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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.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.How it fared in that confrontation is almost totally unknown.The result is that when someone asks, "Where was the evangelical church of Christ during those long `Dark Ages' of Europe when the Church of Rome usurped the place of the Holy Spirit? The Iona colony of Scotland may be mentioned, or the later Waldenses of the Italian Alps, both involving small numbers.Much of the material of the latter two parts was prepared during studies at Calvin Theological Seminary when writing on the theme, "The Theology of the Nestorian Missionaries in China from 600-1000 A. The writer is much indebted to the very able assistance of Dr.
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.
There is a better answer to the question, however, and the following narrative seeks to shed some light on it.
The story of the Church of the East's mission to Asia is one that needs to be told to today's church.
Research materials for writing on this subject are available, although they are scattered over half the earth and are in various languages.
Little, however, is written for the reader who is not pursuing advanced studies.