Christianity and the Romans in England-Part 1 by Allen Clark
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Here begins a series of chronicles of Linda's and my Nov. 2013 trip to England that will hopefully be more than just a travelogue, although The Christian Traveler's Guide to Great Britain, which was a principal resource for our trip and whose general editor was Irving Hexham, was what I utilized to plan our travel. Herein follows a historical guide to England as derived by us with especial focus on the spiritual, historical, and military aspects. Our travel evolved into a quest in seeking our Christian roots. That it became!
"Visiting Great Britain to learn about great acts of faith can be a rewarding experience, and it is something all Christians, regardless of race or nationality, can find profitable." (Guide, 9).
Our tour of Bath in southwest England began our journey to discover the Christian roots of Great Britain. Before our trip a fascinating book titled The Drama of the Lost Disciples by George F. Jowett was introduced thusly by the Reverend Ansley Rash back in 1961, "...this book reminds us very forcibly that in those early days while the Roman Empire was still pagan men braved the fury of the elements and the peril of the sword to journey to the Britannic Isles in order to proclaim the Gospel of love, light, and liberty, and then as the Heralds of the Cross to bear it from Glastonbury (just south of Bath), and Iona (on the west coast of Scotland), Bangor (Wales), and Lindisfarne (NE England) to the far places of the earth, for Britain, not Rome, was then the Lighthouse of Europe."
In the time of Christ in Jerusalem the Sadducees were to have their way in the eventual death of Jesus, but one man stood in their path. He was Joseph, the great uncle of Jesus, known scripturally, and in secular history as Joseph of Arimathea." (Drama, 13). It was this Joseph who took Jesus down from the cross and buried Him in his private sepulchre. Joseph remained in Judea for a few years thereafter. He was identified as, "...the indefatiguable head of the Christian underground in Judea and the guardian of Christ's only earthly treasure-His mother." (Drama, 13).
Jowett's book portrays Joseph of Arimathea as a true setter of the cornerstone of our Christian way of life through his departure in 36A.D. from Judea in a boat without sails or oars into the Meditteranean Sea and an eventual migration to France and the British Isles to places south of Bath. Jowett also defines the name of our heritage thusly, "'Christ' is the Greek word meaning 'consecrated', and 'ian' is from the Hebrew world 'am', meaning a person or people. Therefore the true meaning of the word 'Christian' and 'Christians' would be a 'consecrated person' or 'consecrated people.'" (Drama, 37).
The practical question for today is how do you define your Christianity, cultural or "consecrated"? The time of the Advent of our Christ is a good time for reflection.
Stay tuned for this fantastic ride through Great Britain and the saga of the Lost Disciples and the spread of Christianity.