Kublai Khan, the powerful Mongol ruler could have become a Christian and thus impacted all of Asia for Christ, if the church had not given up a HUGE loss of opportunity for mission outreach. In the 13th Century, when Genghis Khan ruled, this empire stretched from China to present day Central Europe. No nation has yet to to rival the magnitude of the Mongolian empire.
His grandson, Kublai Khan had a Christian mother. When Marco Polo (1254-1323?) journeyed to China, he found some few Christian communities and served in the court of Kublai, having become one of Kublai’s most trusted friends, he asked the Polo’s to bring teachers and missionaries to his land. He actually made a specific request to Pope Gregory X, that 100 missionaries be sent to the Mongol empire to teach himself and his people about the Christian faith. Sadly, and regretfully,
“The request was never fulfilled because the Popes in Europe were more concerned about defending themselves militarily than they were in extending the Gospel spiritually” (Sunquist, 241).
This may have been one of the greatest missionary opportunities of all time!
The letter was acted upon a staggering 36 years later, and the request was delayed further because the then reigning Pope (Pope Clement IV) had died and they took 3 years to nominate the new pope (Pope Gregory X) responded 36 years later by sending two Dominican Monks (instead of the 100), who got discouraged because of the harsh weather conditions on the way and never got to Mongol. As a result of criminally delaying to the call for ‘100 missionaries’, and the timidity of the two that were sent, it is the time of the Great Khans that Buddhism became the dominant religion in Mongolian territories.
Are we any different? The lesson is obvious: When God opens a door of opportunity, we MUST go through that door without delay. Will we send the ‘100 missionaries’ to through the doors the Lord has swung open, or will we like the Popes of old be interested in defending ourselves millitarily, and politically or more concerned with other selfish interests than in extending the Gospel spiritually?
Who will go and work TODAY?