Editor’s note: This article was originally published in the September 2020 issue of the Church China magazine, just a few months after COVID-19 began to wreak havoc across Wuhan and then the world. As the global church has wrestled with how it ought to respond to the pandemic, the Chinese church has often seen it as an opportunity to share their faith with a scared and hurting world.
Brother Luo encourages the Chinese church to boldly move forward and share the gospel, despite difficulties. Although Western sources often focus on the restrictions faced by Chinese believers, Brother Luo focuses on the great freedom Chinese believers still have to share their faith on an individual basis. He believes that a church which remains intentional and steadfast in constantly sharing her faith need fear nothing, no matter what the future brings.
The Gospel Mission for All Ages
From 2010 to 2017, there were seven bountiful years of evangelism. In that time, the environment was more relaxed, and even street preaching did not present much of a problem. It is a great pity that, although many churches had a group of faithful servants, the vast majority of congregations did not “seize the day” and use it for evangelism.
These days, evangelism is limited in many places and in many walks of life. Because of this, we must carry the gospel on our shoulders, bringing it one message at a time, to one person at a time, so that more than a billion people can hear it. The church must go out, evangelize, and persevere. Regardless of the outcome, we must preach the gospel. Paul wrote, “Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!” We ought not suffer this curse. Instead, let us receive a blessing. “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”
We can accomplish nothing in this age if we are afraid and timid. “If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small.” The church is to seek evangelistic breakthroughs and live out the life of Christ in all circumstances. At the same time, the church is to work as one whole “because of [our] partnership in the gospel.”
Would You Pray With Us Today?
If a church evangelizes by “plodding away at a big job, bit by bit,” will she not be revived? Encourage brothers and sisters to start by handing out one gospel tract per week. As they continue in this, they will gain new strength, and eventually their preaching methods will become both more creative and more fruitful. If every place had a group of people preaching the gospel to the world with such fervor, over time, a harvest would surely come.
Mobilization of the Church
Once a new friend visited our church. As we chatted, he mentioned that our church members had given him gospel tracts six different times. “For the gospel is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” The gospel is not your power. The gospel is the power of God. All you have to do is go out and preach it: “faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” When Paul preached the gospel in Corinthia, the Lord said to him, “Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are my people.”
Has anyone in your city ever heard you preach the gospel? Preach it boldly. If no one listens after you have preached the gospel once, then preach it again. I hope we all have the heart of Paul, to stir up a city with the gospel. If the gospel does not flourish in the place where you are ministering, you will not be able to sleep at night, because there are so many unsaved people surrounding you. “As your days, so shall your strength be.”
Right now Chinese laws place no restrictions on individual evangelism. When viewed in a larger historical context, this is rare. During the Cultural Revolution, street evangelism was impossible; today, in North Korea and in many Middle Eastern countries, street evangelism is not possible.
Fear Nothing the Future Can Bring
How will the church see a breakthrough in evangelism in this post-pandemic era [of tightening regulations]? If “everyone shares the gospel.” How can everyone participate in evangelism? First, we must correct our attitude toward and understanding of evangelism. It is not that our church is doing so well, it is just that we are putting evangelism back into its proper place, because it has been neglected. Secondly, the church as a whole must rise up and evangelize. The church should not focus on who has the gift of evangelism or the outcome of such evangelism, but should allow the entire church body to be an “open door,” and continue to build up small groups within the church. Third, we must see that God has given us a way to continue in evangelism through individual sharing, which is not prohibited by law.
This path, in which everyone shares the gospel, is being followed by our church as well as many other churches. The evangelism of individuals is a great blessing to the church: “little strokes fell great oaks.” Our church was founded without a Reformed background or theological foundation. Over the years, we have built up our church through evangelism without any division. The more the gospel is preached, the stronger the foundation of the church will be; the more brothers and sisters are of one heart, the clearer the vision of the church will be. The experience of brothers and sisters had in dealing with all kinds of persecution was used in the midst of the pandemic. This was truly “a sword sharpened for ten years and tested once.”
When the pandemic came, the church, as she depended on God, was victorious. May the church in China rise up and follow the Lord’s Great Commission. May there be no “big and empty talks” or elitism, but instead may the church follow the path of the Lord and of the apostles. May the church in China preach the gospel in a down-to-earth way, being “doers of the word,” meeting quietly, and praying reverently and sincerely. If we can continue on this path, the church will be strong and need fear nothing the future can bring—even if we encounter greater difficulties.