Inexplicable Part 5: Asia: The Great Wall & Beyond
Is there a person alive who has not seen a picture of the iconic Great Wall of China?
Probably not. But in the fifth installment of our series Inexplicable: How Christianity Spread to the Ends of the Earth we explore the vast territories of the Asian continent. And it’s this wall, that was designed to protect and separate a Chinese dynasty from the rest of the world in the third century, that serves as a metaphor for the difficulties encountered by Christians attempting to bring the Gospel to Asia.
Those missionary efforts began in the first century. Shortly after the death and resurrection of Jesus most of the apostles ventured West from Jerusalem toward Europe or South into Africa. But church history says the Apostle Thomas went East. Don’t miss the irony: the apostle who doubted Jesus the most was the one who went the greatest distance to proclaim his message. He spent his final days in India sharing the love of Jesus.
And just as the system of Roman roads helped early Christians travel throughout Europe, it was the Silk Road that opened the door to China and beyond. From the Day of Pentecost, travelers who heard Peter’s sermon and were among the 3,000 who believed it began the long journey home. Some of those lived to the east and as the good news of Jesus spread, traders carried the message as far as China even in the first century. It was real and normal people who carried the life-changing story of Jesus who were the first missionaries back to their villages.
By the 13th century, the Mongol Empire was the largest in the world. Its ruler, the infamous Genghis Khan was open to all religions, in fact, he invited Christians into his government where many excelled.
The quest to reach Asia with the Gospel is filled with the stories of some of the greatest missionaries of all time: Francis Xavier, Matteo Ricci, William Carey and Hudson Taylor. Meet them all and hear of their bravery, ministries and sacrifices in episode 5 of Inexplicable.
Join the quest into this exotic and often chaotic world. Explore the power of the gospel to tell its stories of truth in dark and hostile lands. But despite the greatest obstacles – the greatest of “walls” erected to keep out the Gospel, today 2,000 year later, well over 100 million Christians are living testimonies to the love of Jesus.
We are privileged to witness this glorious and ever-growing story of God’s love.
Norman C. Mintle, Ph.D.