As we continue to look at history, we see the Mission being conveyed throughout the known world, and into foreign nations. The beginning of the fourth century marked a great change for the Christian faith when the Roman Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity. This faith was no longer a small group of believers but had become a powerful element within society as the national religion. The church continued to grow, and over the next few centuries creeds and customs were established, churches were built and bishops were appointed. Through the following years, other nations ruled and expanded the known world, but the Christian faith remained through the transitions.
During these years, we see the priority of the Mission rise and fall within the body of Christ. One movement that arose with a conviction for the Mission was the Jesuit order, otherwise known as the Society of Jesus, started by Ignatius of Loyola in 1540. Choosing to be Mission minded, missions and education became their focus. Due to their zeal, two of the most successful missionaries to the Far East arose from this order, Matthew Ricci and Francis Xavier.
Ricci was sent to India to teach, but through the years he became well known as an academic and was eventually invited by the emperor in 1600 to the capital. Here, he shared the Gospel successfully because he came to know the culture and customs, and God open doors to him that had been shut to others. He then used their language to explain the heart of God. He remained on Mission in China until he died.
Xavier began his missionary endeavors throughout India, where he found both success and persecution. In his travels, he met and converted a Japanese man, from whom he learned about Japan and their customs. Eager to evangelize this new field he sailed to Japan and became the first known missionary to reach this country. Throughout the rest of his life he worked in both Japan and India growing the church by the thousands.
Compass Classroom's resource from an excerpt of Dave Raymond's course entitled Modernity provides an overview of the Jesuit movement. A highlight of this movement was the work of Xavier in successfully bringing the Gospel to Asia.
In this excerpt from Dave Raymond's Modernity, they explore missions in Japanese culture by the Jesuits. It is a story of the Gospel prevailing in the midst of persecution and oppression.
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