With Ray Bakke
As Syrian refugees begin to resettle in Europe and North America, it is critical that the church extend arms of welcome. However, few western Christians realize that many Syrian refugees come with a long-standing and deeply rooted Christian tradition of their own. The Syrian church dates back to the earliest Apostles: while Paul took the Roman Road west, Thomas and others took the silk and spice roads east. These eastern missions were extraordinarily successful: by 100 AD, as historian Phillip Jenkins notes, 50% of all the Christians in the world were living east of Baghdad.
This lecture traces the roots of the Syrian church all the way back to the Jewish exile in ancient Iraq and Persia. It follows the growth of that church through the early days of the faith and into a glorious era in which Christianity flourished in Central Asia, India, and China. Finally, it connects that storied history with the Syrian people today, showing us how the western church can welcome and learn from our Syrian brothers and sisters.