This little-known historical fact is worth exploring—the early presence of Christianity in China as evidenced in the Xi’an Stele dated to 7th-8th century C.E. during the Tang Dynasty. Initially thought of as Nestorian in origin, there may be more to it than meets the eye.
The name given to Christianity was Luminous Teaching 景教, evincing a trinitarian faith and a focus on the incarnation rather than the crucifixion and resurrection. Its soteriology can be perhaps described as one of “salvation by character”—a third possibility beyond salvation by works and by faith. It reminds me obliquely of Romans 2.
Just prior to the pandemic lockdowns, I saw an imprint of this intriguing stele at the Asian Civilizations Museum in Singapore—a favourite haunt of mine. Reading the stele content in its original Chinese was a fascinating experience for me. I think I might have the Jesus Sutras bookmarked somewhere in my computer. It is certainly worth a peruse in my spare time.