Shocking Discovery - Christianity In China First Century
Studies show that as early as 86 A.D., or the third year under the reign of "Yuanhe" of Eastern Han, Dynasty Christianity entered into China, 550 years earlier than the world accepted time.
When studying a batch of stone carvings of Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220 A.D.) stored and exhibited in the Museum of Han Stone Carvings in Nanking, a Christian theology professor was greatly surprised by some stone engravings demonstrating the Bible stories and designs of early Christian times.
Further studies showed that some of these engravings were made in 86 A.D., or the third year under the reign of "Yuanhe" of Eastern Han Dynasty, 550 years earlier than the world accepted time of Christianity's entrance into China.
The 74-year-old professor, who is also a standing member of the China Christian Council, showed a pile of photos of Han stone carvings and bronze basins taken by him. He also compared the designs on them with that of the Bible, composed of fish, birds, and animals demonstrating how God created the earth.
Designs on these ancient stones displayed the artistic style of early Christian times found in Iraq and Middle East area while bearing the characteristics of China's Eastern Han times.
The stone carvings, being important funeral objects, are mainly found in four cities, and Xuzhou is one of them. It is reported that by now more than 20 intact Han tombs have been found, from which nearly 500 pieces of engraved stones were discovered.
It is globally accepted that Christianity was first carried into China by a Assyrian Christian missionary Alopen in 635 A.D. the ninth year under the reign of "Zhenguan" of the Tang Dynasty (618-907 A.D.).
Some experts once raised doubts that Christianity may have entered China as early as the Eastern Han, but lacked evidence.
Nevertheless, the professors discovery serves to strongly back up the theory and the earlier works of his own.
Members of The Assyrian Church Of The East have long believed that the Apostle Thomas first brought the Gospel to India as early as 56AD, China as early at 64AD and Japan in about 70 AD.
The Keikyo Institute, recently completed a book called Japan:The Nation of the Cross which tells the ancient Christian history of Japan and China said `This find if confirmed for the first time validates the belief long held by The Church of the East that Christianity came to China before the first Century. It is truly timely as much of Asia rejects `western` Christianity while embracing `eastern` Christianity with deep and historic roots to their people`.
`Only when Asia `owns` their faith and can see that is has historic roots in their land, their culture and their people will it take hold and grow as it dis so long ago.`
The Keikyo Institute, dedicated to the study of historic Christianity in Asia is preparing a team to go on site shortly and has worked extensively in Japan, China and throughout Asia locating information on the early Church in Asia.
`Keikyo` or `shining belief` is the name the Church of the East was known by throughout China, Japan and much of Asia.