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The Anniversary of Protestant Missions in China and the Difference One Life Makes

September 12, 2007

Genesis 12:1-3 

The LORD had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.

“I will make you into a great nation 
and I will bless you; 
I will make your name great, 
and you will be a blessing.

I will bless those who bless you, 
and whoever curses you I will curse; 
and all peoples on earth 
will be blessed through you.” (emphasis mine)

Acts 1:6-8

So when they met together, they asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”

He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses (emphasis mine) in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Romans 10:13-15, 17

for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ. (emphasis mine)

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to share some devotional thoughts with the ladies of our church’s WMU (Women’s Missionary Union).  Normally, I like to take one text and look at it verse by verse or in the case of a devotion, share my thoughts on that one passage, but this day, I chose to look at the difference one life given wholly to God can make.

 Chinese Characters for “God’s Grace”

September 7, 2007 was the 200th anniversary of the first protestant missionary setting foot in China.  The missionary’s name was Robert Morrison.  Morrison preceded Lottie Moon, a Southern Baptist Missionary to China whose influence continues today, and Hudson Taylor, founder of the China Inland Mission which is now OMF International.

Seven years after Morrison, a Scottish Presbyterian, arrived in China, he had the joy of seeing a Chinese person converted to the Lord.  At that time, he wrote in his journals, “May he be the first-fruits of a great harvest, one of millions who shall come and be saved on the day of wrath to come.” He could not know how abundantly God would answer his prayers.  Today, estimates of Protestant Christians in China range from 40 million to 92 million, making China perhaps the third largest Christian country on earth. 

And still, the work continues.  My husband and I were blessed to attend A Voice of the Martyrs conference this summer, where we heard from Christians who had faced persecution in their native lands.  One such testimony came from a young Chinese woman.  She told of her imprisonments and brutal torture as well as the constant danger for Chinese Christians who refuse to join the government “church”, known as the Three Self Church. 

Perhaps most stirringly, though, she showed a homemade video.  The sound was not working, so we could only watch the video, but it was easy to understand what was occurring.  Bibles had been brought into China to be distributed to local church leaders.  The men and women receiving these Bibles in a cramped room were weeping and shouting with joy, kissing their Bibles and praising God.  Bibles are so scarce and so treasured that receiving one was met with unimaginable joy.  There are not enough Bibles, so only leaders in the churches receive them.

Now, Chinese church leaders dream of evangelizing not only China, but also the Middle East.  And they just may do so.

1 Timothy 4:11-16 

Command and teach these things. Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you.

Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers. (emphasis mine)

Psalm 71:17-18

Since my youth, O God, you have taught me, 
and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds.

Even when I am old and gray, 
do not forsake me, O God, 
till I declare your power to the next generation, (emphasis mine)
your might to all who are to come.

No matter our age, let us be faithful to declare His Word to this generation.  We cannot know how God will use our lives if we will pray, send , go and speak boldy where we are, declaring the glory of God, but we can trust God for the increase.

Note:  For more information about Robert Morrison and the growth of Christianity in China, see this message by Pastor John Piper.  I took selected information from it, but it worth reading in its entirety.  In addition, I highly recommend reading the biography entitled Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret.  While all of his theology may not be sound, God used him mightily to reach China and influence the way mission work is practiced around the world, even to this day.  He is another example of how God takes one life and makes its influence reach millions.  This book can be found in my bookstore here and here.

One Comment leave one →
  1. September 13, 2007 7:21 am

    Great post.

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