Wednesday, August 29, 2007

"Turning the World Upside Down"

That's the title of yesterday's Breakpoint radio program (transcript here), given by Prison Fellowship President Mark Earley. And it's a great one!

We don't hear much about Christians in China these days. Their government continues to be hostile toward them, and news is often hard to come by. But the church in China is still growing, by leaps and bounds. According to Earley, 10,000 Chinese become believers every DAY - that adds up to 70,000 per week. There are now 111 million Christians in China, and "more Chinese worshipping in 'house churches' than belong to the Communist Party"!

And these believers are not content to hide out in China; they are turning their sights on winning the world for Jesus Christ. Take a look at this excerpt from the Breakpoint transcript:
The Asia Times columnist “Spengler” recently wrote that China may soon occupy the role that the United States has occupied for the past 200 years: “the natural ground for mass evangelization.” He adds that “if this occurs, the world will change beyond our capacity to recognize it.”

He foresees Chinese Christians, like their Korean counterparts, “[turning] their attention outward.” Only, with a Christian population fifteen times the size of Korea’s, and a Chinese Diaspora all over the world, the impact will be far greater. “Spengler” uses the word “earthquake” to describe it.

According to John Allen of the National Catholic Report, the most “audacious” Chinese Christians dream of taking the Gospel along the historic “Silk Road” into Muslim lands. As David Aikman has written, they believe it is their task to complete the mission of preaching the Gospel in every land. To that end, Chinese Christians are already secretly “training missionaries for deployment in Muslim countries.”

This is what “Spengler” means by an “earthquake.” As he puts it, “the greatest danger to Islam” comes from Chinese Christians looking westward toward Jerusalem.

I don't know if this news excites you, but it does me! Once again churches in countries where we once sent missionaries are sending missionaries themselves. The fruit of effort put in by people like Hudson Taylor, Gladys Aylward, and Eric Liddell, is finally being reaped.

The challenge is for those of us in American and European churches. Will we continue to lead the way in winning people to Christ? Or will we instead sit back and slowly become irrelevant, while the people in less developed and more restricted nations use what little they have to transform the world.

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