(under construction, but much important information here now)
QUOTES TO PONDER:
“Training your body helps you in some ways, but serving God helps you in every way. Serving God brings you blessings in this life and in the future life, too.” 1 Tim. 4:8 (ICB)
- “When China is moved it will change the face of the globe” Hudson Taylor (China’s Millions)
Jesus gave us a Great Commission to share the gospel with everyone (Matt. 28:16-20) in different ways depending on the various gifts and skills God has given us, since all we have comes from Him.
“Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20 (NLT)
When communism came to China, people thought Christianity would disappear in China. Chairman Mao’s wife said,
“Christianity in China has been consigned to the history section of museums.”
But God had very different ideas. Prof Yang, a leading expert on religion in China, states that there were ~1 million Protestants in China in 1949, ~49 million in 2010, there will be around ~160 million by 2025 (some say there and by 2030, China’s total Christian population, including Catholics, will be ~247 million (some sources think there may be ~200-245 million Protestants now), far more than any other nation. Prof Yang wryly says,
“Mao thought he could eliminate religion. He thought he had accomplished this…It’s ironic – they didn’t. They actually failed completely.”
A number of other Asian countries have seen similar growth. In 1901, only 1% of S. Koreans were Christians for example. Now ~29% are Christian.
But evangelism isn’t just good for heaven, the Bible repeatedly claims that godliness brings the best benefits in all areas of this life as well (despite persecution happening at times as John 16:33 says).
“…serving God helps you in every way by bringing you blessings in this life and in the future life, too. ” 1 Tim. 4:8 (NCV)
The Bible’s history, world history, science, and economics give enormous evidence that following God’s truths produces myriads of benefits for each person, families, communities, nations and the entire world. The more that people genuinely believe in God, the more all of us benefit (see here, here, here, here, here and many other studies). Thus Dr. McCullagh (who wrote extensively on how to find truth in history fairly) writes:
“Christian beliefs are of immense value, both to individuals, to society and to nature. They result in a wisdom and altruism that is of benefit to all. That is why I hope more and more people will accept them.”
One reason they are so valuable is that for Christians to convert and teach people God’s truths, Christians also need to teach people principles of truth, logic and reasoning, the freedom and human rights God gives to us so they can think about truth, literacy skills so they can read God’s word for themselves, principles of science since it is God’s creation and His “2nd book”, health principles, family principles and much more. This has led directly to Christians establishing far more schools, hospitals, science centers, methods of education, human rights campaign, etc. around the globe than all other worldviews combined have. Dr. Woodberry’s exhaustive research shows that this has resulted in Protestant missionaries being responsible for over 50% of democracy, higher levels of printing, education, economic development, organizational civil society, protection of private property, the rule of law and lower levels of corruption in modern society while Dr. Montgomery’s research showed that human rights are degraded or destroyed when cultures abandon Christianity (see more facts/research references on the Bible and human rights here:).
The efforts of Christianity to improve life in this world have brought many benefits to everyone. Ellen White also tells us that mission efforts benefit people in home churches as well!
Christians have made enormous progress since Jesus’ resurrection and now over 30% of the world is Christian. But the commission still challenges us today since billions of people have not heard the good news of Jesus and many of those don’t even know His name. This is especially true of the last major area that we need to conquer for Christ, an area that mission experts call the 10/40 window. This 10/40 window has ~5 billion people, the least evangelized people groups, the biggest worldview rivals to Christianity (Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, atheism, animism, etc.), and the worst levels of poverty, disease, ignorance, injustice, persecution, violence and sometimes war as a result of their ignorance of Jesus’ truths, which makes it easy for them to be exploited. Yet only a minute amount of missionaries and Christian funds go there.
Christians can’t finish the Great Commission as Jesus instructed without solving this problem. But God has given revelations about how to do it more effectively than we are now.
In recent decades, God has given visions to many Chinese Christians independently about how the gospel has largely moved west around the globe (with some exceptions) and that He wants Asian Christians to take the gospel through the 10/40 window and back to Jerusalem to which they have many cultural, linguistic and moral similarities.
God impressed pastor Mark Ma for example with a momentous vision in the 1940s saying,
“I not only want the Chinese Church to assume responsibility for taking the Gospel to Xinjiang [in western China] but I want you to bring to completion the commission to preach the Gospel to all the world…Since the beginning at Pentecost, the Pathway of the Gospel has spread, for the greater part, in a westward direction; from Jerusalem to Antioch to all Europe; from Europe to America and then to the East; from the Southeast of China to the Northwest;…You may go Westward from Gansu, preaching the Gospel all the way back to Jerusalem, causing the light of the Gospel to complete the circle around this dark world.” (more on this below)
This video shows visually a little of what God said about how the gospel has traveled around the world.
This Back to Jerusalem is talked about by Christians across China and has inspired them with big dreams. bring the gospel through the challenging 10/40 window and “Back to Jerusalem”.
If Christians around the world cooperate with God’s wisdom and focus more effort on helping Asian Christians (and then the Christians in the 10/40 window) in various ways, we can all finish the Great Commission faster and go home to heaven much sooner.
Every human life is of course of enormous importance to God, but unfortunately the efforts, time and resources of the church are often being used in quite lopsided ways. Here are a few more key facts about the 10/40 window and mission efforts:
- The New Testament is translated into the languages of 94% of the world’s population. (Johnstone and Mandryk 2005, 7)
- 86% of all unreached people groups lie within the region called the 10/40 window (Joshua Project)
- 90% of foreign missionaries work among already reached people groups (Winter and Koch, 543)
- There are 430,000 missionaries from all branches of Christendom. Only between 2 and 3% of these missionaries work among unreached peoples. (The Traveling Team)
- 91% of all Christian outreach/evangelism does not target non-Christians, but targets other Christians. (Baxter 2007, 12)
- Of foreign mission funding: 87% goes for work among those already Christian. 12% for work among already evangelized, but Non-Christian. 1% for work among the unevangelized and unreached people. (Baxter 2007, 12)
- Only .1% of all Christian giving is directed toward mission efforts in the 38 most unevangelized countries in the world. (Barrett and Johnson 2001, 656)
- 22 million internationals visit the US each year. Of these, some 630,000 are university students from 220 countries, 25% of which prohibit Christian missionaries. 80% of those students will return to their countries having never been invited to an American home. (The Traveling Team)
- 40% of the world’s 220 Heads of State once studied in the US. (The Traveling Team)
- 90% of international students are unreached by ministries while in the United States. (The Traveling Team)
- American Christians spend 95% of offerings on home-based ministry, 4.5% on cross-cultural efforts in already reached people groups, and .5% to reach the unreached. (The Traveling Team)
- Christians spend more on the annual audits of their churches and agencies ($810 million) than on all their workers in the non-Christian world. (World Evangelization Research Center)
- The country with the fastest Christian expansion ever is China, now at 10,000 new converts every day. (World Evangelization Research Center)
- It costs Christians 700 times more money to baptize converts in rich Christian countries, such as Switzerland, than in poor unevangelized countries, such as Nepal. (World Evangelization Research Center)
- Annual church embezzlements by top custodians exceed the entire cost of all foreign missions worldwide. (World Evangelization Research Center)
- The average American Christian gives only 1 penny a day to global missions. (Yohannan, Revolution in World Missions, 142)
- The potential audience for Christian radio programming is 99% of the world’s population, assuming good reception, availability of a radio, and a desire to find the programs. (Johnstone and Mandryk 2005, 7)
- There have been 4.1 billion viewings of the Jesus Film, representing about 3 billion individuals. More than 99% of the world’s population could view the film in a language they know. (Johnstone and Mandryk 2005, 7)
If you listen to the news, it may seem like Christianity is dying. But much research shows a very different picture.
Dr. William Craig says:
“Evangelical Christianity is growing more than 3 times as fast the world’s population…We have the numbers, the financial resources, and the technology to evangelize the whole world in our generation—and thereby to reach the majority of the human race who have ever lived on the face of this planet!…
In 1815 less than one-tenth of the U. S. population were church members. The church faced enormous obstacles: a westward-migrating population, millions of immigrants flooding in from Europe, exploited non-Christian minorities in the Indians and Negro slaves to be evangelized, and so forth. Yet, amazingly,…by the end of the Great Century, church membership had grown…to more than two-fifths of the population,…blacks, whites, [and]Indians. It is probably impossible to exaggerate the importance of this 19th century evangelization of America. [American Christians have]been the chief vehicle for bringing Christianity to the world in the twentieth century.
…one of the most amazing stories is China. When missionaries were forced out of China in 1948, they left with a feeling of failure and defeat. It was long thought thereafter that the repressive communist regime had all but exterminated Christianity in China. But then during the 1970s news began to leak out of China that though the church had been forced underground, she had flourished and grown…the growth of the church in China has been without parallel in history, until today she numbers somewhere over 90 million believers[newer research says between 100-245 million]. In the words of Patrick Johnstone, Mao Tse-tung unwittingly became the greatest evangelist in history! Listen, God is on the move in the world today! He is building His church, just as He has been building it down through the centuries…”
Dr. William Lane Craig, “On Being A World Christian.”, https://www.reasonablefaith.org/writings/popular-writings/christianity-other-faiths/on-being-a-world-christian/
The Chinese church is growing by up to 10% a year according to some experts and there is a great deal of openness to hearing about the message of Jesus, especially by many Chinese young people.
This page (and links) will explain more of this vision and ways all Christians can help in this effort no matter where you live, who you are or what you do. For starters, some can go abroad and work in missions or other jobs and witness that way. But there is also much to do for those who stay at home since tens of millions of people from the 10/40 window visit America and Europe every year. Over 450,000 students from the 10/40 window come to study in America alone. Over half a million Chinese students study abroad, more than 328,000 in America. But sadly, 75% of international students never visit an American home and 80% never visit a church before returning home. Local Christians/churches can change that and influence future leaders of these countries in your home community. You can also meet many online through facebook, wechat, skype and in many other ways.
Many Chinese people are quite open to hearing about the gospel compared to many other places, partly because of the history of their country with atheism. Most times we ask people, they are interested in hearing about the truths of the Bible and I have been privileged to help in several baptisms in the few months I’ve been in China.
The famous missionary Hudson Taylor said,
“When China is moved it will change the face of the globe” (see “China’s Millions”).
God is moving in China in spiritual areas and economic areas are improving along with that.
Chinese house church leaders have asked Christian organizations to help them train ~1,000,000 missionaries by 2055 to send to the 10/40 window with God’s truths and messages and make the “back to Jerusalem” vision a reality. (see esp. ~3:00+)
Here’s another one on the The Back to Jerusalem Vision (this is a bit older, but has some interesting graphs/statistics)
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Paul Hattaway discusses the vision and challenges of the “Back to Jerusalem” vision in an interview with Christianity Today titled “A Captivating Vision: Why Chinese house churches may just end up fulfilling the Great Commission.” (www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2004/april/5.84.html) and he has also authored “Back to Jerusalem: Called to Complete the Great Commission” with 3 leaders of Chinese house church networks.
In China, many Chinese Christians have received revelations from God independently. These spiritual impressions and visions indicate that God has assigned Chinese/Asian Christians the task of conquering the 10/40 window, the last major unreached area on the planet where millions have never heard of Jesus. This makes a lot of sense because when we look at similarities in politics, culture, linguistics, logistics/proximity, markets, geopolitics and other factors, it is in general much cheaper, faster and more efficient for Asian Christians to reach people in the 10/40 window than for western Christians. For example, in many 10/40 countries, it’s extremely difficult for Americans to get visas to even visit or live there. It also takes years for westerners to learn the local languages window , but many countries in the 10/40 window are in the Altaic/Turkic language groups and have many similar words and grammatical structures and so Asian Christians can acquire language a lot faster.
If we look at how highly people in Asia and the 10/40 window value/prioritize health, education/high grades, the welfare of the community (more than individualism), wise laws as beneficial, the problems of pollution, poverty and others that plague the region, unique Bible doctrines that SDAs advocate (and that 1000s of scientific studies show can save millions of lives and trillions of dollars per year) are ideally suited to answer the dreams and solve the most serious problems that people in this region have. This will help them see the value of God’s truths for this life and enable them to trust their eternal lives to Him as well.
But what kind of Christianity will they follow?
A) CORRUPT WESTERN “CHRISTIANITY”: Barna Research indicates that only 9 – 10% of Americans and 17% of Christians and 4% of Generation Z have a biblical worldview in even bare bones basic area like belief that God is the Creator of the Universe, Jesus is fully God, the Bible is inspired and accurate, there are moral absolutes, salvation is a free gift by faith, etc. If the surveys included Bible economics, Bible health principles and Bible psychology, it would be far less.
The Worldview Measurement Project found that
“While 16% of those in the Boomer and Builder generations [have a biblical worldview], and just 7% of Baby Busters have a biblical worldview, only one-quarter as many Millennials have a biblical worldview – just 4%!”
Part of the problem is that Only 50% of Protestant pastors have a basic biblical worldview (since many denominations accept the deceptions of legalism or anti-nomian which the Bible strongly opposes (Eph. 2:8,9, Jude 3,4) and don’t teach a full biblical gospel).
A Hong Kong SDA pastor told me that one blessing of communism/persecution has been that it kept faith purer and reduced the problem of cults and many conflicting unbiblical denominations to some extent(although not entirely).
B) THREE SELF “CHRISTIANITY”: To understand Christianity in China, you need to “understand two men, Wang Mingdao and K. H. Ting!” as an old Beijing Christian said. (Jesus in Beijing, p. 143). Bishop Ting was a Chinese leader who led a sort of humanistic “Christianity” which opposed foreign influences, accepted the communist party as the head of the church. This means that the communist party has the final say on much of church life, such as who pastors churches, how many people are baptized, what can/can’t be preached, it forbids preaching about Jesus’ resurrection, 2nd coming, deity, forbids preaching against abortion, bans evangelism outside churches, forbids many government workers and children from being Christian, etc. There are exceptions and some Three Self churches are not controlled as much as others. But for how long?
C) HOUSE CHURCHES: Wang Mingdao (who had been friends with Ting) respected government civil authority, but believed that churches must have Jesus as the highest authority. He could not agree to the above restrictions and led many other similarly minded Christians who desired to do good for all people according to God to establish house churches. They tried to a large extent to follow the principles of the early church in Acts and after dialogue between several major house branches, have written a statement of faith and explained why they can’t morally be part of the Three Self church.
D) FULLY BIBLICAL GOSPEL (SDA): The house churches are very sincere, and some branches, comprising millions of members, already keep Sabbath which has a numerous profound benefits. But God has more truth for all Christians and the house churches (John 16:12) including the crucial Bible truths that SDAs have revived and are the most valuable solutions to the most serious problems in our world today.
Sabbath is one of the most crucial because it is a symbol/reminder of the most important truths and solutions to modern world problems. It points to creation which is the foundation of equality for all (Ex. 20:8-11) in contrast to the predicted deception of Darwinism which institutionalizes inequality and injustice. Sabbath reminds us that God is the origin of freedom for humanity (Deut. 5:15) while sin enslaves people (Romans 6:16). Sabbath is a symbol of the sanctuary message which points to Jesus our Saviour and again reminds us that we are all sinners and equally in need of grace (Lev. 19:30; 26:2).
Creation is the foundation of all major Christian doctrines such as the origin of sin/guilt (Gen. 3), the promise of Messiah to redeem us (Gen. 3:15) and male/female marriage/family (Gen 1:27-8). Creation is the foundation of God’s health message (Gen. 1:29; 2:16; 3:2, 18) and the science of chronobiology has discovered a circaseptan cycle in nature which shows that people and nature function best with rest every 7 days. So Sabbath itself is healthy. Sabbath points to the importance of caring for the environment and keeping it clean for future generations (Gen. 1:26,28;2:15) as well as animal rights (Ex. 20:8-11). It reminds us that God’s ideal way to live is in a garden (Gen. 2:8). Growing local gardens is one of the easiest and most profound solutions for many modern problems as the illuminating documentary “Economics of Happiness” points out (and also several TED talks).
The Sabbath as a symbol of freedom is intrinsically connected to justice (Isaiah 58:1-14) and economic justice/land rights for every family which is the ground of stable nations (Gen. 2:8,15, Lev. 25:1-20, Ez. 45:9+, 47:22-23). Sabbath reminds us of a Creator who through prophets opposed greed, the root of all evil(1 Tim. 6:10) and all forms of injustice in over 2,000 verses.
Creation itself of course points back to Sabbath (Gen. 2:2,3) which reminds us weekly that God is our Creator, Savior and source of earthly life, eternal life and all good gifts.
There are many obstacles that Christianity faces in evangelizing China including these:
A) Only ~8% of missionaries and ~0.0005%–1% of finances are focused on the 10/40 window.
Only minute resources are being directed towards these areas. If we work by God’s principles, we can make a major difference in China for God.
But missionaries from churches like this will compound the problem.
So we have a golden opportunity now to influence many people in this area for God and they can crack open the 10/40 window for God in time.
David Aiken, former Beijing Beureau Chief, Time Magazine writes in his book “Jesus in Beijing” about how 18 Americans were visiting China. They were astonished by what they heard from a leading Chinese scholar**.
“One of the things we were asked to look into was what accounted for the success, in fact, the pre-eminence of the West all over the world. We studied everything we could from the historical, political, economic, and cultural perspective. At first, we thought it was because you had more powerful guns than we had. Then we thought it was because you had the best political system. Next we focused on your economic system. But in the past twenty years, we have realised that the heart of your culture is your religion: Christianity. That is why the West is so powerful. The Christian moral foundation of social and cultural life was what made possible…the successful transition to democratic politics. We don’t have any doubt about this.” 
 Aikman, David, “Jesus in Beijing”, p. 5.
Another important fact is that when man’s institutions fail to provide answers and solutions to problems though (as they inevitably do in time), people become open to God’s truths, people like this Chinese doctor.*****
THE BACK TO JERUSALEM VISIONS
For several reasons listed below, Chinese, Korean and other Asian/Middle Eastern Christians are some of the most crucial keys in conquering the most effectively/efficiently for Jesus. But Christians in these areas need our support in spiritual, relational, educational and financial areas.
***In the 1920s, some Chinese Christians were given a vision of finishing the journey of the gospel and taking it “back to Jerusalem” through the 10/40 window (You can read more about them here: http://blog.truth-is-life.org/missions/china-vision/back-to-jerusalem-visions/) . This is an area which has the majority of the world’s population and over 1/2 of its largest cities, yet is the least evangelized area in the world and is dominated by four major religions: Islam, Hindusim, Buddhism and animism (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/10/40_Window, https://joshuaproject.net/resources/articles/10_40_window). It’s also an area with a few who are rich, but many are in poverty and often a great deal of crime, trafficking and sometimes terrorism and war as a result.
God has given a “Back to Jerusalem” vision to many Chinese Christians independently and said that He has given Chinese/Asian Christians the privilege of being major agents to conquer the last major unreached area on earth, an area that mission experts call the 10/40 window for Christ, as their spiritual inheritance. But these Christians will need much help from other Christians around the world in order to do this and so we need to see how we can support them best, similar to how early Christian churches did (2 Cor. 8:13-15). If we follow God’s higher wisdom and help the churches there in various ways, we can conquer the largely unreached 10/40 window for Christ much more more effectively and efficiently and go home to heaven sooner.
This is an experience of pastor Mark Ma (which is similar to what many other Chinese Christians have heard) in hearing God’s instructions of how to complete the Gospel Commission more effectively and efficiently (fuller details and references are here).
James Hudson Taylor II (grandson of the missionary Hudson Taylor) was forced to move to western China because of the Japanese invasion and was president of the Northwest Bible Institute in Shaanxi. Pastor Mark Ma was the Vice President. God indicated to various Christians independently that they needed to evangelize Gansu (in north central China), and then Xinjiang (a province in western China whose name means “New Dominion.” inhabited by millions of Muslims, most of whom speak languages from the Turkic linguistic family, such as Uygur, Kazak, Kirgiz and Uzbek) in preparation to send missionaries through Muslim dominated countries and take the gospel back to Jerusalem.
Pastor Mark Ma was praying and fasting on May 23, 1943 about Matthew 24:14 and what He meant about taking the gospel to all the world. God impressed him with a momentous vision.
“It is this, I not only want the Chinese Church to assume responsibility for taking the Gospel to Xinjiang but I want you to bring to completion the commission to preach the Gospel to all the world.”
Pastor Ma asked,
“O Lord, has not the Gospel already been preached to all the world?”
The Lord said,
“Since the beginning at Pentecost, the Pathway of the Gospel has spread, for the greater part, in a westward direction; from Jerusalem to Antioch to all Europe; from Europe to America and then to the East; from the Southeast of China to the Northwest; until today from Gansu on Westward it can be said there is no firmly established Church. You may go Westward from Gansu, preaching the Gospel all the way back to Jerusalem, causing the light of the Gospel to complete the circle around this dark world.”
Pastor Ma said,
“O Lord, who are we that we can carry such a great responsibility?”
The Lord answered,
“I want to manifest My power through those who of themselves have no power.”
Pastor Ma said,
“That section of territory is under the power of Islam and the Muslims are the hardest of all peoples to reach with the Gospel.”
The Lord replied,
“The most rebellious people are the Israelites, the hardest field of labor is my own people the Jews…Even you Chinese, yourself included, are hard enough but you have been conquered by the Gospel…but I have kept for the Chinese Church a portion of inheritance, otherwise, when I return will you not be so poor?”
REASONS WHY ASIAN CHRISTIANS ARE CRUCIAL TO FINISHING GOD’S COMMISSION
Over time, many facts from research on linguistics, culture, statistics, new technological developments, economics, and more are showing that there are many advantages to working according to God’s plan.
Western missionaries have unfortunately had a very difficult time making a significant impact in the 10/40 window (although there has been some progress in recent years). But Asian and especially Chinese Christians believe that God has give them unique experiences and advantages that can help them break down this stronghold of deceptive worldviews and convert many people to God’s life giving truths and hope. Some reasons why Asian Christians and scholars believe they have special advantages in this area are these:
Here are some more reasons why we need to support Asian Christianity as much as we can right now.
1) EXPERIENCE WITH PERSECUTION: This area unfortunately has many repressive governments. The Chinese went through the most extreme fires of communist persecution and didn’t just survive, they thrived. They learned to depend on God and His Spirit, experienced miracles and grew from ~ 1 million Christians before Mao’s cultural revolution to ~80-100 million Christians now. They trust this promise of Jesus’, ““I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 This documentary brilliantly summarizes their experience in these hard times :
The Cross — Jesus in China 十字架 — 耶稣在中国
2) INDEPENDENT TESTIMONY OF GOD: The Chinese can testify to a 5,000 year relationship with the God spoken of in the Bible, but independently of the west and Israel. Ancient Chinese classics speak of Shangdi, the ruler above all, the One true God who created all things and has traits identical to the God of the Bible. Up to 70% of ancient Chinese characters also convey the same stories of creation, the flood and the gospel that the Bible does as this Chinese pastor and others explain.
God in Ancient China 古代中國人的神 – Part 1 & ２(English & Chinese)
(see also: The Sacred Meaning of China’s Altar of Heaven https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WCG8yrJskRk)
3) GODLINESS MAKES NATIONS FREE. Proverbs 14:34 says, “Godliness makes a nation great, but sin is a disgrace to any people.” The Chinese can testify of this being true based on 5,000 years of history. When their kings/emperors and people followed God’s principles, they experienced national stability, peace and success. Confucius even said that when people followed the principles of love, caring for all people and sharing natural resources freely, there was a great golden age of peace and prosperity when “criminal elements failed to arise” and “outer doors did not have to be shut”. But when leaders and people followed greed, power and selfishness, it caused numerous wars, intrigues/conspiracies, losses of freedom, suffering and death for millions upon millions over the centuries. This documentary is extremely powerful in showing this.
4) LESS PREJUDICE: Asian Christians don’t have to deal with the prejudice that some in the Middle East have towards the west because of centuries of colonization by western governments. They believe that God has given them a destiny to complete the gospel commission and many are willing to give everything and even die for Him in completing it. Western missionaries are sometimes seen as tools of western occupation, corporate control and military intervention. But this bias is much less or absent with Chinese missionaries who are not seen as having hidden agendas, esp. since they are also coming from a country where they have been persecuted by their government. So they are able to bypass much of the prejudice against western missionaries that exists.
5) CULTURE SIMILARITIES: Asian cultures share many cultural similarities with Middle Eastern cultures. When westerners read that Moses took off his shoes in front of God, it doesn’t make much sense. But across Asia and the Middle East, this is a well known sign of respect. These cultures also are much more communal as the Hebrew culture is, compared to western cultures. This makes it easier for Asian Christians to understand and convey Bible truths.
6) LANGUAGE SIMILARITIES: Korean, Chinese, Turkish, Mongolian, some Indian dialects and up to 74 languages in this area come from the Altaic family language group and so have quite a number of similarities. Many words for example have similar phonetic pronunciation and there are similarities in grammar and others. This makes it easier and faster for Asian missionaries to acquire new languages. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Altaic_languages, linguistics.oxfordre.com/view/10.1093/acrefore/9780199384655.001.0001/acrefore-9780199384655-e-35, linguistics.byu.edu/classes/Ling450ch/reports/altaic.htm
7) BIBLE ECONOMICS: South Koreans can testify about how their country rose from the ashes of war and being about the poorest nation in the world in the 1950s to now being in the top 15 richest countries now. (even though Korea is quite small) and ranking #1 or close to it in dozens of areas by following God’s principles, especially God’s economics. Korea also has several of the largest churches in the world. Far more importantly, Korea is already one of the top 5 missionary sending countries in the world). You can read some of this history here:
HOW CHRISTIANS IN OTHER COUNTRIES CAN HELP
While it’s hard for western missionaries to enter many Middle Eastern countries, we can help and support God’s work in many other ways, both abroad and at home. We must remember that when God gives a command, if we follow His wisdom, He will empower us to complete it and do amazing things in our time as He did in the past.
- “For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.” Phil. 2:13 (NLT)
- “Lord, I have heard the news about You; I am amazed at what You have done. Lord, do great things once again in our time; make those things happen again in our own days…” Hab. 3:2 (NCV)
But to do this, we need to focus our efforts, resources and time in following God’s wisdom and methods, not those of people who set aside God’s wisdom for their own traditions or opinions as the Jews did (Mark 7:5-13). The missionary Hudson Taylor wrote:
Ellen White wrote:
“Human devices, human plans, and human counsels will be without power…There are glorious truths to come before the people of God. Privileges and duties which they do not even suspect to be in the Bible will be laid open before the followers of Christ. As they follow on in the path of humble obedience, doing God’s will, they will know more and more of the oracles of God, and be established in right doctrines.” Ellen White, Letter 5, 1889
When Elisha asked Naaman to wash in the Jordan river, he became offended at doing such a simple thing. He didn’t understand. But when He followed God’s simple instructions, he was healed. Throughout history, God has given simple instructions about how to complete His work most effectively and efficiently. These make those who are simple wise (Ps. 19:7, 1 Cor. 1:25-27), even wiser than their teachers (Ps. 119:99-100). They helped the early Acts church beat poverty (Acts 2:42-47;4:32-35) and spread the gospel in just a few years to so many nations that people said they turned the world upside down (Acts 17:6).
So if we learn from God well, we can do the same in regard to the challenges of our time. But it has to be done God’s way. He is far wiser than all teachers, all scientists, all pastors and everyone else combined!
Ellen White writes very eloquently about the full implications of the golden rule in ways that relate directly to missions. She says that as modern churches follow the practices of the church in Acts, we will see the same result that they did.
“The golden rule’s…truest illustration is seen in the life and character of Jesus…The influence of grace is to soften the heart, to refine and purify the feelings, giving a heaven-born delicacy and sense of propriety.
But there is a yet deeper significance to the golden rule. Everyone who has been made a steward of the manifold grace of God is called upon to impart to souls in ignorance and darkness, even as, were he in their place, he would desire them to impart to him. The apostle Paul said, “I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise.” Romans 1:14. By all that you have known of the love of God, by all that you have received of the rich gifts of His grace above the most benighted and degraded soul upon the earth are you in debt to that soul to impart these gifts unto him.
So also with the gifts and blessings of this life: whatever you may possess above your fellows places you in debt, to that degree, to all who are less favored. Have we wealth, or even the comforts of life, then we are under the most solemn obligation to care for the suffering sick, the widow, and the fatherless exactly as we would desire them to care for us were our condition and theirs to be reversed.
The golden rule teaches, by implication, the same truth which is taught elsewhere in the Sermon on the Mount, that “with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” That which we do to others, whether it be good or evil, will surely react upon ourselves, in blessing or in cursing. Whatever we give, we shall receive again.
The earthly blessings which we impart to others may be, and often are, repaid in kind. What we give does, in time of need, often come back to us in fourfold measure in the coin of the realm. But, besides this, all gifts are repaid, even in this life, in the fuller inflowing of His love, which is the sum of all heaven’s glory and its treasure…
The standard of the golden rule is the true standard of Christianity; anything short of it is a deception.
Of the apostolic church, in those bright days when the glory of the risen Christ shone upon them, it is written that no man said “that aught of the things which he possessed was his own.” “Neither was there any among them that lacked.” “And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.” “And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” Acts 4:32, 34, 33; 2:46, 47.
Search heaven and earth, and there is no truth revealed more powerful than that which is made manifest in works of mercy to those who need our sympathy and aid. This is the truth as it is in Jesus. When those who profess the name of Christ shall practice the principles of the golden rule, the same power will attend the gospel as in apostolic times.” Ellen White, Mount of Blessing, p. 138-9.
Anyone can contribute to this work, wherever you are, whether you need to stay in your home country or if you can travel abroad to share God’s truths. There are ways to help out wherever you are because over 450,000 students from the 10/40 window are studying in America and many in European countries too and can be reached in your country. But at present only ~8% of Christian missionaries and ~0.0005% of financial resources are being used to reach the 10/40 window, yet that’s where over ~4.5 billion people live, where most of the poor and exploited in the world, and where 95% of the people know little or nothing about Jesus . So we need to put a lot more focus in this area to complete God’s work.
More are at the above link, but some brief ways you can help are:
a) SPIRITUAL/FERVENT PRAYERS: Missionaries have always been sustained, encouraged and at times miracles happened because of the fervent prayers of godly supporters. So we need your prayers for God’s blessings and for God’s Spirit to convict hearts and minds most. In addition, if you find useful spiritual resources, especially ones already in local languages, share them with us and the missionaries working in the field.
b) RELATIONAL: Make friends with Asian Christians in your country and abroad and online. Try to share messages and resources of truth and hope. One very easy way you can help that costs no money is to share the inspirational documentaries listed below with both western and Asian/Middle Eastern Christians. They show how God has given solid evidence and proof that He is God to Asian cultures that independently corroborate the Bible and also testify to how His truths make nations free and peaceful when they are followed and changes lives for good.
c) EDUCATIONAL/INTELLECTUAL: The most important thing to teach people is God’s truths that give us real freedom and help people become self-supporting and then able to help others. The Bible’s truths of the gospel, loving family life, healthy living, economic justice and diligent work are crucial to help people become independent from human entities. This is the most important thing that SDA schools are teaching.
If you are an educator or knowledgeable person, consider being a missionary to Asia yourself or sharing truth with people in Asia. If you find valuable educational materials for teaching students, learning English, etc. share them with us. If you are a translator, volunteer to help convert more of God’s wisdom into local languages.
d) FINANCIAL: We want to change hearts for God, but some progress depends on another kind of “change” as well, money and finances. It would be nice if this wasn’t a reality, but it is. But our God owns the cattle on a thousand hills and has given many resources to His people around the world. How much evangelism we can do depends partially on how how much financial support is available for SDA schools and ministries and missionaries and how fast they develop to become independent.
Any funds you can contribute to help SDA schools, ministries and missionaries would be greatly appreciated. It costs less to support outreach in China than in developed countries, but it still does cost something. Some schools and missionaries have very serious needs right now to keep going through financial difficulties and challenges, and we are praying for God to provide as He has done so many times in the past.
If you would like to contribute to the work of the China Visions, this can be done by sending contributions to the NSD division or the Hong Kong conference or in other ways. If you need to know more information about how to contribute, contact Bryan Bissell at:
WAYS TO RAISE MONEY FOR LOCAL AND INTERNATIONAL EVANGELISM
How can godly individuals and churches raise money to support. There are many ways:
1) GROW A GARDEN: This seems too simple, but ~35% of people’s income is spent on food, and growing a garden can save a lot of money that way and even more if you can find a market to sell your food at. The biblical documentary “Back to Eden” shows how to do organic farming quite cheaply, easily and profitably following Bible principles.
Many people around the world are realizing the tremendous value of land for each family or even growing gardens. For one convention center it is saving them ~$3,000,000 a year.
This is another account of a farmer who is making $100,000 from 1/3 of an acre in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada , most of which he doesn’t even own.
<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/tP5bOr0aC58″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>
God bless as you consider how to support the work in China and beyond to the 10/40 window!
EXTRAS TO ADD
A) the challenge, some of what what is being done, current needs and how to help (“THE BACK TO JERUSALEM VISION FOR THE 10/40 WINDOW(AND A FEW WAYS TO HELP)”,
B) advantages that Asian Christian have in reaching the 10/40 window (“GIFTS/ADVANTAGES OF ASIAN MISSIONARIES”),
C) how biblical truths that SDAs have long taught are the most valuable solutions to solving modern problems and injustices (UNIQUE TRUTHS OF BIBLICAL SDAs RELEVANT FOR OUR TIME ),
D) how to contribute financially (FINANCIAL CONTRIBUTION INFORMATION) and
E) A list of some easy and practical ways to raise money for missions near and far, some that could increase income for individuals and churches by many $1000s of dollars or even millions in some cases ( “WAYS TO RAISE MONEY FOR LOCAL AND INTERNATIONAL EVANGELISM”).
If you have useful ideas to add to these or you wish to contribute in any way, please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Through all of the most successful efforts in history, when God’s people work as 1 body, each contributing our various talents, focusing on areas where God has given us abilities and blessings, God’s work is accomplished far more effectively. This kind of interdependence is what is needed now more and more.
Americans and Europeans sent missionaries around the world for the last 200 years and that is still important in many ways. But now there are many Asian Christians who are willing and have unique skills that can help us a great deal in our mission work. We have one of the biggest opportunities to impact Asia and the 10/40 window now and in the near future. If western Christians work with Chinese/Asian Christians diligently, we can do even more than any past generations have done.
And God is opening the hearts and minds of many young Chinese people right now to the things of God. In a lot of cases, they are more open to the gospel right now than most people in the west are. It’s quite an incredible and wonderful opportunity.
These are some of the advantages that Asian Christians have in working to finish the commission in brief (they are in more detail later). These are briefly some of the opportunities we have now and why one of the most important things that Christians can do is to support evangelism in China and Asia (much more information and citations are on the website below):
The Jewish Diaspora had dispersed to Asia before the Christian era bringing with it the Seventh Day Sabbath observance, Sabbath-keeping, the original position of the Church, had spread west into Europe and from Palestine, it spread east into India and then to China.” (Mingana – Early Spread of Christianity, Vol. 10, page. 460). three strongest indigenous Christian groups that have gone underground in China. The other two are the True Jesus Church and the Little Flock. It is estimated that these three groups have a combined membership of over thirty million underground members in China. Of these three groups only the True Jesus Church keeps the Seventh Day Sabbath. https://www.biblesabbath.org/tss/485/sabbath.html
1) THRIVING IN PERSECUTION: Many Chinese Christians endured the worst persecution and thrived. These Christians and those they have taught know how to endure and thrive under persecution of Christianity in the Middle East.
2) INDEPENDENT TESTIMONY OF GOD: Many documentaries show that Chinese history and classics going back up to 5,000 years, testify of the same God spoken of in the Bible. He isn’t just a western God. He is the God of the eastern peoples as well.
3) GODLINESS MAKES NATIONS FREE. 5,000 years of Chinese history shows that nations can choose God or greed. When they follow God, they have peace and safety. When they follow greed, there is crime and war. This fulfills Proverbs 14:34, “Godliness makes a nation great, but sin is a disgrace to any people.”
4) KOREAN TESTIMONY: Korean Christians who influenced churches and the government to follow Bible economics were crucial in the rise of Korea from the devastation of war to ranking #1 or close to it in dozens of areas.
5) AVOID PREJUDICE AGAINST USA/EUROPE: Asian Christians don’t have to deal with the prejudice that some in the Middle East have towards the west because of centuries of colonization/exploitation by some western governments and/or some corporations.
6) CULTURE SIMILARITIES: Many customs in the Asian and Middle Eastern cultures are similar and this will reduce obstacles to the gospel and increase acceptance.
7) LANGUAGE SIMILARITIES: There are 100s of similar words in some languages in Asia and the Middle East which will help missionaries be able to communicate the gospel better.