Sunday, October 26, 2008

25 yrs. ago today, Jesus died in China

It was 25 years ago today that the atheist government in China announced that Christianity was officially dead in China.

“The missionaries are gone. There are no more Christians, and no worship of Jesus anywhere is this country,” stated an official of the atheist run nation. He may have spoken too soon.

It is estimated that in two or three years, China will be the largest Christian nation on earth.

October is missions month in our congregation and this weekend, we had members of China’s underground Church speaking to us. Courageous hardly describes the believers in today’s China. While China has given up trying to stamp out believers, it is still a serious offence to evangelise. Despite this, people are coming to Jesus at an average of 18,000 a week. While there are many hundreds of Pastors and many thousands of believers in jail for talking about Jesus, one of the surprising things that these men and women requested of us is that we DO NOT pray for the end of persecution. “Persecution, beatings, loss of jobs and having property confiscated serve three important purposes.

First, persecution spreads the gospel faster than anything else we have experienced. This has been true, down through history from the killing of Stephen by the apostle Paul and his group to this very day. Danger causes us to move into new territory where believers tell more and more people about Jesus.

, hardship teaches us to depend on Jesus for our well-being, and under hardship the presence of His Spirit is so very real.

Third, persecution keeps the Church pure. There are no hangers-on in the China Church. Believers know that they will suffer for the faith so no one joins us out of curiosity.”

Interestingly, at least for me is how Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett and Christopher Hitchens have all taken their dream for America and the world directly from the play-book of both atheist China and Stalinist Russia. In China it is illegal to teach anyone under 18 years of age about Jesus or Christianity. That is what these atheists have repeatedly stated as the solution for bringing about a generation of free thinkers in North America. In fact it is the failure of education to clearly announce the death of God in each generation that infuriates Sam Harris. His proposal for raising free thinkers is to outlaw thinking / talking / teaching about Jesus for not just his children but for yours as well.

After hearing from these men and women from China this weekend, I hope that the current crop of atheists achieve their goals. Right now, Christianity in North America exists from coast to coast but it is only a centimetre deep. Hopefully we are forced to understand the old line, “You never know what you’ve got till it’s gone.”

Praise God from whom ALL blessings flow.

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