Monday, September 20, 2004

China's Cross

"In 1900 during the Boxer Rebellion, 188 western missionaries, and 20,000 Chinese Christians were killed. In the following fifty years, more western missionaries came to China. They established 13 universities, over 6,000 elementary schools and high schools, and more than 900 hospitals. The number of Chinese Christians grew to 700,000. Fifty more years have passed and today there are approximately 70 million Christians in China, an increase of 100 fold." The Cross - Jesus in China
One of the most moving documentaries I have ever seen lately is, The Cross - Jesus in China, a four hour series on the growth of the church in China produced by China Soul For Christ. The four episodes titled The Spring of Life, Seeds of Blood, The Bitter Cup, and The Canaan Hymns, look at the slow but astonishing spread of the gospel in the face of violent persecution in China. Beginning with a brief history of missionary activities in the last century and ending with an episode on the hymns that have defined the soul of the Chinese church, the documentary is literally the book of Acts come alive.

I have always known that God was at work in communist China, but nothing quite prepared me for the vivid images of crowded churches and joyful congregations in villages and cities across that vast country. The inspiring live testimonies and heart-warming stories of faith and perseverance on screen reaffirmed once again Tertullian’s words that the seed of the church is built on the blood of the martyrs. Watching the documentary moved me deeply, leading me to praise God for his grace and faithfulness. You can’t simply take in a documentary like this without examining the state of your heart as well.

Sadly the release of this documentary has drawn the attention of China’s political masters, resulting in a new crackdown. Christianity Today reported that dozens of unregistered church leaders and personalities interviewed in the documentary (and David Aikman’s book Jesus in Beijing) have been arrested. It appears to signal the renewal of a major campaign against the Chinese church, possibly on the scale of the recent brutal repression of Falun Gong.

Talk about authentic Christianity. It does make me wonder about the things that preoccupy Christians in first-world countries and developing nations such as Malaysia. In China, they're living it at the cost of their lives.

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