Those who follow my blogs and tweets (@warrenbird) know I have a special interest and deep admiration for the church in China. I’ve tracked both my visits to Chinese megachurches and also several good books . In my review of The Lost History of Christianity by Philip Jenkins, I point out how the gospel made it to modern-day China much sooner than many of us Westerners suspect.
I’ve also encouraged readers from North America to use very helpful tools like http://www.peoplegroups.info/ to identify and then serve various ethnic groups in our own communities here. For example, in a few clicks you can learn how many people’s ancestry is from China in your state/province, county, city, or zip/postal code.
Lately I read two more “China” books to commend. Back to Jerusalem chronicles the stories of several Chinese groups in the 1920s and 1940s called of God to carry the gospel across western China, through various Muslim-dominant countries, and ultimately to Jerusalem. It showed me how God puts the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20) on the hearts of his followers everywhere in the world to reach not only their own people, but the rest of the world as well.
Far more compelling, even riveting, is God Is Red , by award-winning author Liao Yiwu. The subtitle tells it all: The Secret Story of How Christianity Survived and Flourished in Communist China. The author tells story after story of almost unimaginable persecution, brutality, economic poverty and other severe challenges that Christians in China have faced, and yet the stories are somehow marked by hope, faith, and encouragement for those who hear them. Reading it made me wonder what God will do next in and through the followers of Jesus living in the world’s most populous country.
What are your observations and predictions of the growth and impact of the church in China, both recognized and underground, in the coming years?