February 24, 2005

I Cor. 16:9   For a wide door for effective work has opened to me,and there are many adversaries.

NEWS Catechism Contest in the Nigerian CLC:  All of you know how hard we have been working in these last years to see that all pastors and then all congregations have the catechism. But of course just having the catechism is not enough. The catechism,”The Little Bible”, must be learned.   Last August the NCLC had a ‘catechism contest’ throughout its 16 stations that were close enough to send students.   Each station was allowed to send three students to compete in the recitation of memorization of the catechism.   The ‘winners’, that is, those who did the best in memorization and recitation were awarded gifts of money. One of the NCLC members, Martin Essien, underwrote the contest.   This first contest was greeted with much appreciation to work with the children to better learn the catechism. Next year there will again be a ‘catechism contest.’   Perhaps some ofour sister churches might think about this approach.   Or if some are trying something else, let us know so we can share it with the brethren.

We continue to review how God was at work to see that His Gospel was spread throughout the East in the early years and this was excluding through the Eastern Orthodox or the Roman church. In the west up to 400 the Gospel was spreading through France, Germany going to the Burgundians, Goths and Visigoths and to the Franks in the south and the Frisians in the north.
200-300 IN THE EAST: During the third century more than twenty bishoprics were established in Tigris-Euphrates (I hope you have a map that you are using) area including that of Seleucia-Ctesiphon and others further east between the Caspian Sea and the Persian Gulf…Christian communities were already well established in Armenia (the first proclaimed Christian state/kingdom), Arabia and Khurasan (northest Persia)..Christianity thus became a significant minority within the Persian Empire.   Keep a map handy.
400 IN THE EAST: Between 410 and 497, twenty-four new bishops were appointed, so that episcopal oversight was now provided for the region from Armenia to the Persian Gulf, and to the east through Bactria to Baluchistan.   This was eastern independent work separate from the Latin church. It travelled the land routes eastwards from Merv and Samarquand to ‘further India’ and China from at least as early as the fifth century…early settlements…many were the work of eastern Christians and these centers grew wherever “Persian’, ‘Arab’, or ‘Indian’ trade became established in central, south or southeast Asia.   We have stories of an amazing missionary endeavor, which saw monks and merchants, travellers, pastors, traders and physicians carrying the ‘pearl of the Gospel’ across all the trade routes of ancient and ‘medieval’ Asia to the far north, east and south.   This often meant up to year-long journeys by camel, by ass or even on foot, across the many tracks of the ‘Silk Road’, or by equally lengthy sea-trips along the many routes of Arab, Persian or Indian traders.   They travelled on foot wearing sandals, a staff in their hands and on their backs a basket filled with copies of Scripture and other religious books. (England – Hidden Christianity)

Praise God for what He did through these ordinary people!
Pastor David Koenig