Spreading the Gospel, Eighth & Ninth Century, A History of the Christian Church, Lesson 9, 1-3

In the Eighth Century, the Nestorians spread the Christian gospel into the far reaches of the interior of Asia. The Tarters, who received the Gospel, were as yet untouched by the Mohammedans and Christianity, except for an occasional attack by the Moslems, enjoyed a firm footing in a great portion of Asia.

In the Ninth Century, a number of tribes of people living in Dalmatia, a part of Southern Russia, sent a delegation to Constantinople to offer to submit to the Grecian empire and to embrace Christianity at the same time. This occasioned great joy in Constantinople and a number of Greek Christians were sent to instruct them in the Gospel. The Russians, who at this time inhabited the Ukraine, also were converted in the Ninth Century because of a peace treaty made with the Grecian empire which allowed the Gospel to be preached in Russia. This too occasioned great joy, because shortly before the peace treaty, the Russians had fitted out a fleet on the Baltic sea for the purpose of ravaging the seas of the Greek empire. It must be acknowledged that these conversions were made upon a much better foundation than those of former ages. During these times, missionaries were sent into the countries to teach the people, while formerly, they were baptized and left alone. Even now, however, the gospel taught was far different from the simple gospel of the apostles.

In Europe, there were still many nations still untouched by the gospel. Except for the Bavarians, all of Germany was still pagan. In the Eighth Century, an English monk named Boniface was the first missionary able to make any headway with these savage German people. We are told that the zeal this monk had for spreading the Gospel was second only to his zeal for promoting the authority of the Pope. Furthermore, in his efforts, he did not restrict himself to preaching, but also used sufficient force and fraud to multiply the number of Christians. Another monk worthy of note during this time was named Willebrod who was able to preach to the Saxons, not those who had emigrated to Britain earlier, but those who remained and were a savage and powerful tribe in Germany. These Saxons had a war with Charlemagne, who hoped by converting them to reduce their ferocity. Peaceful evangelizing was unsuccessful and Charlemagne finally waged several wars upon these people before they could be forced to become Christians and even then, they slid back whenever they had the opportunity.


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