The Lantern

Stagnancy Kills

I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you (Revelation 3:1b–3).

Our pastor is currently preaching through Revelation. The first point of his sermon on Revelation 3—the Lord’s message to the angel at the church in Sardis—was simple and sobering: “Stagnancy will kill you.” He would go on to say, “the first step toward spiritual complacency is simply to make Jesus number two in your life.”

As I was pondering Pastor Tom Hughe’s sermon on how Jesus breaks us out of spiritual stagnation, I thought back to last week’s series by Professor Yang Fenggang on the ChinaSource Blog, entitled “The Great Awakening in China.” In the first part, Dr. Yang observes, “In China, the current Great Awakening has lasted more than four decades.” He says that one reason the Chinese Great Awakening has gone mostly unnoticed is that “America has become more secular, and Americans pay more attention to Chinese economy than Chinese religion.” Professor Yang points out that Christianity is one of many religions and movements that have grown significantly through the decades.

McDonald’s Timothy Training Course

In the first and second parts I was especially drawn toward Dr. Yang’s pilgrimage and encounter with Jesus, as another powerful and personalized reminder of how God uniquely, divinely awakens his beloved creation. Also in part two, I was enthralled by his account of a McDonald’s “Timothy Training Course” that became a tool of Christian evangelism and discipleship. As a youth pastor for twenty years in the western United States and Hong Kong, I well remember a great number of transformational encounters within the confines of the Golden Arches. While not clandestine in nature, I could relate to “a kind of private space in a public place;” great irony, that!

Just Warming Up!

In the third part, “The Tricolor Religious Market and the Growth of Christianity Dr. Yang states: “The extraordinary rapid growth of Christians in China has not been well studied or widely reported. This is perhaps the biggest hidden story of the twenty-first century.” He goes on to say: “Meanwhile, Chinese Christians have been warming up for overseas missions. They have already sent hundreds of missionaries to countries along the Silk Road in Central Asia, Southeast Asia, and Africa. Some missions movements are preparing to send out twenty to thirty thousand missionaries by the year 2030.”

Despite increased restrictions in the mainland, Dr. Yang states, “I think the Christian growth and missions drive have become uncontainable.”

Leaning In / Lots of Room

The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and his angels (Revelation 3:5).

At the end of his sermon from Revelation 3, Pastor Tom called on us to “keep leaning in, to not culturally compromise or become spiritually complacent, trusting that God will be at work in us as we endure in his love.”

In the conclusion to part three of his blog series, Dr. Yang asserts: “There is a lot of room for Chinese and American collaboration in evangelistic missions and social services around the globe.” At ChinaSource we agree and are eager to see the global church and the Chinese church learning and serving together, enduring, and conquering together, so that Christ’s name will be glorified among the nations, and his kingdom will come.

Where to From Here?

You can take a great step in the direction of collaboration with the church in China by joining us on Thursday, June 16, 2022, when Professor Yang will present a webinar entitled “Where Are the Churches in China? And Why?”It will be a deep dive into the geographical distribution of churches and the historical reasons for it. This information will guide us in knowing how better to pray and serve with his church in the mainland. Learn more and register for this free webinar.

Kerry Schottelkorb

Ways to Pray

  • Praise the Lord with us that the Holy Spirit lovingly and powerfully met the ChinaSource team during their May 3–5 in-person meetings in Los Angeles. We are so grateful for the warm hospitality provided by the Mandarin Baptist Church of Los Angeles, our host.
  • Pray that the webinar entitled “Where Are the Churches in China?” by Professor Yang Fenggang, on Thursday, June 16, 2022 will stimulate many to pray for, and seek to collaborate with, Christ’s church in China.
  • The ChinaSource Board of Directors will be meeting June 13–15. Ask that the Lord will guide and direct throughout their time together.
  • ChinaSource has been conducting a content and audience analysis in recent months. Pray with us for God’s guidance as we move into the application phase of this important process.
  • Continue to lift up the people of Shanghai and other cities in China that are under COVID lockdowns, for their perseverance and an easing up of restrictions soon.

News and Notes

Online Lecture

Where Are the Churches in China? And Why? Geographical Patterns of Church Development

Dr. Fenggang Yang will give a lecture that aims to answer the questions: Why are there so many Catholic churches in Hebei Province? And why so many Protestant Churches in Anhui? He will present the geographical distribution of Catholic and Protestant churches in China, discuss several distinctive characteristics of the churches and their locations, and trace some of the historical and social patterns of church development.

This is the next installment in our ongoing collaborative lecture series cohosted by ChinaSource, the US-China Catholic Association, and the China Academic Consortium.

Date: Thursday, June 16, 2022
Time: 7:00PM (US Central Daylight Time)
Presenter: Dr. Fenggang Yang
Registration is free!

Webinar Recording

Chinese Christianity in the Modern Era: Making Sense of the Present in Light of the Past

Dr. Easten Law’s April 7 lecture was recorded and is now publicly available.

In this webinar, Dr. Law provided a historical overview of the different threads running through Chinese Christianity’s modern development, including themes of folk religiosity and healing, ethical living, familial belonging, and national salvation. He discussed what these historical themes can tell us about the church’s role amidst China’s current inward, nationalistic turn and how we should orient ourselves in response.

Listen to the webinar recording on our website.

ChinaSource Team News

  • On May 11, under a content-sharing agreement, Christianity Today featured Timothy Tseng’s article, “How American Exclusion Created the Chinese Church” and translated it into both traditional and simplified Chinese. The article was originally published in the winter 2020 issue of the ChinaSource Quarterly.
  • From May 3 to 5, the ChinaSource team met in-person for the first time in about a year. It was a great blessing to be able to pray, plan, share, and encourage one another.

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ChinaSource Team

ChinaSource Team

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