Do we need Reminding that China today is really very different from the nation the early China Inland Mission pioneers entered 116 years ago? I am not referring particularly to China’s greatly increased population, its industrial development, or even its more significant role in world affairs.
Rather, I am thinking of the fact that in China today there is a large, strong, and growing church.
It is a different picture from what we were getting even a mere three years ago, when China was just reopening after the unprecedented trauma of the Cultural Revolution. Christian visitors reported finding “no trace of Christian survival.” The impression was that China was “a spiritual desert without any oasis.” If this were a true description of the facts—and we know now that it was not and is not—it would provide an explanation for the general Christian response to China. Obviously if there were no church to speak of in that great and populous land, then Christians in other lands would have no alternative but to approach China in much the same way those early CIM pioneers did 116 years ago.
If, on the other hand, the Word of the Lord has not returned to him void—and we know it has not; if Christ is building his church, which the gates of hell have not overcome; if through trial and tribulation a purified body of Christian brothers and sisters stand and serve in China today; then ought not our attitude and response clearly reflect the fact?
As Christians our response should express: consideration that seeks to grasp the complexity and sensitivity of the situation; confidence that sees our sovereign Lord working out his purposes; and concern that issues from love in prayer and prudent action.
Responding With Consideration
For us to respond ...1
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