(This is an overview of one of the best opportunities in history that Christians and SDAs have to complete the Great Commission through evangelizing China…as well as some major challenges. It is still under construction, but some helpful information is here and at other pages under the Mission, China section.)
- “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)
- “When China is moved it will change the face of the globe” Hudson Taylor (China’s Millions)
- Main website: http://blog.truth-is-life.org/missions/china-vision/ (under construction, but much more material/citations there)
When communism came to China, Chairman Mao’s wife said, “Christianity in China has been consigned to the history section of museums.” But the Bible is an anvil that has worn out many hammers and God had radically different ideas. Experts estimate that Christianity in China increased from ~1 million in 1949 to between 100-234+ million Christians now and is growing at ~10% a year ( ~10,000+ are converted daily). China will soon be the largest Christian population in the world. Dr. Yang from Purdue says, “Mao thought he could eliminate religion. He thought he had accomplished this…It’s ironic – they didn’t. They actually failed completely.”
China is in an area called the 10/40 window which has ~65% of the world’s people, ~90% of its poorest, many violent areas, worst persecution areas and ~95% of the unreached. When man’s policies fail, people are then most open to accepting God’s love and truth because they see the real difference it makes. Because of this Christianity is becoming very attractive in this region and we have one of the best opportunities in history to help finish the Great Commission. The Chinese academic journal Science and Atheism in 2013 said there is rapid growth of Christianity among university students and concluded there was a “religious fever” in society.
The 10/40 window has been very difficult for western missionaries for many reasons (visa/political problems, language/culture problems, violence, etc.). But God has given “Back to Jerusalem” visions that indicate that He wants Chinese/Asian Christians to conquer the 10/40 window. Pastor Mark Ma (VP at the Northwest Bible Institute that James Hudson Taylor II started) experienced one. He was praying about the Great Commission. God impressed him, “I not only want the Chinese Church to assume responsibility for taking the Gospel to Xinjiang [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.” Many Chinese Christians have had similar “Back to Jerusalem” visions. So they are training 1 million missionaries in the next 2-3 decades (~8-9 times what protestants have now) to conquer the 10/40 window. Videos here and links on page 3 explain this more: YWAM-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V5p7hzjY5Z8, SDA mission-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cr82p_lvZE8, FEBC-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-030AAfMNu0
An international Christian journalist in Beijing said that when you talk to Chinese Christians, they believe that God has uniquely called the church in China to carry the Gospel back to Jerusalem along the ancient Silk Road and caravan routes and evangelize the Islamic world and Central Asia. “You Americans have all the money and the strategy,” they told him, “But we know persecution and we know martyrdom, and we are not afraid.”
When people of God get on fire, Satan gets worried. China was opening to Christianity quite a lot and many are still very open to it as I personally experienced when there in 2017-9. But Xi Jin Ping has in recent years had a China first attitude and this is conflicting with Trump’s America first agenda. The consequence of this is a massive crackdown on American religious workers because so many American Christians supported Trump and China is afraid of their political leanings. Our SDA church has had to withdraw almost all its missionaries there in the last year because of this as one Korean pastor who leads the Pioneer Missionary Movement told me directly. We need to pray, but also develop new ways to help spread the gospel during persecution and not withdraw be afraid of puny politicians no matter what country they lead as we are doing now. I think one crucial way to do this is by teaching and spreading Bible justice and economics since Ellen White gives some very clear instructions that these topics are very important for our time and are key ways that we can have the same power that the early church had (one of those quotes is below).
I am willing and able to do presentations, missionary training, lead church small groups/SS about justice and Bible economics so that we can be much more effective in the near future, during persecution or after it, in reaching China and also people in America. I have studied this topic in great depth, partly because of being in Korea for 23 years and seeing how it followed Bible economics to incredible success, which many call “The Miracle on the Han River.”
These are some articles about the persecution happening now in China: Christian heartland opens window into fight for China’s soul https://www.apnews.com/a2e4a0436fba4146a156daef77885945, https://relevantmagazine.com/current/global/christian-persecution-china-even-worse-you-thought, https://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/world/2018/august/china-launches-massive-new-wave-of-persecution-against-christians-there-is-no-freedom-at-all, www.bpnews.net/51700/a-return-to-mao-era-persecution-in-china
Ellen White tells us that some of the most signal victories depend on timely/decisive action (Testimonies for the Church, v. 8, p. 497). These ways to finish God’s Commission that God has revealed are important to focus on for several reasons:
A) We all want to finish the Commission (Matt. 28:19) and go home to heaven. But to do so we have to evangelize China, India and the 10/40 window. The Bible tells us often that success comes from following God’s wisdom, not human power, might or intellect (Zech. 4:6, Prov. 14:34, 1 Cor. 1:25,27, Ps. 19:7, etc.). Ellen White agrees, “Human devices, human plans, and human counsels will be without power.” (Letter 5, 1889). The China visions make a lot of sense when we consider logistics/proximity, linguistic/cultural similarities, Chinese experiences of thriving under persecution, politics/economics, President Xi’s Belt and Road Initiatives that will open connections between China and the Middle East (like Roman roads helped spread the gospel), etc. God’s method of working through China to the 10/40 window is clearly the most efficient/logical way. Every human life is important to God, yet only ~8% of missionaries and ~0.0005% of funding go to the 10/40 region. Shouldn’t we invest time, skills, finances & other blessings to do God’s work more equitably in those areas too (2 Cor. 8:13-14)? We need to if we are to complete the mission Jesus gave us.
B) Paul said he was a debtor to all because he received gifts from God and had a duty to share (Romans 1:11,14). This is true of us too. Ellen White says we will only have the same power as the early church had when we follow the golden rule as they did, sharing truths, resources, love, wealth, etc. we receive from God with others equitably along with testimony of Jesus’ resurrection (MB, p. 137-9).
C) The Bible says righteousness makes nations great (Prov. 14:34). Scientists like Dr. Pat Fagan and Robert Woodberry have shown that Christian churches/missionaries are the cause of more national stability, human rights, civil laws, family strength, education, literacy/printing, etc. than all other factors combined. Supporting mission efforts is one of the best ways to improve the most lives.
D) Ellen White promises that mission work will bless home churches. “The home missionary work will be farther advanced in every way when a more liberal, self-denying, self-sacrificing spirit is manifested for the prosperity of foreign missions; for the prosperity of the home work depends largely, under God, upon the reflex influence of the evangelical work in countries afar off. It is in working actively to supply the necessities of the cause of God that we bring our souls in touch with the Source of all power.” 6T p. 27
Developing stronger faith of missionaries, learning evidence for God in foreign countries (such as evidence for Jesus’ birth, death and resurrection in ancient China), answered prayers/miracles, and financial cooperation between churches are just a few ways this is true.
E) Research shows bad health habits, poverty, pollution, family, suicide, violence, lack of food, are our world’s biggest problems. The Sabbath points to God’s solutions which 1000s of research studies show is best: NEWSTART/gardening, Bible economics, creation/equality, Bible family principles, etc. Science confirms these can save millions of lives and trillions of dollars every year.
F) If we SDAs don’t take act soon, we may have to do double the work to evangelize China and the 10/40 window in the future.
SDA have unique Bible truths that match values or needs of people in the 10/40 window best and some Asian SDA leaders/schools are working with the “Back to Jerusalem” movement now (we need more tho). Millions of Chinese house church members are already keeping the Sabbath. Scott Griswold, associate director for Adventist Southeast Asia Projects, explains some ways SDA beliefs connect to 10/40 morals/needs in his article “Reach the World Next Door” (and I explain some others at my main website above):
“The Seventh-day Adventist Church is uniquely placed with a very special message for people of other religions. When the gospel transforms us,…people see in us their highest values. Muslims are pleasantly surprised when they learn that our surrender to the one true God includes not eating pork or drinking alcohol. Jews see us valuing “their” Sabbath, celebrating family and our amazing Creator God. Spiritually minded, vegetarian Hindus respect our wholistic message that ties physical, mental, and spiritual health into an integrated package. Buddhists find a close connection between their emphasis on right living in view of the impermanence of all things and our call to holy living in light of the end of the world.” https://www.adventistreview.org/9131531-16
The key question is what kind of Christianity China will spread through the 10/40 window? Will it be humanistic three-self Christianity, corrupt western Christianity (BARNA research says that only ~4-10% of Americans have a biblical worldview) or the pure biblical truths of the Bible that SDAs have revived. That depends much on what we SDAs do now. Praying is a primary source of power to convict hearts, make wise choices, etc. But prayer without action is useless (WM p. 29-30). How can SDAs help best?
- Influence people/churches everywhere to follow God’s gold standard of “doing good for each person and all people” 1 Thess. 5:15 This means that we need to think how our daily choices affect local individuals and people/nations all around the world. “Every act of our lives affects others for good or evil.” 2T 133 (PP 158) and many affect people overseas too. Some are below.
- Teach church members about the Back to Jerusalem visions from God, the opportunities/challenges, & how they can help.
- Serve as a missionary overseas (teacher, medical staff, scientist, architect, artist, health professional, etc.). See hesaidgo.net
- Over 450,000 students from the 10/40 window study in America every year. Some will be future leaders of their countries. Many need help learning English, shopping, registering with govt./schools, etc. Helpful Christians can open their hearts to God. Ellen White says, “We should be able to see in the multiplying opportunities to reach many foreigners in America a divinely appointed means of rapidly extending the third angel’s message into all the nations of Earth. God in his providence has brought men to our very doors and thrust them, as it were, into our arms, that they might learn the truth, and be qualified to do a work we could not do in getting the light before men of other tongues” (Evangelism, p. 570). https://www.adventistreview.org/church-news/story4539-‘refugees-will-play-key-role-in-jesus’-second-coming, http://www.isionline.org/GetInvolved.aspx
- Share God’s truths online in many languages. Ideas are here: truth-is-life.org/missions/foreign-witness/, www.thehopeproject.com/, thestoryfilm.com/, asiministries.org/newbeginnings/, www.everystudent.com/menus/intl.html, www.reachinginternationals.com
- Donate/raise We need to educate many SDA pastors/teachers, start ministries to teach truth, health, justice, family life skills, Bible economics, gardening, etc. in order to win unbelievers to Jesus. This requires money. So we need fund raisers.
- Learn & follow ~30+ Bible economic principles. ~18,000,000 die every year from greed/poverty. Unless God miraculously drops tons of gold in our churches, the best way to stop this and for families/churches to earn many $1000s more per year and fund the Great Commission is by following God’s economic principles: be active/donating to a biblical church (every $1 given to a biblical church brings ~$4-10 to the community), follow NEWSTART health habits (wealth doubles by the 50s), make marriages/families strong (science says that saying yes ~87%+ of the time if not against God’s principles is a big secret of strong marriages and can save up to $1 million per couple, confirming Eph). promoting Bible land rights & gardening and others below. See more here: http://blog.truth-is-life.org/rights/jubilee-economics/, http://blog.truth-is-life.org/rights/greed/, http://blog.truth-is-life.org/real-independence/
- Follow and share Wesley’s wise advice to gain all we can so we can save all we can so we can give all we can and it will bring many blessings (1 John 3:17, Luke 6:38 and https://www.christianitytoday.com/pastors/1987/winter/87l1027.html).
- Learn and follow Jewish/Ellen White principles of giving to create independent people/families (not dependent people) that can support missions more!
- Work overseas at non-church jobs. Start or help nearby churches with time, wisdom, salary, etc. https://te.adventistmission.org/
- Localize: Daily buying choices are powerful. Try to buy from local believers (Gal. 6:10), Christian/religious people/businesses in your nation (Deut. 15:11), believers in need around the world (Rom 12:13), the local community (Phil 2:4, Luke 6:27), anyone in need (Proverbs 19:17), anyone with a good character (Prov. 3:27) and only if absolutely essential, secular corporations. If many Christians do this, it can save Christians, churches and local communities billions of dollars per year. https://www.jesuseconomy.org/, https://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-salguero/why-buying-local-is-worth_b_4310520.html, blog.truth-is-life.org/docu/econ/economics-of-happiness/
- Reduce pollution/plastic. Many things are made by corporations that harm nature, exploit people or even use slave labor. Buying from them supports these injustices. Buy from companies that don’t use slave labor. Also, avoid buying plastic, especially single use plastic, Teflon, etc. It is causing terribly high levels of pollution, toxifying waters and land, causing diseases, entering the food chain and causing serious health problems and more. http://slaveryfootprint.org/, https://theintercept.com/2016/09/15/the-teflon-toxin-goes-to-china/, https://theconversation.com/youre-eating-microplastics-in-ways-you-dont-even-realise-97649
- Godly gardens. Scientists also say that the world will need more food in the next 50 years than all history combined. God gave ideal gardening methods in the Bible and through Ellen White that produce ~5-20 times more food, healthier food and tastier food. This is a crucial solution. See: Planting by the Blue Print (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iA-ZVZTroOY) Green roofs (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FlJoBhLnqko), https://ilsr.org/compost-impacts-2/, http://www.filmsforaction.org/watch/back-to-eden-2011/, http://blog.truth-is-life.org/health/gods-garden/
- Be Wise about Politics: God and the church are the ultimate solutions to our world problems. Politics often just wastes time, but if guided by God, it can have some good influence as the stories of Joseph, Daniel, Wilberforce and others show. If you choose to be involved in politics, follow godly principles, not fear and propaganda tactics. Support leaders who are genuine Christians/believers in God. Ellen White writes, “The man who does not know God as his Father, and Jesus Christ…can not rule wisely.” (3MR 37). This is because any leader who is greedy, promiscuous or ignorant of God’s laws (Deut. 17:17+) has betrayed many people and will have no problem betraying an entire country. Leaders must be honest and think of the good of people in all places and nations (Ps 72:17). They must be just and fair and do good to all (Isaiah 56:1).
This article on SDAs and politics is helpful. https://www.adventistreview.org/2008-1525-8 Oppose almost all wars because there are many Christians and missionaries in other countries whose work will be made harder or dangerous by war or they may even have to stop their work. Search/read 4 star general Smedley Butler’s book “War is a Racket” about how war is usually done for greed/power, not freedom.
The eloquent Christian writer Philip Yancey, writes:
“My concerns come in part from discussions with the one group of conservative Christians most nervous about anti-Americanism: missionaries. They bear the brunt of world opinion, and sometimes pay for it with their lives. One wrote, “Arabs are interpreting war against Iraq as Christian aggression against an Islamic nation. This false perception is so deeply ingrained among most Arabs that it undermines any perception of Christianity as a message of love and peace.”
M. Scott Peck makes an intriguing observation:
“It is notable that two hundred years ago this new nation spent virtually no money and no energy attempting to control the behavior of the other nations of the world. Yet one by one, almost ten by ten, the peoples of these nations followed our spiritual and political example to seek the same freedoms for themselves. It is hard to escape the conclusion that in the years since, our political and spiritual leadership has declined in inverse proportion to the increasing amounts of money and effort we have expended to manipulate other countries. . . . I wonder, if we in the United States were to concentrate—as our overwhelmingly major priority—on making ourselves the best possible society we can be, whether the nations of the world might once again, without any pressure except the influence of example, begin to emulate us.”
See also: http://blog.truth-is-life.org/rights/thrive/, https://www.adventistreview.org/2008-1525-8
- Be sure you know how to fairly distinguish between truth and deceptions/propaganda since this will help people avoid much loss in many areas, empower them to be much more helpful and cut down on conflict. It will set people free as Jesus said (John 8:32). Ellen White says, “The search for truth will reward the seeker at every turn.” CE 119 and “Truth is God’s basis for the unity of his people.” (GW92 391). The Bible and EGW speak of love, justice and other factors that help unity as well. But truth is crucial. Truth is not determined by whether an idea is conservative or liberal now any more than it was in Jesus days with the conservative Pharisees and liberal Sadducees. A rough intro that will be updated with more Bible/EGW/science principles is here:
Learn the tactics of propaganda that are often used in politics and media, especially those pioneered by an atheist pioneer of propaganda, Edward Bernays. He taught leaders tactics they could use to “control and regiment the masses according to our will without their knowing about it.” And these tactics are especially used to justify wars and the goals of the military industrial complex that Eisenhower warned was one of the greatest dangers to freedom.
- The Bible says concern for justice and the poor and oppressed is a main trait of being godly. So become aware, speak out and act against injustice when you are able. Support justice in all areas of life at home and abroad since injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere:
“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed. Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.” Proverbs 31:8-9 (NLT)
“People of Israel, if you want to enjoy a long and successful life, make sure that everyone is treated with justice in the land the Lord is giving you.” Deut. 16:20 (CEV)
**”The godly care about the rights of the poor; the wicked don’t care at all.” Prov. 29:7
**”Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.” James 1:27
see also: https://thebibleproject.com/explore/justice/, https://relevantmagazine.com/god/practical-faith/what-biblical-justice,
SDA and Asian Christians have special advantages in witnessing to people in/from the 10/40 window now. The next couple decades may be the best opportunity in history to finish the Great Commission. Let’s all work together to do this and go home to heaven!
Contact Bryan Bissell for more information and to arrange presentations at a church or school on this topic: