Monday, March 03, 2008

A Challenge To The Church In The West

I've been reading The Resurrection of the Chinese Church. Although the book is a bit dated it is a fascinating snapshot at the Chinese church in the early 1990's -- and a look back towards how it emerged from the darkness of the 70' and the particularly fierce persecution that took place during the Cultural Revolution. When the fog of isolation began to fade, the church raised its head to show that it not only had survived, but had thrived dispute predictions from the west that it would be driven out of existence. Wang Mingdao one of the patriarchs of the Chinese church explained this surprise simply: "We have nothing -- no pastors, no churches, no bibles . . . nothing! We only have God. Therefore, we must always go to him with desperation."

The author, Tony Lambert concludes:
The reason for the growth of the church in china and for the outbreak of genuine spiritual revival in many areas is inextricably linked to the whole theology of the cross. For may Chinese Christians, the doctrine of the atonement of Christ is not a theory but a lived-out reality. The cross and the resurrection, death and life, suffering and glory are linked together in living experience.

The experience of the Chinese church has a deep message for the church oversees . . . . In terms of understanding of Scripture and Christina life and experience the Chinese church challenges western Christians to re-examine our motivation and our loyalty to Christ and Scripture. The stark message of the Chinese church is that God uses suffering and the preaching of a crucified Christ to pur out revival and build his church. Are we in the west still willing to hear?

Ouch -- it hurts because it's true.