement from the article is actually not accurate. During times of peace in the first 3 centuries of the Church rather large buildings and schools were built at times. Under one Emporer the Church made it on to the list of officially recognized religions for about 40 years shortly before some of the greatest persecutions. During that time there was a church building in a city in Italy that was larger than all the pagan temples.

However, true Christianity, whether in a building or a catacomb, as I'm sure you would agree throughout all the history of the Church, has been that of living in the Spirit.

In Christ,
Jeremy Hulsey


_________________
Jeremy Hulsey

 2005/11/6 14:15Profile









 Re: no churches till 4th century

Quote:
Under one Emporer the Church made it on to the list of officially recognized religions for about 40 years shortly before some of the greatest persecutions. During that time there was a church building in a city in Italy that was larger than all the pagan temples.

Thanks for putting me right here.

I guess having the largest religious building did absolutely [i]nothing[/i] to endear unbelievers to [u]the Way[/u] of faith....

 2005/11/6 15:34
Christisking
Member



Joined: 2005/7/20
Posts: 672
Los Angeles, California

 Re:

Pagan Christianity: The Origins of Our Modern Church Practices by Frank Viola is a great resource on how the church has evolved throughout history.

I consider this book a must read. It will change the way you look at "church".

You can order from this link for about $9.00 US

[url=http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0966665732/qid=1123733606/sr=2-2/ref=pd_bbs_b_ur_2_2/103-9785954-7062203]Pagan Christianity[/url]


_________________
Patrick Ersig

 2005/11/6 16:08Profile









 Re:

great article

 2005/11/6 16:09
KingJimmy
Member



Joined: 2003/5/8
Posts: 4419
Charlotte, NC

 Re:

It is interesting to see that sometimes the church was converting homes into sancturaries even in the midst of the great persecutions that would eventually arise. Such as under the Emperor Decius, also at the time Christianity saw it's greatest growth to date.


_________________
Jimmy H

 2005/11/6 22:14Profile





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