Area: ca. 17,000,000 sq. mi. The largest continent and the one on which Christianity had its beginning; but large sections are still without knowledge of Christ. Some of the subdivisions and countries are treated separately as indicated by cross references. For current information see CIA World Factor
B. South Asia.
1. See India, Republic of.
2. Pakistan, Islamic Rep. of. Area: ca. 307,400 sq. mi. ca. 85% Muslim. Till 1947 part of India; then dominion in British Commonwealth. Reorganized into E and W Pakistan 1955. Rep. within Brit. Commonwealth 1956. Revolt changed E Pakistan into indep. People's Rep. of Bangladesh (Bangla Desh; Bengal[i] Nation) 1971; as a result, W Pakistan became Simply Pakistan. Main languages: Bengali (official), Urdu, and Eng. in Bangladesh; Urdu (official), Eng., Hindi, and Punjabi in Pakistan. See also India, Republic of, 1; Islam
C. W. Forman* of the Am. Presb. Miss. began work at Lahore, W Pakistan, 1848. This miss. emphasized educ. as miss. method, has institutions ranging from primary to coll., est. Gujranwala Theol. Sem. 1877. CMS began work at Karachi 1850. Others: Am. Meth., Brit. Meth., Salv. Army, Associate Ref. Presb. Ch., Woman's Union Miss. Soc., the Ev. Alliance Miss., Conservative Baptists, Pakistan Christian Fellowship, Internat. Miss., Inc. In W Pakistan the Bap. Miss. Soc. began work at Dinajpur 1795. Others: Australian Bap. Miss., S Bap., Assoc. of Bap. for World Evangelism, Ch. of God, Assem. of God, Seventh-day Adv., Worldwide Evangelization Crusade. 500,000 Christians, mostly converts of descendants from outcasts of Hinduism.
Maria Holst, Dan. Luth. doctor, worked among women 190317. In 1926 Jens Christensen joined Dan. Pathan Miss. In 1940s the Am. World Miss. Prayer League entered the field. The two formed Pakistani Luth. Ch. 1955. It works chiefly among Muslims. The Bangladesh Northern Ev. Luth. Ch. had 2,210 mems. 1973. See also Norwegian Foreign Missions, 3.
3. Sri Lanka, Dem. Socialist Rep. of. Great and beautiful island. Ceylon till 1972. SE of the S tip of India. Area: 25,332 sq. mi. Sinhalese (Buddhists), Tamil (Hindus), Moors and Malays (Muslim), Burghers. Veddas are aborigines. Under Port. (15051658), Dutch (16581796) and Brit. (1796 to 1948) control. Dominion, February 4, 1948. Sinhalese is official language. Evangelized in early centuries. Cosmas Indicopleustes reported many Christians in 537. Port. introduced the RC Ch., which has 700,000 members. The Dutch Ref. Ch. was strong at one time, but is now small. The LMS began work 1804. James Chater (d. 1830) began work 1812 (Bap. Miss. Soc.); the Wesleyans 1814; Am. Ceylon Miss. (ABCFM) 1816; CMS 1817. In 1947 the churches of the S India United Miss. and Am. Ceylon Miss. formed the Jaffna Diocese of the Ch. of S India. Others: Ceylon and India Gen. Miss. (1893); Salv. Army (1883); Seventh-day Adv.; Dutch Ref.; Christian Ref. Bd. of Miss.; Assem. of God; Conservative Bap.
Beginning in 1927 missionaries of the Mo. Syn. worked among Tamil-speaking members who had moved from its India missions to Ceylon. After Ceylon became indep., work was begun in Sinhalese. The work, supervised by the India Ev. Luth. Ch., centers in Colombo and Nuwara Eliya.
The total Prot. community is about 100,000.
4. Bhutan, Kingdom of. In the Himalayas, bet. China and India. Area: ca. 17,800 sq. mi. Pop. Under Chinese domination 1720. Turbulent hist. includes condlict with Brit. 1865, when portions were annexed to India; monarchy est. 1907; territorial claims advanced by China 1958. Mem. UN 1971. Ethnic composition: mostly Bhutanese, related to Tibetans; ca. 25% Nepalese; tribal groups (including Lepcha, indigenous; Santal, descendants of migrants from India). Language: Dzongka is official and predominant. Religion: Buddhism ca. 75%; Hinduism ca. 25%. Two Jesuits entered Bhutan 1626 on the way from Bengal to Tibet, but no RC base was est. Evangelistic work has not been allowed. Some Christian miss. bases have been est. near the border.
5. Nepal, Kingdom of. Area: ca. 56,100 sq. mi. mixture of Mongolian and Indian. Ruled by Rana family 18461951; constitutional monarchy 1951. Opened to Christian missionaries 1950; United Miss. to Nepal (interdenominational) began educ. and medical work by contract with the govt. (Abode of Peace Hosp. at Katmandu). Later the Miss. to Lepers established a leprosarium at Bhangahan.
6. Tibet (Thibet. Chin.: Sitsang). Area: ca. 471,700 sq. mi. Mongolians, ruled by lamas, Buddhist priests or monks, the supreme ruler being the Dalai Lama until 1951, when the Chinese communists entered. The Dalai Lama fled to India 1959. Autonomous region of People's Rep. of China* 19##
RCs attempted to establish missions in 1845 but were expelled. In 1850s Moravians established a miss. on road leading from Punjab to Tibet. A Tibetan fugitive scholar and son, Joseb Gergan, tr. Bible with help of missionaries; printed 1948. Other border missions: Ev. Alliance; World Miss. Prayer League; Worldwide Evangelization Crusade; Cen. Asia Miss.; Miss. to Lepers; Mar Thoma Ch. of India.
C. Southeast Asia.
1. Myanmar, Union of (since May 26, 1989; formerly Burma, Socialist Rep. of the Union of). Area: ca. 261,300 sq. mi. Religion is Buddhism (Land of Pagodas) mixed with animism. Ruled by Brit. for 120 yrs. Indep. since January 1948. For yrs. the govt. has restricted entrance of missionaries. About 100,000 Karen (mostly Bap.) are Christians. Only about 12,000 Buddhists have been converted. RCm entered in the 17th c.
Adoniram Judson (Am. Bap.) began work in 1814. By 1834 he had tr. Bible into Burmese. George Dana Boardman (Bap.) with the native Ko* Tha Byu opened station among Karen 1828. John E. Marks, a Jewish Christian, entered Burma for the Angl. SPG 1859. Anglicans operate St. John's Coll. and Holy Cross Coll. (sem.) at Rangoon. Others: Am. Meth. (1879); Eng. Meth. (Mandalay, 1887); Bible Churchmen's Miss. Soc. (1924); Salv. Army; Seventh-day Adv.; Pentecostal groups.
2. Malaya, Federation of. Area: perhaps ca. 51,000 sq. mi. Religion: Islam (predominant), animism, Buddhism. Controlled successively by Port., Dutch, English, Domin. 1957. Joined Fed. of Malaysia 1963. Francis Xavier (RC) did miss. work middle of 15th c. There are about 86,000 RCs in Malaya.
The LMS sent W. Milne* to Malaya 1815 as the 1st Prot. miss. Other Brit. Societies: SPG (1848); Presb. Ch. (1851); Soc. for the Promotion of Female Educ. in the E (1843); Christian Miss. in Many Lands; Salv. Army.
China was officially closed to for. miss. 1951; many workers moved to Malaya. The largest group belonged to the Overseas Miss. Fellowship. Many of these entered the New Villages Established 1950 to 1953 to hinder communist infiltration. 14 missions worked in the New Villages 1960. The ULC on invitation by an E Asia Luth. Conf. in 1952 est. missions in some of the New Villages in the vicinity of Kuala Lumpur. The Tamil Luth. Ch. in India Established Tamil-speaking congregations in Penang, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore. The Batak church has a diaspora parish in and near Singapore.
In 1948 the Malayan Christian Council was organized with headquarters at Singapore.
4. Thailand, Kingdom of (Thai: Muang Thai. Formerly Siam). Area: ca. 198,500 sq. mi. Thai (originally Chinese), of which the Siamese are a subdivision; Shan Laos; Chinese. Buddhism is the state religion. People easygoing, yet advanced in civilization.
Thailand had an absolute monarchy until 1932, when a bloodless revolution introduced the Supreme Council of State which acts for the king.
Ann Hasseltine Judson (17891826) tr. Matthew, the Burman Cat., and a tract into Siamese with the help of Siamese prisoners at Rangoon (181520). Karl F. A. Gützlaff* (Neth. Miss. Soc.) landed in Bangkok, August 23, 1828. He and his wife tr. Bible into Siamese and parts into Lao and Cambodian. The ABCFM sent David Abeel* in 1831. In 1833 John Taylor Jones, who tr. NT into Thai, was sent by the Am. Bap. Bd., and William Dean (organized first Prot. ch. in Far E at Bangkok, 1837) 2 yrs. later. In 1837 the Presb. Bd. of For. Miss. began work and developed the largest Prot. miss. In 1934 its churches organized the Ch. of Christ in Thailand. Their largest station is at Chiang Mai, where they have Prince's Royal Coll., Dara Academy, McGilvary Theol. Sem., McCormick Hosp. and McKean Leprosy Colony. After China was closed, many of its missionaries went to Thailand. Some of the societies in Thailand are: Seventh-day Adv. (1918); Christian and Miss. Alliance (1929); Overseas Miss. Fellowship (CIM); Am. Bap.; S. Bap.; Pent. Miss.; New Tribes Miss.; Worldwide Evangelization Crusade; Oriental Boat Miss.; Internat. Child Evangelism Fellowship; Jeh. wit. The ABS (Thailand Bible House) has been active since 1837.
5. Cambodia. See Kampuchea, Democratic.
6. Laos (official name: Lao People's Democrat Rep.). Area: 91,428 sq. mi. chiefly Laotians (originally from China) and aborigines. Buddhism is state religion but many are animists. Laos came under Fr. control (1893, 1904); free state in the Fr. Union 1946; indep. 1949; constitutional monarchy was replaced 1975 by a People's Dem. Rep. See also French Indochina.
Swiss mems. of Christian Miss. in Mary Lands began work in S Laos, 1902. Workers of this miss. tr. Bible into Lao (1926, NT; 1932, whole Bible). Presb. from Thailand worked among the Kha tribes. The Christian and Miss. Alliance has worked with success in N Laos. Overseas Miss. Fellowship (CIM) entered Laos 1958.
7. Socialist Rep. of Vietnam (formerly the Fr. Indochina states of Tonkin, Annam, and Cochin China). Area: ca. 127,200 sq. mi. chiefly Annamese, a Mongolian people long influenced by Chinese, whose religion is Buddhism altered by Confucianism and Taoism. A new cult is that of Cao Dai; Caodaism combines elements from Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, RCm, and Islam. Fr. gained control ca. 1760. Indochina indep. at end of WW; II. Vietnam divided at 17th parallel 1954. N Vietnam a communist People's Republic; S Vietnam a republic. See also French Indochina.
The RC Ch. gained a firm foothold during yrs. of Fr. control and has over 1,000,000 members The Christian and Miss. Alliance began work 1911. It operates the John Olsen Mem. Studio, the Alliance Press, and Cen. Bible School. Parts of Bible tr. into several tribal languages. Other miss.: Seventh-day Adv.; Worldwide Evangelization Crusade; Wycliffe Bible Translators.
8. See Indonesia.
9. See Philippines, Republic of the.
D. Far East.
E. Middle East.
See Middle East. EL
Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission
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