As far as I know, most of my ancestors came from Ireland, Scotland and England, a few came from various countries in mainland Europe, and some in my family also believe that we have a few native Americans amongst our ancestors. The Christian heritage of my family, at least people who would identify themselves by the name of Christian, seems to go back at least a few hundred years.
In Acts 16, the Bible records Paul’s Macedonian call, which probably was the beginning of the spread of the gospel in Europe. In Europe, Christianity eventually reached all the way to Ireland and Britain and became established by the third and fourth centuries. Sometime after that, I imagine that one of my ancestors became part of the church.
When I think of the Christian heritage of Europe, I can think of how old it is. I was reminded again on my trip to Ethiopia that Europe is not the only place outside the Middle East with an old Christianity, and it isn’t the only place for which the Bible records early evangelism. Africa also has ancient Christian roots. Christians in Ethiopia have a Christian heritage going back more than 1500 years.
Christianity became established in the ancient Ethiopian Aksumite Kingdom by the fourth century and has remained strong ever since. A unique attraction in the northern part of Ethiopia is rock-hewn churches from the 12-century. They can still be visited and are one example of the archeological testimony of the longevity of Christianity in Ethiopia.