Oversized and Overseas – Day 3

The Ruins of Carthage

CARTHAGE!  Today I got to get my nerd on by going to a history lover’s paradise: the ruins at Carthage.  When we say ‘North Africa’ today we think of mostly Islamic nations and Arab culture, but this was not always the case.  North Africa has a strong Christian heritage.  Names like Augustine and Tertullian echo in North Africa’s past.  Carthage had church councils, and the blood of Christian martyrs spattered the floor of the arena.

But like the dry, hot wind that sweeps up every summer from the Sahara, Christianity was all but swept away from the shores of the African coastline by a mixture of time, violence and apathy.  To the casual observer, it would seem that Christianity is a lost cause and is all but dead in the Arab world.  Yet as I chat with Christian friends here, I get the feeling that while the field is an extremely difficult one to work, it is still yielding fruit.  There are relationships being built with the national Christians and there are baptisms being reported in cities to the south.  Don’t get me wrong, if Tunisia was a mountain to be climbed, the Church is still at the foot, but make no mistake, she is there.

Let’s not give up on North Africa- We serve a God who resurrects the dead, and it is the firm belief of those who work here, and myself, that God can resurrect His church in the Arab world.

And now- some more pics from Carthage!

One of the oldest symbols for Christianity- the eight-spoked wheel. It superimposes every first letter (in Greek) of the words 'Jesus, Christ, God, Son, Savior' (which are also the letters for 'ichthus' the greek word for fish). There are several paving stones in Carthage with this symbol on them.

Ancient Christian Symbols at Carthage

The Arena at Carthage

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