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Saturday, April 25, 2009

Thinking About China

Today I met two men from China who are both studying at a significant Christian university. They were both strangers to me, but when I saw them, I sensed something special. It was more than just the vibrant glow that I see among many of the rising generation of China (don't ask me exactly what I mean by that, I'm not sure yet - it may just be a reflection of my own biases). How excited I was to learn that they were among the tiny minority of Christians in China. One of them told me about the house church he participates in, and spoke of his studies in theology that he hopes will help him to be better prepared in his future service. These converts to Christianity impressed me tremendously and reminded me of how much excitement will yet come from that part of the world one day as the message of the Gospel goes forth.

With a son of mine on a mission in Taiwan, and with many dear friends over the year from China, I have a strong interest in seeing China, Taiwan, and Chinese people everywhere receive the hope and joy that comes with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Thanks to the brave souls who participate in house churches and share the message of Christ to others. Thanks to the tolerant officials who understand that Christians are not enemies of China. Thanks to ministers and Christians of all faiths who make efforts to reach out to China and support wise, gradual efforts to pave the way for Christianity there. One day we may be overwhelmed at the opportunities we have to teach and bless. May we be ready.

May we also understand the perspective of the skeptics in China who recall the abuse that China suffered in the past from Christians and Christian nations. There are barriers of distrust that need to be bridge cautiously and respectfully. One Chinese friend told me that historically, from his perspective, Christian missionaries are followed by gunboats and war. I don't think that will be the case in the future, but we must understand the pains of the past.

7 comments:

Nathan S. said...

Well stated. I wonder if blogs like yours are being blocked from access in China, and sites like those of the Church.

Anonymous said...

The bigger issue is whether Jeff's bog will be blocked or shut down by Homeland Security. Since Jeff likes veterans, shares Miss California's views on same-sex marriage, and is generally pro-life, Janet Napolitano will undoubtedly view him as a right-wing extremist who needs to be feared, monitored, and perhaps silenced one day. Wish that were entirely a joke!

Anonymous said...

Good post Jeff. I find Christianity in China super interesting too. I have a bunch of posts about China pre-written but just need to get them posted once I get through my last finals for the semester. The house churches and the Christians there are amazing.
DH
www.fromthedust.org

Seth R. said...

China appears to have largely gotten over its bumpy start with Christianity.

It is estimated that in a few years, China will be the largest "Christian nation" in the world.

Anonymous said...

No, it's not blocked - I'm reading it from Beijing.

Bookslinger said...

Jeff, as usual, you are uber-diplomatic in regard to the Chinese government being skeptical of Christian intentions based on past history.

I'm more of the Ezra Taft Benson school of thought in my opinions towards Communists and Communism.

At any rate, the ground-work is being laid for the future spread of the restored gospel in China.

The Church has a strong foot-hold in both Taiwan and Hong Kong.

The basic building blocks or seeds of Christianity have been planted in the Chinese mainland.

Through politics, culture, economics, and education, Mainland Chinese have now been at least exposed to Western-style freedoms.

Mainland Chinese have emigrated to all other countries on the Pacific Rim, and there they have been exposed to Christian thought and principles, and many even to the Restored Gospel. Mainland Chinese college students, graduate students, and post-graduate students have gone all over the world to further their studies, and some of them have also been exposed to the Restored Gospel, some even embracing it, and taking that knowledge back to China.

Mainland Chinese who have emigrated and settled in the United States and other places where the Restored Gospel has a strong foothold have the possibility of embracing the Restored Gospel, and raising sons and daughters in the Gospel who can go on to take the Restored Gospel back to China when the timing is right.

The recent new translation of the Chinese Book of Mormon (one written translation works for all Chinese dialects) indicates that the Church is also moving forward in preparation.

It's all very exciting.

Allan said...

I am reading in Chongqing (never heard of), the website is not blocked. There are already some Mormon congregations in big cities like Beijing,Shanghai,Suzhou,Qingdao(from Mormon.org)
Ja, there are many house churches and students study groups expecially around colleges. I have joined some of them. The problem is they/I can't preach too openly and they/I don't know what is too "open"...
Mormons are nice, but the Book of Mormon is doubtful...