Theology: What is God's Timetable to Reach All the Nations?

Let me say at the outset that we should try to get our theology correct. I believe there is theological truth out there. However, there are times when there is mystery and uncertainty and I want to be honest about that when I am puzzling over it. Holding comprehension and mystery in tension isn't easy but I take comfort in the fact that it would appear that transformation of life by God takes place often in spite of our theological muddleheadedness.

As a blogger, I put ideas out there and they are not always fully baked; you might say, I'm thinking aloud by typing! That is what this post is about. So with those disclaimers out there, here we go ...

Aside from enjoying the unique scenery and visiting family and friends, I am always thinking "theologically" about the places I visit.

Sadly, like many European countries, Sweden today is nominally a "Christian" nation with many occasions of the liturgical calendar marked off as national holidays but in practice many of the historic churches are nearly empty.

I find it amazing that Christianity began in Jerusalem and in a few centuries became the dominant force in the Roman Empire and eventually the "barbarians" of Northern Europe and all of Scandinavia became "Christianized."

However, the Gospel's eastward movement found a harder path. There are reports that Christianity got to India with the Apostle Thomas. There is one bit of evidence that the Nestorian variant of Christianity made it to China before 1000 AD.

Thus, one might say that Christianity "converted" the "pagans" of Europe but seemed to have been unable to convince the Hindu and Buddhists of India and Asia.

Meanwhile, Christianity continues to grow in South America and Africa such that when Pope Benedict resigned there was talk the next Pope would be elected from one or the other continent. And, indeed, the new Pope Francis is from Argentina.

Why has Christianity succeeded in some places and not others?

And in the case of Europe, after many centuries of dominance, why has Christianity faded from the consciousness of so many?

What is God's Timetable to Reach All the Nations?