April 15, 2005

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

A PRAYER – While we usually don’t subscribe to too much of what Francis of Assissi said, the following is good.   “Lord make me an instrument of Thy peace.   Where there is hatred, let me sow love, where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is sadness, joy; where there is darkness, light.” “O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console; not so much to be understood, as to understand; not so much to be loved, as to love.   For it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.”  I know I have trouble with these things.   I would say that it is a good prayer for our selfish age.

TO THE EAST BOTH NORTH AND SOUTH   part 7 – conclusion
Tibet – A Tibetan manuscript has been found on which is painted across in Sassanian style.   The cross has been identifed as the work of a local Tibetan artisan.   Some texts in translation today from these long years ago in Tibet show strong Christian influence and treat salvation by grace, which they say interrupts the operation of Karmalaw. THE EVIDENCE that has been found and that is being found indicate that Christendom in Asia was more widespread and earlier that many generally realize.   The list of evidence is fascinating: Syriac materials, documents in Iranian and old Turkic, the Nestorian Monument, Chinese manuscripts, paintings, carvings and artifacts, letters, historial and biographical narratives.The Nestorian Monument was discovered at Sian-fu (Chang-an) in 1623. It apparently was originally in the Nestorian monastery at Chouchih, southwest of Sian-fu, in 781.   Measuring over nine feet high and more than three feet wide and a foot deep it has a tablet headed with a Persian inscribed cross standing in a lotus blossom and edged with flame, flowers and cloud formations.   The text inscribed has one thousand nine hundred Chinese characters along with seventy words of Syriac and appoximately eighty names of bishops, presbyters, monks and others.   This text outlines Bible teaching on: creation, the fall of all people, the birth of Jesus, who is described as establishing good works and right faith, unfolding life and abolishing death.   It also deals with the ascension, the work of the Holy Spirit, the twenty-seven books of Scripture and baptism. Among Chinese manuscripts the “A-lo-pen” documents were written by or for the first bishop of the Chinese church of the east about 641.   All this and more points out how our gracious God was at work in time harvesting souls for eternity in areas we generally don’t think about.  It is clear that there were vast numbers of Christians in their churches throughout Asia which were stretched over vast distances for over twelve centuries wholly independent of European Christendom.   We may at times forget Rev. 7:9 “a great multitude which no man can number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and tongues.”In heaven we will be with that vast and varied multitude praising Him. Now let us praise Him for what He has done in His thrust to the East with the Gospel.   Our God outstripped the Eastern Orthodox church after the great schism and worked well beyond the eastern Patriarch’s spiritual reach.We can always pray that the past is prologue to the future.   The People’s Republic of China is the most populous nation rivaling India.   From the eleventh to the fourteenth centuries God was at work there with His Word from Mongolia to the southern and eastern China (in for instance: Yunnan, Kwantung and Kwangsi).   It is estimated by some that perhaps ten percent of Chinese are Christians, this includes both the formal churches and the vast number of ‘house’ churches.   Who knows? God does!   That would be truly astounding.   In India with its democracy there the Christians number perhaps four to eight percent.   God was at work and is at work to reach out with the precious water of life.   What a true joy to see the record of His work in Asia and to anticipate a learning more of what He is doing even now though unknown to us. The material in these seven parts was taken from:   “Handbook of Source Materials for Students of Church History” by William G. Young.”The Spreading Flame” by F.F. Bruce, “Hidden History of Christianity in Asia” by John C. England,”An Introduction to Indian Church History” by C.B. Firth.

Pastor Koenig