Father, we know that when Thomas built a church at 52 A.D. in India, if those disciples and young evangelists had just walked slowly, they could have gotten to Japan's edge in 4 years or at the most 8 years But we know they came by horses. And so, Father, we ask you to forgive us for blotting out all those great works, great sacrifices, great martyrs, those great evangelists going by foot and by horse preaching the Gospel along those seven different silk roads, and going by boat. We know that in your great plan You had the Assyrians come and take those captured Jews to Assyria and put them up in that mountain in the North of today's Iraq. But we know that when they heard the word that "He is risen," and when they heard that Thomas was martyred, the converted Jews and Assyrians came in tribes all the way past India, past China and Chejudo into Japan in 199.
But, Lord, we don't know what happened in between 199 and the day they left those mountains.
So Father, as this blasphemy is against Your power and Your Name and the disciples and evangelists and missionaries of Jesus who went throughout all of Asia, we ask You to forgive us for printing in books references, tour guides, history books that You were so dumb, ignorant, impotent and all of Your 22 great attributes were not being used until that Jesuit from Portugal, Francis Xavier, got here 1,549 years later. We ask You to forgive us for this and ask you to shed more light on the great Light of the World (the Hikari no Shukyo), Christianity.
And Jesus, we ask You to forgive us for believing the lie that the Nestorians were the heretics and so therefore to be discounted and written off as "a sect," and 1,800 years of Your glorious history, martyrs and evangelists were wiped clean by that one word, "heresy," until Dr. John M.L. Young's book, "By Foot to China." Until in 1997 the Pope of Rome and the Patriarch of the Assyrian church met and apologized for calling each other "heretics." We ask you now, Lord Jesus, to somehow get your flashlight of history out and reveal with your great light, the Hikari or the luminous bright light, shine it on that history.
And now as we, in 49 years, have dug into a tenth of what should be known' and brought it together in this unworthy book, we ask you, Lord Jesus, to help us as it goes like a rolling snowball, gathering more and more momentum, picking up pieces of evidence here and there until we can see the full picture of what You did in these last and lost 1,800 years and show us what we should and shouldn't do. The mistakes they made we shouldn't repeat and the great successes that they had, we should share in. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
New Approach to Evangelizing in Japan and Asia
"Keikyo": "The World's Greatest Missionary Movement" By Ev. Kenny Joseph, missionary/evangelist to Japan and Asia since 1951.
Why did Wheaton College's President V.R Edman and Yale University's Kenneth Scott Latourette both say, without knowing each other, that the Nestorian (or Keikyo, Assyrian Church of the East) missionaries were the greatest missionary movement the world has ever seen!"?
At a third millennial World Conference on Asian Missions' we studied how this world's greatest missionary movement, Keikyo, was vilified by Roman Catholics as a "heresy,N and erased from Japanese history by Japanese Buddhists and Shinto militarists, feared by unbelieving Jews and massacred by the Moslems.
The greatest Asian scholar on Keikyo, Dr. Yoshiro Saeki, said: This movement was completely self-supporting, propagating and sustaining." They went out not as "lone ranger" missionaries one at a time, but as "zokus" or tribes, complete with carpenters, teachers, builders, doctors, nurses, evangelists, home-schooler's, pastors, scribes, horses, goats and sheep caravans from their seminaries in Edessa and Baghdad to India, China, Korea, Japan, Viet Nam, Tibet,the Philippines, Mongolia, etc.
After an extensive 49-year study of their history, we ask, "Where are they now?" They are headquartered in Teheran, Baghdad and Chicago with the Patriarch Mar Dinkha and hundreds of churches world-wide.
To destroy the "heresy" stigma, Dr. John M.L. Young in his book, "By Foot to China," proves by their own theology that they would be today's evangelicals and the heretics would be the Ave Maria worshiping Roman Catholics. The Church of the East said, "Please send us 500 copies. Dr. Young explains what we believe better than we can.
In 1997 the Pope apologized to the Nestorian Patriarch in Vienna, Austria, and signed a "peace pact." Having demolished the myth that Nestorianism is a heresy, we refute the next lie that Christianity was first introduced to Japan by the Roman Catholic Jesuit Xavier in 1549. The primary source is a Roman Catholic missionary in Japan, Mario Marega, of the Salesian Fathers. He gave a major paper in 1952 to the Historian's Toho Gakkai entitled, "Pre-Xavarian Christianity in Japan." He documented in his book how the Eastern Christian Nestorians came to Japan and built one of their first churches in Kadono in Kyoto in 603 A.D., 1000 years before Xavier brought his Western Latin religion.
Dr. Saeki wrote that the first Middle Eastern Asian Christian missionaries came to Japan in 199 A.D., or 1,800 years ago and the Nestorians came in 515, a thousand years before Xavier, and that Xavier didn't "make 300,000 converts" (as evangelical Bible college missions textbooks falsely write), but according to Japan's NHK had only 800 adherents. Most of their converts were re-baptized backslidden Nestorians..."Ana-Baptist Catholics."
Nestorians are mostly Assyrians like Japanese are Shintoists. Now a big temptation is to compromise with the Roman Catholics. Since the Pope and the Eastern Church Patriarch met and apologized to each other in 1997 in Austria. Both have apologized that they were wrong in 480 A.D.. but there is no substitute for Ephesians 2:8,9 that "Salvation is by grace through faith" plus nothing, and "There is only one Mediator between God and man, the Man Christ Jesus"
What are the implications for today's missionary to Buddhists?
1. Proclaim that Christianity wasn't made in N.Y. and the Bible wasn't written in Chicago, but in the Middle East, the center of the world standing squarely between the east and the west. That's where Jesus was born and that's where the Bible and Gospel came from. Therefore, Christianity is no more foreign in Japan than India's Guatama Buddha.
2. Proclaim that we are the "older brother" and that one time in Japan's history, Christianity was the largest organized religion to demolish the "This was always a Buddhist country, heresy.
3. Proclaim that up to 1,300,000 Christian Japanese were martyred before America was founded as a country.
4. Millions of today's Buddhists have Christian ancestors, We must ask them to return to the "faith of their fathers." Since Buddhism as an "organized religion" is actually only about 200 years old (before that priests and temples acted as a city hall, register of births and deaths, address changes, etc.) we must seek out some of the 80 Japanese surnames which have Christian ancestors. Going back 5 generations there are names like Azuma, Higashi, Hata etc., and and we can ask them to come return to their martyred ancestor's faith.
5. Avoid some of the mistakes that brought Keikyo low, such as a) praying for the dead, because the Chinese emperor bribed them to; b) watering down the Gospel under the pretext of contextualization to make it more palatable to the natives; c) compromising their faith by inter-marrying with unbelieving nationals and thus diminishing their strict separatism; d) trusting too much of their own nationalism and their own doctors, teachers, preachers and not delegating more responsibility to nationals, as Paul did to Timothy and as Timothy did to other faithful men. We see this today in Korean, Filipino and Chinese missionaries to Japan. Our Mission sponsors 50 of them and talk from experience. Many are home missions done in a foreign country.
6. Preach the minimum Gospel in pre-evangelism: Japanese "Christian weddings," where in over 1,000 million dollar chapels, 80 to 120 attend. A Southern Baptist calls this "Japan's greatest mass evangelistic ministry today." Hudson Taylor's Mission, O.M.F. calls it, "a most effective evangelistic ministry."
This is all documented in a 49-year researched 300-page bilingual Japanese-English illustrated book even now under peer review by 30 Japanese scholars, called `'Jizo and Jesus in Japan." The pre-publication copies can be ordered for \3,000 or $3O U.S. We look forward to this book being published in 2000 if Jesus doesn't come. "Even so, come, Lord Jesus!"
This book was written for a 12-year old non-Japanese who may be living in Sydney, Australia, Stockholm, Sweden; of San Diego, USA> They couldnft care less about all the Japanese terms - gJidai, Shogun, Daimyo, Tenno, Bafuku.h And this goes on into eras from gJomon to Showa to Heisei.h A scholar would be insulted at the simplicity of the names and dates and using todayfs terms. Japanese are not different, unfathomable people. One day in 1955 when I was the editor of a missionary quarterly, the Japan Harvest, we had assembled some famous speakers in the mountain resort of Karuizawa. One was Merrill Vories-Hitotsuyanagi who had married into the imperial family. He was a lay Christian who did missionary work in Omihachiman and was also an architect and founded the Mentholatum company. We asked him, gDr. Vories, you have been here for a long time and youfre married to a Japanese wife (at that time very, very rare), can you explain to us young missionaries the mystical, mysterious unfathomable Japanese Person and mindset?h He said, gGet your notebooks out, boys. Ready? Here is the secret and write it down: the Japanese people are...100% human. Period. Paragraph. End of my speech.h
He was also the man whom emperor Hirohito asked to counsel him. The Emperor said he would meet him at a certain time in the Imperial Garden. He said he would be walking and asked Dr. Vories to catch up with him because he had a question he wanted to ask him. They met and the question was, gThe Commander in Chief General Douglas Macarthur has asked me about my divinity clan. What does the Westerner think the divine God is?h Dr. Vories answered, gWell, for one thing, in Genesis 1:1 it says that God created the heaven and the earth.h The Emperor quickly said, gWell, I did not do that.h So, he could claim that he was not THAT god. So much for the mystery.
For almost 50 years whereas I preached in over 11,000 special Christian meetings, working with over 90 different denominations and groups, I would usually be introduced as gNow we present to you a man who loves Japan and loves us Japanese.h That love, like your motherfs, has two sides: One side that careses you when you are good, and one that spanks you when you are bad. This book will do both. I have read over 300 books on Japan and its history and found over six different versions of how Japan was founded. Of the first alleged Emperor Jimmu, we found dates, 660 years off, etc.
Remember, Japanfs ancient history features these fairy tales: Japan was gfoundedh by the gsun goddessh who one day had a fight with a warrior in heaven. The warrior cut her with his sword and 4 drops of blood fell on the ocean and thatfs Japanfs 4 islands. Ifve been a lifelong student of Japanese history, and so 48 years later, this is what Ifve got. Take your pick! Fairy tales or Japanfs erased history of Christianity.
In Japan, I preach with my overhead projector (OHP). Why? Because with my mouth, 3 hours later, they remember 7%, with OHP, 84%. I donft have to convince you who read that this is audio-visual. 1,800 Years of Japan's Christian History Introduction Questions and Answers
Q. "Everybody knows that the first Christian contact in Japan was in 1549 with the Roman Catholic Francis Xavier. Right?"
A. Wrong. A Roman Catholic priest in Japan named Mario Marega of the Saiesian Father's Mission wrote in his thesis "Pre-Xavier Christianity in Japan" in 1952 given to the Toho Gakkai (Asia Study Conference) about a Christian (Keikyo) church founded in Kyoto in 610 A.D. That's 1000 years before Xavier came to Japan. That the first missionaries to Japan came from Assyria via China doesn't make them Chinese any more than it makes me a Japanese when I come to America via Japan.
Q. How can you talk about Assyrian missionaries of the Church of the East when Assyria as a country died in 576 B.C.?
A. The Assyrian Empire under Nebuchadnezzar was defeated, but 3-4 million Assyrians still live in the world today. The author is Assyrian, a product of boat people who fled when at least 184,000 Assyrian Christians were massacred in 1917 by Turkish and Kurdish Muslims.
Q. Can you document the early missionaries coming to Japan'
A. Well, we don't have the bodies wrapped in plastic in our attic of the first missionaries of 1,800 years ago, but we have mounting proof. There are over a hundred books on the subject in English, French, German, Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Russian, Aramaic and Malayalum. Reading and translating these books in the original languages is the essence of this book. If by "documenting," you mean copying from one book to another, like PhD dissertations or removing one "load of learned lumber" from one library shelf to the other is not how it is done. We've gone to the original sources of living Japanese legends like Dr. Yoshiro Saeki, Dr. Kikumatsu Togasaki, Dr. Egami, Rev. Moriyama, Satoshi, Dr. Egami, Mr. Tai Shigeru, Rev. Kagawa. Toyohiko, Dr. Sakae Ikeda from Japan, all in their 80's. Also we have the living archbishop and patriarchs of the Church of the East in Baghdad, Cochin, Tehran, Madras and Morton Grove.
Q. What does this have to do with me, a missionary sent over here and paid to plant churches?
A. The Bible talks much about sowing seeds, so we are "seed planters. U One of the greatest boons to evangelizing Japanese is to tell them their own true Christian history that their Buddhist priests and militaristic Shinto government erased. That is that "Christianity was the biggest organized religion in Japan 1000 years ago." Bigger than Shintoism and Buddhism organized. But greater than that is that up to 1,300,000 Japanese Christian martyrs were killed for their faith--mostly women and children--before America was founded as a country in 1776. Japanese Christians endured the world's longest sustained holocaust. Whereas Hitler took 4 years, Japanese took 250 years. Therefore the discovery that over 80 Japanese last names have Christian roots is a powerful evangelistic tool. So you can get up and preach in your message: "Is there anybody here with these names...Azuma, Hata, Higashi, Toyo, etc....did you realize that you may have martyred Christians in your family history 4-5 generations ago?"
Therefore in all my Gospel messages on the subject it is not dull, boring history repeated, but it brings the listener to the conclusion that they must measure up to their Japanese ancestors and receive Christ. "The Christ they were gladly martyred for, lets you can live in complete freedom."
Q. But we're praying for revival in Japan.
A. Exactly. The way revival will come to Japan is when the people can be delivered from the satanic bondage that Buddhist priests have over them at their death. Buddhist believers save money all their lives--from one to 3 to 8 million yen ($10,000 to $80,000) for their funerals, to pay the Buddhist priest to change their names. It's called "kaimyo," but it is really "kinmyo"--money--to give them a holy name. We must preach, "You don't need to spend a yen on your "kaimyo' because with a Christian funeral its free!"
Rev. Takemoto Akira in his book, "Eternal Blessings," clearly states that the original "kaimyo" or "holy name" was given to the person by the priest while he was living, free of charge, as a certificate of completion of studies. Mr. Otani, the multi-billionaire owner of the New Otani Hotel, said in his Will that at his funeral he "wants no priests to be called or paid. Just put my picture on the ballroom wall and invite 3,500 of my best friends and the feast is on me....just say something nice about me. Have a sayonara party!"
The Keio Plaza Hotel, Imperial Hotel and others are following this movement to make funerals free of fraud. How much better if Christians can tell people to come to Christ and be saved and use their" kaimyo" money to build a church. They have to be delivered from the fear of death by faith in Christ.
Q. Didn't you know that the Ancient Church of the East, nicknamed Nestorian, was a heresy?
A. Yes, I was taught that at the three Bible schools I attended. Recently in a Christian school library in Japan I found a book published by Eerdman saying that Roman Catholics declared Nestorianism a heresy and that Francis Xavier had 300,000 converts. Both are false. In Dr. John M.L. Young's book, "To China by Foot," he conclusively documents and proves that the Nestorian's belief was almost identical with today's evangelical belief. Nestorians were castigated because they refused to believe that Mary was God's mother. When Xavier came to Japan, and being a good "Catholic Anabaptist," he re-baptized the backslidden Nestorian believers who had compromised with Buddhist customs and married Buddhist wives, etc. However, NHK-TV in a 1999 documentary on him, showed that not 300,000, but actually only 800 Xavier conversions were made.
So now begin at the beginning and enjoy this unique visual approach to something you've never heard or read about before: Japan's hidden, erased Christian history. We're looking for a bilingual publisher.
(This is a pre-publication working copy to be refined into a professional, illustrated book taken from these "rough" OHP pictures. Thanks for your input, comments, additional facts, etc. It is actually a transcript of a one hour OHP-verbal presentation at the US Center for World Missions. I was asked to expand it to a more thorough 3-hour video-taped OH message. Thus the conversational, repetitive style, not the stilted, pedantic, lawyerly style of historians.) The video is available for \2,000 including postage.