The church in China has baptised 2.4 million new Christians in the last five years. So I thought they might have something to share with the UCA about evangelism.
I asked Dr Lin Manhong – Dean of Nanjing Union Theological Seminary, and recently elected Associate General Secretary of the China Christian Council – if she could say something about evangelism in China.
She said that, obviously, they couldn’t hold evangelistic rallies or use the sort of methods western Christians might be used to. In any case, she said, that would be culturally inappropriate in China. But clearly many, many people are becoming Christians in China today. How does that happen?
She said that the primary form of evangelism in China is personal witness – in particular, the witness of a transformed life and of loving the neighbour.
She said, “Chinese people are pragmatic”. They aren’t drawn to Christ by doctrine or intellectual argument but by seeing a transformation in a neighbour’s life.
“Why are you different ?” They might ask.
“I’ve become a Christian”.
“What’s that?” (Even though there are, conservatively, 24 million Christians within the CCC they are a tiny minority in China.)
“Come and see. Come with me to my church.”
And, Dr Lin said, the Holy Spirit who has transformed one person and is working in the life of the other person may open her heart to the Gospel and transform her life too.
The Chinese are pragmatic people. So are Australians. We’re not terribly interested in clever arguments or slick marketing on the whole. But seeing a neighbour’s life transformed by Christ would be well worth looking into further.