Reformation 500 Conference Voices: Wang JianGuo

Wang Jianguo is the collective pseudonym for a group of Chinese house church pastors thinking and writing about issues related to the spread of Christianity in their nation. They are committed to preaching a grace-centered gospel, developing resources for the church, and loving China’s urban centers.

This reflection comes from an elder in a Chinese house church that participates in the Grace to City church planting network and has been translated by a CP communications team.

This was my first time to attend a Grace to City conference. I came because my church shares and participates in the vision of Grace to City. I personally haven’t been especially involved in the movement before this and didn’t know much about its true meaning. My hope was that through this conference I would learn more about the Grace to City movement. I also hoped to gain a deeper understanding of the five original doctrines of the Reformation: scripture alone, Christ alone, grace alone, faith alone, and glory given to God alone.

One thing I realized through the messages is that when people seek to understand God’s justice and mercy, or when they try to understand God’s gracious nature, they often fall into a form of legalism. They don’t treat others with grace. They may approach God with their lips, but their hearts are far from him. They tend to stand on the high ground of moralism, measuring and judging others through the law, instead of accepting others and forgiving their mistakes. Grace alone allows us to partake of eternal life. It is grace alone that allows us to build healthy relationships in community, and carry one another along on this earthly pilgrimage.

As I reflected on the church, I realized that she is our mother, and a healthy church must be balanced. The preaching of the word, the practice of sacraments, and the enforcement of church discipline: all three have to be there. Some say that faith is a personal matter, and that salvation has nothing to do with being part of a church. However, it is only through being part of a church community that people can examine whether they actually have genuine love. Only the church has the authority to carry out discipline measures, to warn us against our sinful natures, and hold us accountable for sinful acts.

Five hundred years ago, the church was straying. The Reformation corrected this drift through returning to scripture and establishing the doctrine of justification by faith alone. In some ways, this was a “second deliverance” for believers: people were able to understand that assurance of salvation comes from grace, and is based on faith. The Reformation brought a whole new understanding to the relationship between sin, the law, and grace. However, today’s remembrance of the Reformation isn’t just about explaining the doctrines of “Christ alone,” “faith alone,” and “grace alone”— it is to warn us against abusing God’s grace, desecrating his grace, and disregarding God’s glory.

We are reminded of Scripture’s power in Hebrews 4:12, “The word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Likewise we see the importance of true humility in Isaiah 66:2, “But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.”

John Piper’s message addressed the heart and the mind, and unpacked the relationship between the mission of the gospel and the mission of our culture. This made me think a lot. Not only was his message rigorously exegetical, but in addition, the application of the message inspired me to broaden my horizons. We serve people, but we must not fix our eyes on the people we serve. Instead of forming idols in our hearts, we must look to God. The mission of the gospel and the mission of culture are not total opposites: both teach us to pursue happiness, but Christian happiness is found in glorifying God by enjoying him. If we study God’s word, understand his teaching, and obey it accordingly, we will complete the cultural mission.

I was really impacted and blessed by the musical worship during the conference. One of the first reasons I believed in Christianity was how musical worship humbled me through its power to purify and revive the spirit. God delights for us to praise him — as the psalmist wrote, we are to praise him in his mighty heavens; praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe! In praise, God moves human hearts; hardened hearts soften, and rebellion begins to turn into obedience. It is as if a ray of light shines through to closed hearts and drives away the darkness. The worship team at the conference led the hearts of the congregation to soar. More than three thousand people were set free and joined together in tears of repentance and rivers of joy. This whole experience led me to reflect on the forms of musical worship used at church. Must we only sing the few sanctioned hymns, or even only the Psalms?

Before the conference, I had really high expectations for the messages on the five solas of the Reformation. After all, the conference had invited first-rate pastors in China and from overseas, men who are servants of the Lord and are much used by God. I was surprised to find the messages were less topic-driven and were instead based more on personal reflection.

I’m thankful for all the speakers. There were sixteen messages, some of which were filled with passion, some of which caused deep reflection, and others that pricked the heart. I’m thankful to the organizers and volunteers. Their sacrificial work and joyful service assured that the conference proceeded in an orderly fashion. Thanks be to God for his almighty hand that carried us through. Feeding and lodging more than three thousand people — as well as the outpouring of the Holy Spirit — are impossible things for humans, but with God, all things are possible!


Never miss a story

Sign up to receive our weekly email with our original articles.

Share This Story

Further Reading

shio-yang-g_C8w1QBca0-unsplash
Nanjing: Love Under Pressure
Read More
zhang-kaiyv-L9NHlk2CGOQ-unsplash
Why Should I Love My Enemies?: Give Up Revenge, Love Enemies
Read More
yifei-wong-HfLKjg2ic64-unsplash
Nanjing: Bringing the Gospel Into Life
Read More

LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT IN CHINA

With rising pressure and persecution in China, there are two challenges imperative for church leaders. The first challenge is for current leaders to love Christ above all else, and not to stray into legalism or love of the world. The second challenge is to raise up the next generation of leaders, who will humbly model Jesus even if current leaders are arrested.

WILL YOU JOIN US IN PRAYING FOR LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT IN CHINA? PRAY FOR:

  1. Current leaders to grow in their daily walks with Christ
  2. Current leaders to shepherd and raise up new leaders
  3. New leaders who love Christ and will model him to the world
  4. New leaders to love and care for the church

Videos

ABOUT LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT

About Shenyang

Shenyang is a city located in northeastern China and is the capital of Liaoning Province. It is known for its rich history and cultural heritage, including the Shenyang Imperial Palace, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Shenyang is also a hub for China’s heavy industry, with companies such as the China First Automobile Group and the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation having their headquarters in the city.

Videos

Stories from Shenyang

About Qingdao

Qingdao is a city located in eastern China and is famous for its beaches, beer, and seafood. The city is home to several landmarks, including the Zhanqiao Pier and the Badaguan Scenic Area. Qingdao is also a major port and has a thriving economy, with industries such as electronics, petrochemicals, and machinery.

Videos

Stories from Qingdao

About Xiamen

Xiamen is a city located in southeastern China and is a popular tourist destination known for its beautiful coastal scenery, including Gulangyu Island, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The city is also a hub for China’s high-tech industry, with companies such as Huawei and ZTE having research and development centers in Xiamen.

Videos

Stories from Xiamen

About Chongqing

Chongqing is a city located in southwestern China and is a major economic center in the region. The city is known for its spicy cuisine, especially its hot pot dishes, and is also famous for the Three Gorges Dam, the world’s largest hydroelectric dam. Chongqing is also home to several historic sites, including the Dazu Rock Carvings, which are UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Videos

Stories from Chongqing

About Nanjing

Nanjing is a city located in eastern China and is the capital of Jiangsu Province. It is one of China’s ancient capitals and has a rich cultural history, including the Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum, the Nanjing City Wall, and the Confucius Temple. Nanjing is also a modern city with a thriving economy and is home to several universities, including Nanjing University and Southeast University.

Videos

Stories from Nanjing

About Changchun

Changchun is a city located in northeastern China and is the capital of Jilin Province. It is known for its rich cultural heritage and is home to several historical landmarks such as the Puppet Emperor’s Palace and the Jingyuetan National Forest Park. Changchun is also a hub for China’s automotive industry, with several major automobile manufacturers having their headquarters in the city.

Videos

Stories from Changchun

About Guangzhou

Guangzhou, also known as Canton, is a city located in southern China and is the capital of Guangdong Province. It is one of the country’s largest and most prosperous cities, serving as a major transportation and trading hub for the region. Guangzhou is renowned for its modern architecture, including the Canton Tower and the Guangzhou Opera House, as well as its Cantonese cuisine, which is famous for its variety and bold flavors. The city also has a rich history, with landmarks such as the Chen Clan Ancestral Hall, the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, and the Temple of the Six Banyan Trees. Additionally, Guangzhou hosts the annual Canton Fair, the largest trade fair in China.

Videos

Stories from Guangzhou

About Kunming

Kunming is a city located in southwest China and is the capital of Yunnan Province. Known as the “City of Eternal Spring” for its mild climate, Kunming is a popular tourist destination due to its natural beauty and cultural diversity. The city is home to several scenic spots, including the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Stone Forest, Dian Lake, and the Western Hills. Kunming is also famous for its unique cuisine, which features a mix of Han, Yi, and Bai ethnic flavors. The city has a rich cultural history, with ancient temples and shrines like the Yuantong Temple and the Golden Temple, and it’s also a hub for Yunnan’s ethnic minority cultures, such as the Yi and Bai peoples.

Videos

Stories from Kunming

About Shenzhen

Shenzhen is a city located in southeastern China and is one of the country’s fastest-growing metropolises. The city is renowned for its thriving tech industry, with companies such as Huawei, Tencent, and DJI having their headquarters in Shenzhen. The city also has a vibrant cultural scene, with numerous museums, art galleries, and parks. Shenzhen is also known for its modern architecture, such as the Ping An Finance Center and the Shenzhen Bay Sports Center. Despite its modernization, Shenzhen also has a rich history and cultural heritage, with landmarks such as the Dapeng Fortress and the Chiwan Tin Hau Temple.

Videos

Stories from Shenzhen

About Chengdu

Chengdu is a city located in the southwestern region of China, and the capital of Sichuan province. It has a population of over 18 million people, and it is famous for its spicy Sichuan cuisine, laid-back lifestyle, and its cute and cuddly residents – the giant pandas. Chengdu is home to the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, where visitors can observe these adorable creatures in their natural habitat. The city also boasts a rich cultural heritage, with numerous temples, museums, and historical sites scattered throughout its boundaries. Chengdu is a city of contrasts, with ancient traditions coexisting alongside modern developments, making it an intriguing and fascinating destination for visitors to China. 

Videos

Stories from Chengdu

About Beijing

Beijing is the capital city of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of over 21 million people. The city has a rich history that spans over 3,000 years, and it has served as the capital of various dynasties throughout China’s history. Beijing is home to some of the most iconic landmarks in China, including the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, and the Temple of Heaven. The city is also a hub for political, cultural, and educational activities, with numerous universities and research institutions located within its boundaries. Beijing is renowned for its traditional architecture, rich cuisine, and vibrant cultural scene, making it a must-visit destination for travelers to China.

Videos

Stories from Beijing

About Shanghai

Shanghai is a vibrant and dynamic city located on the eastern coast of China. It is the largest city in China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of over 24 million people. Shanghai is a global financial hub and a major center for international trade, with a rich history and culture that spans over 1,000 years. The city is famous for its iconic skyline, which features towering skyscrapers such as the Oriental Pearl Tower and the Shanghai Tower. Shanghai is also home to a diverse culinary scene, world-class museums and art galleries, and numerous shopping districts. It is a city that is constantly evolving and reinventing itself, making it a fascinating destination for visitors from around the world.

Videos

Stories from Shanghai

give

A short message about partnering with us.