The Lantern

Easter and China

“How Important Unity Must Be…”

Warm Eastertide greetings to you! The church traditionally celebrates the Easter season for 50 days, ending with the feast of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit descended on Christ’s followers (Acts 2:1–41). What a joyful and powerful time this is to be renewed in the reconciling grace of God in Christ and his resurrection presence, as rivers of living water flow in and through us by the Holy Spirit (John 7:37–39).

In his excellent April 7 blog “Easter and Unity,” Dan Xie writes about the “one thing that is quite fascinating” which took place just before the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus. Remarkably, in our Lord’s prayer in John 17: 20–23, the unity of his followers was foremost in his thinking. He writes:

Jesus could have asked for all kinds of things for his people, but he prayed especially for their unity. There are still three more verses after verse 23 which are the conclusion to Jesus’ prayer in John 17, and it is his own proclamation of his father’s love rather than a prayer request. But in verses 20–23, the term “be one” occurs four times. How important unity must be for Jesus, that right before he was arrested, before he faced the suffering of the crossat that moment, he did not refer to the horrible suffering which was to come. Rather he was thinking about the issue of unity.

A Covenant to God and One Another

Unity in Christ is vital for the salvation of the nations in his name. In that light the ChinaSource vision statement is simply: The church in China and the global church learning and growing together, engaging in ministry that powerfully advances the kingdom of God. Learning, growing, advancing—together. Of course, this sounds so easy and preaches well, but is not lived out without humility, sacrifice, a willingness to serve, and the quickening of the Holy Spirit.

How thankful I am for the First Lausanne Congress in 1974, and the resultant faith and ministry statement called the “Lausanne Covenant,” which has become one of the most resounding documents in modern church history. The Lausanne Movement website states: “It served as a great rallying call to the evangelical Church around the world. It defined what it means to be evangelical and challenged Christians to work together to make Jesus Christ known throughout the world. It is a covenant with one another, and a covenant with God himself.” There is much more here than a document. Because of its scriptural foundation it has become a dynamic kingdom movement, as subsequent gatherings have produced further elaborations and applications of the covenant.

He Died and Rose Again for It…

Section 7, “Cooperation in Evangelism” states: “We affirm that the church’s visible unity in truth is God’s purpose. Evangelism also summons us to unity, because our oneness strengthens our witness, just as our disunity undermines our gospel of reconciliation.” At a time when many feel the designation “evangelical” has been compromised beyond repair, it is good for us to renew our calling to unity in our Lord Jesus Christ to proclaim the gospel to the nations. For as Dan Xie observes, “If Jesus cares about something this much—even more than his own pain and suffering—then we, his followers, should care about it too…God’s answer to this prayer, namely, the unity of believers, may not come immediately, but will be fully manifested because it is promised in Jesus’ prayer. He died and rose again for it.”

Kerry Schottelkorb

Ways to Pray

  • Praise our Heavenly Father that the day is coming when the prayer of Jesus in John 17:20–23 will be fully realized and manifested in the universal body of Christ. Praise him that the resurrection presence of our Redeemer will accomplish this through the power of his Holy Spirit.
  • Thank the Lord for leaders like Dan Xie and ministries like the Lausanne Movement who help lead us into alignment with our Lord’s heart for the unreached.
  • Pray that the global church would be unified in responding to the urgency of the evangelistic task before us; that we will continue to respond to the great commission calling and responsibility which Jesus gave to the entire body of Christ.
  • Also pray for a continuous increase of partnerships between the church in China, the diaspora, and the church worldwide. 
  • Ask that the world will see the very character and nature of the Triune God of Grace through vibrant, unified kingdom partnerships.
  • Lift up churches and para-church agencies, that they will pray and partner together to launch new efforts for world evangelization.

News and Notes

In-Person Lecture

Spreading the Gospel through Christian Posters in Early 20th Century China by Dr. Daryl Ireland

Daryl Ireland of Boston University will showcase a selection of Chinese Protestant and Catholic posters and explain how they are changing our view of Chinese Christianity. These posters were found throughout China and were the creation of lay people. Find out more about this fascinating period of Chinese church history.

We hope you can join us! Register below so we can plan accurately for refreshments. Even if you don’t register, you’re welcome to attend.

Billy Graham Hall at Wheaton College in Wheaton, IL.
500 College Ave.
Wheaton, IL 60187

Wed, April 26 /7–8:30pm (CDT)

Light refreshments will be served following the lecture.

Unfortunately, we will not be able to provide a live stream; however, a recording will be publicly available after the event.

ChinaSource Team News

In Case You Missed It

A selection of recently published items:

Subscribe to receive new content by email.

Share to Social Media
Header image credit: Tsuyuri Hara via UnSplash. In-text images courtesy of Chinese Christian Posters.
ChinaSource Team

ChinaSource Team

Written, translated, or edited by members of the ChinaSource staff.          View Full Bio

Are you enjoying a cup of good coffee or fragrant tea while reading the latest ChinaSource post? Consider donating the cost of that “cuppa” to support our content so we can continue to serve you with the latest on Christianity in China.