By David Lawrence Edwards
"David Edwards offers a delicate critique that is valuable to these without professional wisdom and pleasing to the theologically educated."
--Church development Digest
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Extra resources for Christianity: The First Two Thousand Years
Montanus and two women companions, Prisca and Maximilla, claimed to be prophets of the Paraclete (the Holy Spirit), inspired to announce in the 'language of the Spirit' that the thousand-year reign of Christ was about to begin as the new Jerusalem descended on two villages in the interior of Asia Minor. Before its arrival great austerity was demanded, martyrdom was welcomed and condemnation by Catholic bishops was met by organizing a new network of churches. Montanism combined some of the heady atmosphere of Gnosticism with a revival of the excited spirit of the Revelation of John.
These, too, are improbable tales but at least they suggest early Christian activity in the east. Eusebius seems more reliable when he names Pantaenus, a Christian scholar in Alexandria said to have visited India about 180, for it is known that trade between Egypt and India used the monsoon winds. Modern scholars tend to agree that Christianity spread with remarkable rapidity, however thinly, in these early years but that almost nothing can be known about any activity by 'the Twelve' apart from Peter.
Indeed, with a bold exaggeration the letter to Colossae already celebrated the Church's universality, for the 'gospel' (the good news) was 'bearing fruit and growing in the whole world'. And the political authorities were seen as allies, at least potentially. People in high positions deserve prayers because they can ensure 'a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness'. The burning hatred of the Revelation of John for Rome and its evil empire has been dampened by this teaching that the Christian revolution is not to be politically subversive.