My first term of sabbatical study at the University of Michigan was in its last week when President Carter startled the world with his announcement that the United States would establish diplomatic ties with Communist China on January 1, 1979. It is not that there has not been ample indication of movement toward formal ties between Washington and Peking. Things have been brewing ever since 1972. The shock was rather from the incredible insensitivity with which a loyal ally was treated and from the evident disregard for the security and human rights of 17 million friends in Taiwan.

In a series of telephone calls to China Evangelical Seminary colleagues in Taiwan and the U.S., my thoughts kept going back to the strong words of hope expressed in Psalm 46: “God is our refuge and strength. A very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea” (NASB). (As Chefoo school boys during World War II we had sung these confident lines while being marched off to a Shantung concentration camp.)

In his second epistle, Peter describes various phenomena relating to the end times and concludes with the rhetorical question, “What sort of people ought you to be?” Now, in this time of testing for the church in Taiwan, we too must address this question. It seems to me that there are three important dimensions to the Christian’s response.

1. Upward—As with the Psalmist who saw the Lord standing firm and strong amid the earth-shattering events around him, so the church must have a deepened awareness of God’s sovereign presence. In a phone conversation with Grace Kao, a CES faculty-in-preparation at Wheaton Graduate School, her response to the unilateral breaking ...

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