Friday, 24 June 2016

courage that many Christians today are upholding

I am “N” ---Stories of Courage
                The second section of the book “I Am N” focuses on the
courage that many Christians today are upholding in light of their faith being challenged. We realize however that there have been martyrs in history whose courage led them to prison or death or both. One such individual is Wang Ming Dao whose lifespan was 1900-1991 in China.
Wang Ming Dao became a Christian at 14 while attending the London Missionary Society’s primary school. He was an outspoken Christian and remained such a problem for the Communist Party in the 1950s and 1960s that he spent 22 years in prison.
During the 1920s Ming-Dao founded a church called the Christian Tabernacle- non-denominational and not dependent on foreign funds. His idea was that he wanted the church to remain independent so that the people could worship more freely. Yet during the time when Japan occupied northern China (1937-1945) a Chinese federation was organized to which every church was required to join. However, Mind-Dao refused and put his life on the line. He believed it was wrong to form an alliance which included nonbelievers.
After attaining power in 1949 the Communists instituted a state sponsored, state controlled church which of course Ming Dao would have nothing to do with. He was continuously threatened and refused to join. In 1955 he was imprisoned. During his time in prison he was threatened with torture and execution. He was abused and mentally broken and even confessed to crimes he knew he had not committed only to promise to support the state controlled church. He was released and after regaining his health he again refused to join the state controlled church. He was put in prison again for 22 years. He was offered release but refused because he believed the government owed him an apology. At age 91 he died in Shanghai. With his refusal to compromise the house church movement began which were considered illegal and could have been interrupted at any time.
Ming-Dao wrote extensively about Jesus and he learned that threats should not instill fear in believers. But instead should be catalysts for proclaiming God with greater courage and boldness.
Ming-Dao’s story is filled with moments of courage when stands up for his faith not being associated with non- believers. Do you think his action was correct? When state controlled churches were introduced in China do you think that he was wrong in not joining these?  Why/why not?
We may or may not think that the church, a visible symbol is important to the growth of Christians. Yet many who believed in Christ met in unsafe church houses and were arrested, tried and imprisoned for doing so. Which do you think is best? To be in hiding and worshiping or open and safe in community?
Wang Ming Dao did not want to have outside non believers influencing his teachings. Do you think this approach would/could work today?
Wang Ming-Dao highlighted Peter and Johns refusal to be shaken by threats from jewish leaders resulting from the rapid spread of the gospel.  The Jews threatened them and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. Acts 4:18  Peter and John did not stop speaking, but di so more boldly. Ming Dao learned that threats should not instill fear in believers. Instead they should be catalysts for proclaiming God with greater courage and boldness.
Thank you for the courage of Wang Ming-Dao and his ability to influence the movement of Christians in China. We pray that we might have the courage we need to tell others about Christ Jesus so that we might continue to build Christ’s church in faith. We pray for courage to share the words we need.  Amen.

The Voice of the Martyrs    I am N: Inspiring Stories of Christians Facing Islamic Extremists. Colorado Springs, CO:  David C. Cook Publishing 2016.  (p. 109-111))

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