We’re Being Watched…

So it’s been a while since I’ve been able to post. Just got home yesterday afternoon, and we had our Bible study last night. The trip went very well. We were able to interview a couple of missionaries in this city and learn some more about the variety of conditions in China. Bottom line is, everyone has their own opinion about the security situation. I’ve talked to people who don’t talk about their ministry in public and some who don’t talk about their work in private. I’ve talked to some who don’t talk about their work on the phone, some who don’t talk about it on e-mail, and some who don’t do either. Though the Lord has given me the privilege of meeting some men who are boldly preaching the Gospel here in China, there are certainly some who have based their ministry strategies and philosophies on a single predominant theme: fear.

The biggest problem with fear-based ministry is that it is a self-fulfilling prophesy. Some people are afraid that the government will find out about their underground purposes for being in China and kick them out of the country, thus ending their ministry in here. So afraid, in fact, that they don’t have a ministry. That is, they aren’t proclaiming the Gospel. The prophesy is always realized. Fear freezes. This is why Paul reminded Timothy that God doesn’t give “the spirit of fear.” That he should be prepared to participate in the afflictions of the Gospel.

The past two Bible studies have had a fantastic number of new guys coming. One of them, Sn., has been a Christian for a couple of years and found out about our Bible study at an English corner. He has been studying the Bible for a while and has really learned an impressive amount. Sn. met with me after Bible study last week and thanked me for the opportunity to come. He surprised me with this nugget: “You know you’re being watched, don’t you?” I told him that I didn’t know that, and that I didn’t believe it. He responded, “But it’s the truth! You have to believe it! They are watching you!”

I asked Sn. if he knew anyone who’s gotten into trouble. Naturally, he didn’t. I told him about the church that I had preached in just the week before and how close it was to the street. Sn. was shocked. Fear is unreasonable and contagious. He told me that his girlfriend, who is also a Christian, told him that he shouldn’t come to our Bible study. So we talked about the Christian’s boldness and victory over fear. Not surprisingly, none of Sn.’s friends have become Christians since he has. I told Sn. that he was welcome to come to our Bible study, but that there was no room for someone interested in spreading the spirit of fear. Marxism is enough to overcome without everyone being afraid of impending doom.

Sn. has a desire to teach the Bible, but he is severely limited by his own fear. At the end of the evening, Sn. said, “I came here to find out what you were all about. And you have challenged my faith.” He came back this week, and I used his help to witness to a couple of newcomers. Pray that the Spirit would give boldness to Christians, especially those who for the time ought to be teachers.

One Comment on “We’re Being Watched…”

  1. wagardner August 3, 2007 at 6:23 am #

    I look forward every day to your blog and miss them when you are not there to give them. I believe that you have summed it up well in this post. Fear was not the way the early church operated. They were busy telling people about the Lord Jesus Christ and getting people into the world with the gospel. I will soon preach in the comfort and security of my USA pulpit about how the Christian is to deal with persecution. I want to know and teach it from a Bible perspective. Keep up the good work.

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