Reformation Heroes Today

For the western church, Reformation day is October 31–the day when we remember all of the men who did so much to bring about change in the early modern church. It’s when images of Luther hammering, Calvin writing, and Zwingli dying in battle come to mind. But much of the European Reformation was simply preaching and teaching the gospel to unbelievers: mission work in Roman Catholic areas.

And for future generations of the church, thoughts of reformation may not be associated with gowned Europeans, but with 20th century Chinese men and women. Names that are not so familiar to us in the west may, in the future, become better known and more influential than the names we know. Just as we recognize Calvin’s name, but probably not Fulgentius of Ruspe’s, so our brothers and sisters on the other side of the world may become familiar with names that we don’t know, even as Luther becomes a distant memory. Continue reading

Pray for North Korea

Watching this video and being moved again to pray for North Korea it struck me that in Western democracies like the United States we often are quick to complain about and criticize political leaders, but comparatively slow to be in prayer for them. “First of all then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (I Timothy 2:1-4)

Pray for Pakistan

Pakistan remains a land of tremendous gospel need. The spiritual darkness of false religion, violence, corruption, and persecution surround the small evangelical and Reformed church as a daily reality in this beautiful land.

How can we both aid the spread of the gospel, and strengthen the Christian church in Pakistan? Pray. Pray that faithful evangelists would be multiplied within, and that many would be called to missionary service in Pakistan. Continue reading

God Is Red

Red is China’s colour. Too often, the Chinese see Christianity as a western religion – something imported in the Victorian era by imperialist missionaries and successfully dealt with by the Cultural Revolution.

Atheist dissident Liao Yiwu’s latest book, God Is Red: The Secret Story of How Christianity Survived and Flourished in Communist China, debunks that myth. Continue reading

Pray for China

Over the coming months we’ll occasionally feature “pray for a country” videos from Operation World, as a reminder and encouragement to pray that God who “has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor. 4:6) would by His grace open many doors “for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ” (Col. 4:3), so that those who sit in darkness would see the light of God in Christ. (Matt. 4:16) Pray for China:

‘The Last Train Home’

The Last Train Home is a documentary film following the life of a Chinese migrant worker family in the midst of the world’s largest human migration. The cinematography is stunning; the story told reveals the struggles, hopes and failures of a father and mother, and daughter and son caught up in the Chinese industrial revolution. The insight into contemporary Chinese life and culture are valuable for Western Christians, as is the window it creates into both the beauty and ugliness of China. At times a saddening reminder of life without Christ (Eph.2:1-3), the film is a stirring impetus to pray for the Zhang family, and the vast masses of humanity who have not yet heard the gospel, that they by grace would be transformed to join us in declaring:

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ–by grace you have been saved–and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. (Eph.2:4-7)

Pray for China, and for your own neighbours whose lives, though more comfortable, are just as trapped and futile in sin. The Last Train Home is available online free until October 27, 2011 at PBS POV. Trailer below. A caveat: the full documentary is not suitable for children/youth (some violence and brief immodesty); interested parents should preview it.