Pastor's Corner: Christianity's future – ChinaBy Daniel Ausbun
First Baptist Church, Moreland
Christianity is the world’s fastest growing religion, but not in America.
Not in Europe.
How did China become the future of Christianity? In 1853, Hudson Taylor left a life of wealth and prominence in England to take the Gospel to China. His father was a pharmacist, and Taylor was studying to become a physician.
God called him to become a missionary to the 400 million people in China. The United States today has 300 million. China was the most populous country on earth back then, and still is today.
In 1853 there were a dozen missionaries and only a handful of Christians in the entire country. Taylor moved into England’s poorest neighborhood for preparation to live among China’s poor. Family and friends all discouraged Taylor from going across the world to reach those who’ve never heard of Christ.
He was surprised at the apathy in England towards reaching the world for Christ. He had a burning passion for the Lord others didn’t share.
Taylor took the Gospel to interior China. Other missionaries were afraid to travel into mainline China, rather they remained in coastal trade cities.
Inland China had never heard the Gospel. He began a mission agency, China Inland Mission, with the purpose of going deep into China on faith – no financial support from England – and would adopt the Chinese culture by wearing their clothes and learning the language.
He went around giving away Chinese Bibles and tracts. Taylor was one of the first missionaries to contextualize the Gospel, adopting this from Paul in I Corinthians 9:22, “I have become all things to all people, so that I may by every possible means save some.” If you’re going to reach the Chinese for Christ – talk, eat, dress and think Chinese.
Taylor’s wife died at age 33. Four of their eight children died before reaching 10-years-old, and Taylor struggled with depression and sickness on the mission field.
Taylor died in 1905, 52 years after arriving in China. He had brought over 800 other missionaries to China – and encouraged single women to go on the mission field, which inspired Lottie Moon.
Taylor started 125 schools for Chinese children and witnessed 18,000 conversions to Christianity. When Taylor started China Inland Mission, no missionary had entered 11 of China’s 18 provinces. When Taylor died, every province, except three, had missionaries sharing the Gospel.
Taylor’s work in inland China has inspired thousands of Christians to forsake the comforts of the West, to take the Gospel to the most populous country on earth, and the millions there who’ve never heard of Christ. A monument is China is dedicated to Taylor quoting II Corinthians 12:2, “I know a man in Christ.”
Taylor said, “The real secret of an unsatisfied life lies too often in an unsurrendered will.”
The China Inland Mission was the largest mission agency in China, and it is estimated that Taylor was responsible for more people being converted to Christianity than at any other time since the Apostle Paul brought the Christian message to Europe.
In 1949 China became closed to the Gospel and religious practice was discouraged by the Communist government. The seeds had already been planted. It was 159 years ago that God moved a man to leave an English lifestyle to go to an obscure part of the world, which is now experiencing possibly the greatest underground awakening in the history of Christianity.
The China Inland Mission was renamed Overseas Missionary Fellowship and still thrives in sending missionaries to the billions in East Asia. Believers such as Hudson Taylor remind us God mightily uses those whom are willing.