Much though I hate admitting that I don’t know something, the last few weeks have shown up something that should have been obvious to me: a large slice of church history is a complete blank. I suspect I’m not alone amongst Evangelical Protestants in somehow feeling that God hit the pause button on church history sometime around 600 AD and only hit play again when Luther nailed his theses to the door. My current bedtime reading, the Penguin History of Christian mission has done a lot to fill in the gaps which are left by most Protestant mission historians. It has been fascinating to read something of the way the medieaval church spread into China before dying out again. My views of early Catholic missions have been conditioned by the horror stories of colonial excesses in Central and South America. It has been an interesting counterbalance to read stories of genuine, humble men taking the message of Christ to Asia and fascinating to read of their struggles to help develop authentic indigenous expressions of the faith. In the 1600s there was an Indain Catholic bishop in Inda and a Chinese bishop in China. This was not repeated until the 1900s.
As I say, fascinating stuff and strongly reccomended to anyone who wants to get a broader picture of Christian mission down through the years.