Merchants and Mission in the First Fifteen Hundred Years of the Church in Asia
Business in Mission or BAM is a growing trend in global missions today. Not a new concept, the blending of mercantile activity and spreading of Christian faith has been going on since the earliest decades of the Church. This article explores BAM as a key component in Asian Christian witness over the 1500 years before Western colonial powers appeared on the scene, relating it to similar expressions in Manichaeism, Judaism, Buddhism, and Islam. The spreading of faith and commerce together was not seen as strange, perhaps because the originating context of these faiths was crisscrossed with trade routes from the earliest empires. Besides substantiating this integrated approach to business and mission with abundant reference to significant primary and secondary sources, this article also considers the nature of trade pursued, the routes used, and products traded.