Inexplicable Part 6: To the Ends of the Earth

While Christianity was exploding in China in the early 1900s, Australia was conducting its first national census and counting itself a Christian nation. But how did the Gospel message first reach its shores?

Christianity’s journey to the nations of the Southern Hemisphere had surprising origins.

Flashback to 1780. British prisons were overflowing. The onset of the Industrial Revolution had sent thousands of unemployed farm workers to urban centers, where crime was out of control and prostitution rampant. Britain needed a solution. And the unique innovation they came up with was…“transportation.”

Transportation didn’t just change the course of human history. It provided a surprising way the Gospel could be taken to the ends of the earth.

The First Fleet that set sail in 1787 was embarking on a grand experiment. Could convicted criminals become the foundation for a new outpost of the British Empire? The inclusion of a chaplain, as it turned out, proved far more than an afterthought. The redemptive message of the Gospel traveling to the far side of the planet would mark a pivotal moment in history.

In the final episode of our historical series Inexplicable: How Christianity Spread to the Ends of the Earth, we land in Australia – for many, literally, the “ends of the earth.”

Our explorations take us from Australia to New Zealand to the cannibal islands of the South Pacific and ultimately, to Africa.

These are vast and lush lands. The great Outback of Australia and the tropical jungles of Central Africa. Here we find the stories of heroic missionaries and native peoples who, upon embracing the power of Jesus’ gospel, are transformed and change the cultures around them.

Our story began in Jerusalem where, as Jesus ascended into heaven, He commanded His disciples to GO into all the world. And they did.

They went first to their known worlds but then to the “uttermost” regions of the world. To Europe and Asia and Africa. And now, as we conclude this monumental series, we discover the history of His Word still traveling, 1800 years later, to the farthest corners of the globe. And even, in a spiritual irony, back to Africa where today we find the greatest revivals on the planet.

We called this mini-series of historical documentaries Inexplicable with great intentionality. To the human eye, it’s inconceivable that a tiny baby born in a smelly barn could ultimately change the world. It’s incomprehensible how millions of followers of a Jewish messiah would risk life, family and fortune to fan the flames first seen at Pentecost. It’s humanly unfathomable to have imagined that two millennia later, over two billion people openly embrace the love of Jesus and live to make him known.

Written by:
Norman C. Mintle, Ph.D.
Executive Producer