Our Beautiful Chinese Brothers & Sisters in Christ

In the 1920’s, a small, mission-oriented troupe emerged from the ranks of Chinese Christianity, they were known as: The Jesus Family. Fermenting in their hearts had been the desire to fulfill the Great Commission and more specifically, to take the Gospel to Buddhist, Hinduistic and Islamic countries. Their rule of life was a five-word slogan: Sacrifice, Abandonment, Poverty, Suffering, Death. These believers were willing to toe the line and risk all for the sake of the Gospel. Yet, little did these disciples realize just how influential their evangelistic mindset and longsuffering vision would be in the history of Chinese Christianity.

While “The Jesus Family” itself lasted less than thirty years, it, in all actuality, never died out but rather branched out. One of the branches came to be known as the “Northwest Spiritual Movement.” While this group acquired different leadership—they were turned off by Jing Dianying, a charismatic evangelist who relished the position of authority, which was a major factor in the divide of the two groups—both ministries still shared the same vision: to evangelize all of those areas from China to Jerusalem that had not received the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In addition to these mission teams, there were also several other initiatives—unbeknownst to one another—all over China striving towards the same end. The Chinese see these various ministries unknown to one another, yet having the same exact vision as nothing short of a miracle; they see it as God’s guiding hand at work throughout the history of their Church.

Now, in general, the Chinese seem to be very deterministic. They understand things like imprisonment, murder, all forms of persecution and mistreatment as well as corrupt government as God’s work. Indeed, the dualistic lines they draw between when satan is making something happen and when God is causing it, is very faint. Though it seems more biblical to understand such tribulations not as God causing them but instead working in and through them, the fact remains that many Chinese disciples desire deeply to understand the call and mission of God. Something else that seems to be misunderstood by many of the Chinese Christians are Western-styled seminaries and Bible Colleges—they tend to view them as fancy, theological and denominational, self-preservation programs; things they are hardly interested in. Yet, this is hardly the case; these Chinese believers fail to realize that a great number of Western academies are equipping disciples to fulfill the exact same calling that they themselves are pursuing—the fulfillment of the Great Commission.

It is quite astounding, though, to read about some of the differences in the curriculums in the East and West. For example, one Chinese leaders says, “We teach missionaries special skills such as how to free themselves from handcuffs within 30 seconds and how to jump from second-story windows without injuring themselves. This is not a ‘normal’ seminary or Bible College!” Still, though, one of the things this highlights is the immense and often times, severe, amount of sufferings that Chinese believers have to undergo for striving to spread the Gospel. Unquestionably, Chinese Church history is peppered with martyrs and prisoners who have given their lives to see the “Back to Jerusalem” objective come to pass (that is, the movement of believers working their way from China—the east—back towards Jerusalem—the west). Many Chinese believers long deeply for the world to know the love and person of Jesus Christ.

Not only are some of their seminary tactics unlike Western ones, Chinese Christians as a whole, seem to think of “Church” much differently; their ecclesiology is less “building focused” and more “body focused.” They have little use or regard for Church “buildings” and meet strictly in one another’s homes—this is a house Church movement that is adding thirty thousand believers to the fold daily and ten million annually. As Brother Yun, a house Church leader notes, “We have no desire to build a single Church building anywhere! This allows the Gospel to spread rapidly, is harder for the authorities to detect, and enables us to channel all our resources directly into Gospel ministry.” This is, perhaps, a truth and practice that Western Christians need to latch onto, for so many of them become attached to their buildings and even their seats that at the threat of any change, they fly into a rage.

Perhaps two of the greatest facets of the Chinese House Church Movement are that, 1) They are evangelistically minded and as such, are very focused on the here-and-now, not simply dwelling on the past or on a “heavenly” future, and 2) They are strongly opposed to denominationalism and as such, they are unified in the single cause of sharing Jesus to the lost. While the current generation of the Chinese Church seeks to send 100,000 missionaries throughout the world as a unified front in the upcoming years, perhaps it is time for Western Christians to take note and to let the New Testament mandate of the Great Commission both unify them and kindle a fire in their hearts for evangelism. Thank God for our Chinese brothers and sisters in Christ, may they be in our prayers and us in theirs. To God be the glory!!!

No comments:

Post a Comment