Title: The Church of the East
Author: John Holzmann
Major Themes: Church History, Asia, Ancient History
Synopsis: An in-depth look at a facet of church history we are not aware of most of the time—did you know that there were large Christian communities in China and Japan in or before the 7th and 8th centuries?
I have always loved history. That’s probably, in large part, why I was attracted to Sonlight Curriculum. Not only do I have the chance and the excuse to read all sorts of great books to my children, but I get to read things I’d never have the chance to, myself! The Church of the East is one of those books.
I never knew how far the Gospel spread to the east immediately after Jesus’ resurrection. We hear all about the church in Europe and right around the Mediterranean, but, in my experience, information about the church anywhere else is simply non-existent. This book changes all that. Countries such as Afghanistan, Tibet, China, and Japan, and all the surrounding areas, had large Christian communities within a few hundred years after Christ! What happened to them? Some were wiped out by the Muslim advance. Some were destroyed by the Mongols, when they advanced toward Europe killing everyone in their path. Hinduism developed, and the Krishna legend was invented as an alternative to the New Testament, with the authors basing the stories of Krishna on Jesus in order to turn Christian converts to their own religion.
Very easy to read, The Church of the East is a condensation of two older books, primarily Nestorian Missionary Enterprise: The Story of a Church on Fire, published in 1928. I found it quite fascinating.
WARNING: Not a read-aloud for children; it describes some horrific torture.
Reading Independently—Ages 12 – 15, 15 and Above, Adults