FRANK E. KEAYFrank E. Keay was ordained a clergyman of the Church of England in 1908. He went to India that same year under the Church Missionary Society and was stationed at Jubbulpore as Principal of the Mission High School until 1922. He served in India intermittently until 1957. He holds the B.A., M.A., and D. Litt. degrees from London University.
The history of Christianity’s great expansion in early days and of the subsequent disappearance of the Church in Asia and in other areas has much to teach us in these days. But to most Christians it is not known. Few Christian people pay much attention to Church history.
Tradition has it that some of the apostles carried the Gospel to Eastern lands. In the Acts of the Apostles we read that Christians who left their homes because of persecution “went everywhere preaching the Word.” It is probable that persecution drove many of them out of the Roman Empire and into the East.
Just when Christianity first came to Persia (Iran) is uncertain; but what was called the Church of the East centered there and spread all over Asia. Later it was called (by nonmembers) the Nestorian Church, for it accepted the views of Nestorius, who was condemned by the Council of Ephesus, A.D. 431. The Church of the East was certainly very active in spreading the Gospel.
Edessa, with its theological school, in northern Mesopotamia was the center of Christianity in the early days. During the Decian and Diocletian persecutions Christians left the Roman Empire, and a century and a half later the Nestorians fled into Persia. Here, under Sapor II (A.D. 339 to 379) there was fierce persecution and Christians suffered martyrdom rather than deny Christ. The price that was paid was heavy, but it purged ...1
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