These are the five principles for ministry for the Chinese underground church as given by Brother Yun in Living Water, and as preached at Denver Seminary in September of 2008 (scroll to "Living Waters").
1. Always pray.
2. Always be ready to witness for Jesus.
3. Always be ready to suffer for Jesus.
4. Always be ready to die for Jesus.
5. Always be ready to escape from prison for Jesus.
How does this speak to American Christians?
Sunday, February 08, 2009
Ministry Principles from Chinese Underground Church
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As in an alien tongue.
Those are good principles.
May I be so bold as to offer one or two more?
Always be ready to listen to Jesus (Matthew 7:24-27 and the conclusion of Matthew 17:5) and always be ready to do what he says (op cit).
Leaves me feeling like I really don't know how good I have it that I can so easily forget about some of those things sometimes and not have to look over my shoulder at the same time.
Here's the problem:
If (1) and (2), then (3), (4), and (5).
I think if we polled most American Christians, we'd find that they probably affirm (3), (4), and (5). The issue is that the consequent isn't a guarantee of the antecedent (note: " if p, then q; q, therefore, p" is a fallacy). So, we may say we're ready to suffer, die, and escape from prison, but unless we witness and pray, we never put ourselves in the position to discover the true level of our commitment to Christ.
The Chinese underground church does the exact opposite. They hold fast to (1) and (2), and that's sufficient to guarantee suffering, death, and imprisonment. And that's why they have to be ready.
We, on the other hand, are ready for an impossibility. "Impossible" because we fail to engage in the activities that bring (3), (4), and (5) about.
Understand these and agree with them as far as they go. But do they go far enough? It's too easy for Americans to live in the subjunctive mood and vicariously obey, so to speak, by thinking that "always being ready to" is the same as the actualized state of witnessing, suffering, dying, etc. Seems to me that the imperative mood is where we must live.
For example, Jesus did not say "always be ready to lose your life" (re: #4; cf. Lk 9:24), nor did Paul say that "whatever things were gain to me those things I am ready to count as loss" (re: #3; cf. Philip 3:7).
We must IN OUR HEARTS AND IN OUR LIVES move beyond the subjunctive to the imperative; Scripture demands we move beyond the "always be ready to" and live in the "always" state. Unless and until we do, America will only have the anemic Christianity that abounds.
Very nice logic logic there. I didn't see it until now.
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