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Was there anything unique in their theology or christology which motivated this great missionary zeal?And why did this tremendous missionary effort end in failure?
The site provides translations and commentary for these sources, including the New Testament, Apocrypha, Gnostics, Church Fathers, and some non-Christian references.The contextualization takes place not necessarily when the missionary succeeds in crossing the barriers of culture and language, so as to enable the listener to feel he understands the westerner's gospel, but when this new understanding is genuinely reflective of the New Testament message of Christ's redemptive love and mercy and involves a heart commitment to Him.The lesson of the gospel in the Near and Far East during the Middle Ages is that such failures as are referred to above can cause Christian communities where churches once flourished to disappear so completely that later generations not only do not know what the gospel is but are not even aware that it was ever present in their midst.Common examples are such things as an inadequate appreciation of the spiritual deadness of the natural man, failure to recognize the necessity of heart repentance and the meaning of baptism, the temptation to consider external acts of piety as necessarily representing inner holiness, the acceptance of liturgy and form in the place of justification by faith alone and identification with Christ, compromise with the world's secularism and other people's religious practices, sacramentalism, over-identification with a particular political regime, and concern with the elite that leads to failure to reach out to the common people.As troublesome a problem as any, however, to those desiring to bring the gospel by word and deed into a foreign culture, deeply concerned to make the love and salvation of Christ understood, is the difficulty of adequately contextualizing the gospel without compromising its true meaning and uniqueness.Here is evidence that God gives strength and conversions in the direst and seemingly most impossible circumstances.
Here also is evidence that pitfalls to the church's mission always exist.In those cases the only witness to the living may be the testimony of the dead, written on tombstones.An illustration of such a voice out of the past is that of a ninth century Christian in a central Asian cemetery, where the gentle words still whisper, "This is the grave of Pasak - The aim of life is Jesus, our Redeemer." The lessons of history need to be studied for, as one sage noted, "Those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat its failures in the future." In the year 635 A.Only a part of the story, however, of the Church of the East's missionary enterprise, from the second century to the end of the fourteenth, can be told here.The main focus will be the mission to China during the last 800 years of that period.Part II examines the christological controversy of the fifth century to ascertain what the church understood "Nestorianism" to be and what Nestorius's own presentation was, in order to come to an understanding of the theology of Nestorius and "Nestorianism." Those not desiring to follow the christological study of chapter six, with its linguistic considerations, may find the conclusion at the end of the chapter an adequate summary.