The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ. . . . If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored all the parts are glad.1 Corinthians 12:12, 26
In our third statement regarding the COVID-19 pandemic we referenced the Apostle Paul’s words above, emphasizing that ChinaSource greatly values the unity of Christ-followers in China with the international Christian community, recognizing the unique gifts and roles of each part as all work together for the fulfillment of God’s redemptive purposes.
The legacy our founder, Dr. Brent Fulton, established and the ChinaSource team seeks to advance, involves loving service to the church in China and the global church, helping to inform, facilitate, network and partner—intentionally getting out of the way, where needed—so that more voices can be heard, and God is glorified. This dynamic is key as we seek to be one as our triune God is one.
For well over two decades, ChinaSource has been involved in unifying efforts, helping bring the Chinese church and the global church closer; mutually engaging, collaborating, and serving together for the advancement of God’s kingdom. Daily, we have the privilege of witnessing the power and impact of unity in Jesus Christ as a result.
Those of us who have been following Jesus and his Great Commission for any length of time, realize how easily Galatians 3:26, 28 and its larger context preaches, yet how incredibly challenging it is to genuinely live out:
So, in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. . . . There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male or female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Jesus is the only one who can, and ultimately will, bring all races, all classes, women and men, boys and girls, together in his righteousness and redemptive covering.
However, because we know his kingdom is both “now and not yet,” we still have a long way to go. The need for oneness in Christ is more glaring in this winter season because the pandemic crisis has intensified our inclination to assign blame, point fingers, judge, condemn, and distrust the other.
The gospel never goes out without sacrifice. When standing together with the Chinese church or against anti-Asian expressions, some will invite rebuke or worse. The same is true for those who stand with the global church and against anti-foreigner sentiment.
The Lord has made it clear in his word that racism and xenophobia have no place in his kingdom or church. The world is desperate to see his “called out ones,” his diverse followers, united, honoring, sacrificially serving, reconciling, and forgiving each other, while lifting up Christ’s name.
This is the church’s great hour and opportunity to live out an empowered way of love to those in need of certain hope. And Jesus says that a central feature of that expression is to love one another as he has loved us.
Here’s where things become personal for us, because throughout the sanctification process, the Lord reveals our blind spots as he brings us into conformity with his image. If we remain open to him, we see there is so much more to learning to love and relate as a kingdom community.
This cuts across social, cultural, and political lines because of our deep-seated sin nature and the need for each of us to be reconciled at the cross.
We believe God is calling us to raise our game, to walk in that calling from Paul to suffer and celebrate with each other, no matter what, no matter where. By his grace, regardless of the presenting storm, ChinaSource will continue to be a welcoming place for humble learning, vital information and analysis, civil and respectful dialogue, and collaboration, networking, partnering and serving him together.
The glorious reality is that we don’t know the half of all that our Lord is doing, but we do know he is inviting us to participate and that we will regularly need to answer this question:
Will we stand in his love for the nations and the churches he has placed throughout, or will we exacerbate prejudices through willful neglect or stubborn resistance?
Our response will have everything to do with how and where we go from here.
Brent Fulton recently wrote:
A truly global challenge such as the coronavirus transcends borders and nationalities. Similar challenges in the future will likewise summon China’s church and the global church to work together in ways that transcend their own identities, agendas and biases.“The Coronavirus: A Shared Narrative”
Indeed, the hope of China and the world is Jesus Christ and the advance of his kingdom through his bride. A unified global church, with every member doing their part as his image-bearers for purposes of the greater body, stands as a powerful testimony to the world of what is possible through the transformative hope our master offers.
P.S. Please take a moment to read all three of our statements in response to COVID-19.
- For Such a Time as This, April 8, 2020
- The Valley of Vision: Active Waiting in Crisis, April 22, 2020
- One Body, Many Parts: A Call for Unity, May 7, 2020
Ways to Pray
- Pray the Lord will have mercy and stop the advance of COVID-19.
- As we continue to process how the global pandemic has impacted our own lives, let us remember to lift up brothers and sisters in China whose lives are similarly affected.
- Pray the Lord grants wisdom and direction to world leaders, as well as strength and courage for those on the front-lines serving others.
- Pray the Lord uses ChinaSource to help facilitate unity in Christ, bringing the Chinese church and the global church closer together; engaging, collaborating, and serving together to advance God’s kingdom.
- Pray the ChinaSource team is attentive to the leading of the Holy Spirit as he guides and directs us to accomplish our Heavenly Father’s will through Jesus Christ.
- Pray the Lord raises up workers for the harvest, as he is mightily on the move, pursuing and transforming hearts across the nations.
News and Notes
Dr. Andrew Kaiser shares some of his research on the remarkable 45 years Timothy Richard worked and ministered in China. This review of Richard’s understanding and practice of mission from 150 years in the past reveals several important insights that are vital to cross-cultural ministry today.
A full video recording of the webinar is available free on YouTube.
ChinaSource Team News
- Brent Fulton wrote a book review of Surviving the State, Remaking the Church: A Sociological Portrait of Christians in Mainland China by Li Ma and Jin Li for the April 2020 issue (vol. 6.1) of Training Leaders International’s Journal of Global Christianity.
- Kerry Schottelkorb attended the Church Missions Leader Peer-2-Peer Virtual Gathering each Wednesday in April, coming away grateful for the powerful and timely ministry partnership Missio Nexus provides to so many.
In Case You Missed It
A selection of recently published items:
- Returning Home-side, ChinaSource Blog, May 20.
- Cross Removals Continue, ChinaSource Blog (CCV), May 19.
- In a New Home in Asia, ChinaSource Blog, May 18.
- A Foot Wide on the Edge of Nowhere: A Book Review, ChinaSource Blog, May 15.
- Dangers, Pitfalls, Connection, and Hope During Transition, ChinaSource Blog, May 13.
- The Revival of a Rural Church, ChinaSource Blog (CCV), May 12.
- Grief—What about the Kids? ChinaSource Blog, May 11.
- Lessons from Timothy Richard, ChinaSource Blog, May 8.
- Priceless Words, ChinaSource Blog, May 6.
- Encouragement in Suffering, ChinaSource Blog (CCV), May 5.
- Sometimes It’s the Little Things: The Importance of Grieving Well, ChinaSource Blog, May 4.
- In the Valley of Vision: Humbled Before Him, ChinaSource Blog, May 1.
- Approaching the Christian Tradition in Chinese Academic Settings, ChinaSource Blog, April 29.
- Is Having Insurance an Indication of Unbelief? A Young Preacher Asks, ChinaSource Blog (CCV), April 28.
- Are You Ready for Transition? Again? ChinaSource Blog, April 27.
- Salt in the Soup, ChinaSource Blog, April 24.
- From Here to There: The Straight-Line Fallacy, ChinaSource Blog, April 22.
- Christians in China Praying for the World, ChinaSource Blog (CCV), April 21.
- Are You Ready? Again? ChinaSource Blog, April 20.
- For Such a Time as This in Real Time, ChinaSource Blog, April 17.
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