Thursday, September 08, 2005

Chinese Christians are praying for American persecution
They desire to see the American Church experience its own revival
By Dan Wooding — ANS
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A Southern Baptist leader has revealed that the Chinese house church movement is praying that American Christians might experience the kind of persecution they have seen in China so that it would ignite a similar revival in America.

In a column written by James T. Draper Jr., president of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention for Baptist Press, Draper revealed the surprise he experienced recently when he heard about an incident that occurred near the end of an interview with the Southern Baptist International Mission Board, which was meeting with a prominent leader in the rapidly expanding Chinese house church movement.

Draper said that a reporter asked this leader how American Christians could pray for house churches in China.

“Stop praying for persecution in China to end, for it is through persecution that the church has grown,” he responded.

Draper then said, “’What astounding faith!’ I thought when I heard the story. However, my admiration of his faith was quickly tempered by what he said next.”

Draper then recounted what the man said.

“We, in fact, are praying that the American church might taste the same persecution, so revival would come to the American church like we have seen in China,” the Chinese Christian leader told him.

Draper stopped in his tracks.

“Once I recovered from the shock of such a profound statement, I thought about the irony: We in America keep praying for God to bless us–-and Christians in other nations are praying God will allow us to experience persecution so that we’ll act like the blessing we were made to be. I shudder at the thought that we are on the road to persecution, brought on because of our own arrogance.”

Draper said he was quickly reminded of a recent column he wrote, called “Are You Chasing Donkeys?”

“In it, I said that the book of Isaiah is replete with examples of God humbling the haughty,” Draper said. “Arrogance followed by judgment is a recurring theme; survey the Old Testament and confirm it for yourself. However, before dismissing those examples as ancient history, flip to Revelation and read Christ’s seven letters to the churches. More specifically, read what Jesus says to the church of Sardis: ‘I know your works; you have a reputation for being alive, but you are dead. Be alert and strengthen what remains, which is about to die....’ (Revelation 3:1-2, HCSB).

“I also referenced two prophetic voices—David Watson and John Burke—who, speaking 25 years apart, made indicting statements about the state of the church. Burke wrote, ‘Unless Christians leading the church in America change, and unless the church begins living out the magnetic attractive force Jesus had on the world, the Christian Church in America will be completely marginalized within decades.’ His concern is rapidly becoming reality.”

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