Recently we were honored with time with a 70-year-old elder from a large Chinese church network. CP staff sat down to hear his stories and heart for China. It was a memorable conversation and we hope you are encouraged and blessed to read his words. God has done amazing things in China and CP stands on the shoulders of great men and women of God. Make sure to check out the rest of the series - Time With A Living Legacy Of The Chinese Church - The Personal Story and Time With A Living Legacy Of The Chinese Church – Cultural Revolution Experiences.
In the past my prayer for China was that there would be freedom so that the gospel can be freely preached. Now we are still praying in a similar direction – that the gospel would be preached freely – but we also pray for the growth of the church, especially in aspects of theological education. We pray that we would have freedom in doing theological education. Of course we pray for many other things, such as the transition of Christianity and the cities. But we pray the most for the church to become a free church.
These days we are facing a new wave of persecution, so we pray more for the churches. But I should honestly say that we are not very well prepared for [new persecution]. Psychologically we feel like it won’t really happen. We don’t want it to happen.
Persecution feels like this. If I preach, the government will take me away. And then when the person next to me stands up to preach, the government will take him away, too. And if another stands up again – the government will take them all away. That is what it is like to be persecuted by the government.
We are not prepared for it today. The younger generation probably will not stand up. They will just run away. They are escaping. They probably feel like, “Why do you have to be taken away?” Youthful guys should have wisdom. These days, people rely more on human ways and methods. Rarely do they rely on genuine faith.
Recently when the crosses were coming down, I was thinking that these actions would show everyone in the world that in China, religion is not free. Maybe in the previous couple of years, few people prayed; but more and more people begin to pray for China when persecution happens. It is probably one of the motivating forces for the Chinese church. So when all the hearts begin to pray for China globally, that will bring new revival to Chinese churches.
My advice for those just becoming Christians in China today is that the first thing to do is establish the relationship between yourself and God through prayer, reading the Bible, and communal life – fellowship and the church. Those are the first things. And I would also advise them to know the value of life. The value systems and decisions of Chinese people today are terrible. We don’t have an eternal perspective, and that has a very strong influence on the current perspective. If they are a graduate from college, then I would encourage them to come to our seminary to study for just one year for the establishment of the basic structure of their faith.