A week or so ago, it was reported that archaeologists uncovered what they believed to be the world’s oldest surviving church, in Jordan. The archaeologists dated it to the 1st century, and due to a mosaic with the inscription “the 70 beloved by God and the divine” on the floor, they suggested the cave church was started by the 70 disciples of Christ who fled Jerusalem due to persecution.

I was extremely skeptical of the claim upon hearing of it. While I held out the possibility that this cave was a gathering of 1st century believers, I found it beyond belief that it was started by the 70 disciples of Christ. It appears my skepticism is warranted. National Geographic has an article detailing the counter-arguments of critics. They not only dispute the claim that this cave church was started by the 70 disciples of Christ, but that it was a first century church as well. This appears to be another instance of archaeological sensationalism.