Global faith

Five hundred years ago Christianity was little more than the regional religion of the patchwork of societies that made up Europe. In other places where Christianity had once been dominant—North Africa, Egypt, Nubia, Palestine, Syria and Asia Minor—Islam had triumphed, and Christians had either disappeared or become minorities hemmed in by the laws of dhimmi (“protected minority”). In Mesopotamia and Persia, where churches had once thrived, Christians were now a remnant. A promising mission to Central Asia and China had sputtered out.


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