READ : John 1:35-42
In the summer of 1993 my wife Marjorie and I participated in a memorable month-long RCA-sponsored visit with Christians in China. We learned, among other things, that when all missionaries were forced to leave China in the late 1940s, and when atheism became the official “religion” of the land, there were about 800,000 Protestants in China. Then, during the Cultural Revolution from 1966 to 1976, things went from bad to worse. Seminaries were closed, churches were turned into warehouses, and Bibles and hymnals were destroyed. Thousands of Christians were imprisoned or martyred.
Freedom of religion was granted a few years later, and gradually churches and seminaries have reopened. We were delighted to worship with large congregations and to listen to choirs that moved the soul.
The church in China is still restricted. It has only one pastor for every 5,000 believers and has not had a foreign missionary for nearly fifty years. Yet the number of Christians has grown from 800,000 to 25 million and perhaps as many as 75 million.
What has happened? Obviously, the Holy Spirit has been operating in a powerful way. But from the human side, the answer is found in John 3:41: “[Andrew] first found his brother Simon and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah.’”
Give us the courage, Father in Heaven, to speak a simple word of invitation. Amen.