Praying Christian Painting
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Evangelism in the Early Church 163

Attitude of Prayer

Christian Praying FigureDr Michael Green in "Evangelism in the Early Church" argues that the similarity of the pagan type of praying figure to the praying Christian painting would allow it to go unchallenged by most visitors to the home. But the Christian would recognize the praying Christian at once and the pagan acquaintance interested enough to enquire about its peculiarities would provide his host with an ideal opportunity of explaining the faith to him. At Dura-Europos, a Roman frontier fortress, one house church building has actually survived and may be visited today. Archaeologists discovered it under the sand in 1934. The house was built before 100 A.D. We do not know when Christians first used it as their meeting place, but in 232 A.D. the building was altered and made more suitable for services.✞

Paintings in Baptistry

Woman at WellThere were paintings on the baptistery walls including a praying Christian figure, and enough paint remains for us to recognize the subjects, and see what baptism meant to those Christians eighteen centuries ago. The central picture shows the scene from John 10.14-16 of the Good Shepherd bringing a sheep to the flock. On the side walls are paintings of the healed paralytic who heard the words, "Your sins are forgiven" from Mark 2.5. Jesus is shown taking Peter from the water into the boat representing the Church of Matthew 14.31. The woman with her water pot at Jacob's well is shown with Jesus' saying about the living water in John 4.10 and then the three women at the empty tomb "As Christ was raised, we too walk in newness of life" from Mark 16 and Romans 6.4.✞

"Praying Christian Painting"
by Ron Meacock © 2017

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