Category Archives: Arab World

My 3rd Article on China Source

My third post on ChinaSource.org was put up a few days ago. It is titled: ‘Filling a Gap’

You can view it here: http://www.chinasource.org/resource-library/from-the-west-courtyard/filling-a-gap

 

Here’s the article:

For those of us from the western church, we have the advantage of a rich history of sending workers to share the gospel cross-culturally. That history includes experiences —both positive and negative—that have undergirded efforts to reach people across cultural, religious, and economic boundaries. We take it for granted that the church is to send workers out. It’s a normal part of the church’s responsibility and ministry. Those who are sent out learn from the mistakes of those who went before. But Chinese Christians now being sent to other countries have very few examples to follow from their own country. In many cases they are the first to go. Can we share our cross-cultural experience with them as they blaze new trails for the Chinese church?

Though some may say Chinese cross-cultural workers just need more training, sending fruitful workers is not just a matter of getting good training before they go. Even more important than pre-field training is having experienced and solid coworkers who can assist and guide them once they arrive on the field. Are such on-the-field coworkers available for Chinese cross-cultural workers? Perhaps not if there are no other Chinese workers who have already been in that area long-term and are bearing fruit in their ministry with local people.

Western Workers Filling in the Gap

Are there other options for providing help and direction for Chinese cross-cultural workers once they arrive on the field? Is it reasonable for western workers who have been serving in China long-term to fill this gap? Could they go with Chinese workers to an unreached nation in teams to serve together? The western workers could help them appreciate the importance of learning the local language, investing in local people, and sharing the gospel appropriately while also adjusting to the new culture and getting settled in a legitimate job or other opportunity for being in the country.

The western worker has experience in this if he has already gone through this process successfully in China. He could be a model for the Chinese workers once they are sent to the unreached nations, if they move there together. After a few years of observing and working with the western worker in that nation, then hopefully the Chinese workers would be self-sufficient and ready to have a long and fruitful ministry among the local people.

Helping to “Supply What Is Lacking”

Is it worth the sacrifice for western workers to leave their work in China to spend at least a few years in a Muslim nation to help give Chinese workers guidance there? Yes, it does seem to be worth it. Paul talks about how he desires to “supply what is lacking” [1 Thess. 3:10] in the Thessalonian church’s faith. This is an opportunity for western Christians to help supply what is lacking in the Chinese church. Coming from a western church, we are used to the great benefits of sending workers from our churches. Not only is it a blessing for those who go as cross-cultural workers to see God working across the world, but sending out such workers is also a great blessing for the sending church. The people in the sending church are encouraged by those they send, because they hear how God is working around the globe and they play a part in the work through their prayers. Churches that send out many cross-cultural workers often take this for granted and fail to see the great value to the sending church as well as to the nations.

Because most Chinese churches are not currently sending out cross-cultural workers, they are not able to share in this awesome blessing. And often if a church has sent out such workers, a good number of them are floundering and not seeing any fruit. This is an area in which their faith is lacking. Any way that we can help the Chinese church be more fruitful in sending out cross-cultural workers is a way that we can help to “supply what is lacking” in the Chinese churches’ faith. So yes, it is very worthwhile to play a part in the sanctification of the Chinese church, that they may be presented as pure and radiant before the Lord. This is fulfilled when the Chinese church is sending out fruitful laborers to the nations.

My 2nd Article on China Source

My second post on ChinaSource.org was put up a few days ago. It is titled: ‘Are Chinese Christians Particularly Suited to Reaching Muslims?’

You can view it here: http://www.chinasource.org/resource-library/from-the-west-courtyard/are-chinese-christians-particularly-suited-to-reaching-muslims

 

See the article below:

Open Doors?

As the Chinese economy develops and the government is opening many doors in much-needed cooperation with Muslim governments, is it time for the Chinese church to send workers to Muslim nations? There are several reasons why the answer to this question is a resounding yes.

First, the Chinese do not have white faces, which is a negative trait for most westerners who seek to serve among the Muslims. Many Muslims find it harder to trust anyone with a white face. It will be easier for Chinese to blend in with the local people—as Christians from South Korea have found out—than for westerners.

Second, most Muslims assume that Christianity is a religion for westerners. So when Chinese Christians are working in Muslim contexts and daily sharing their faith in Christ, Muslims will see that Christianity is not only a religion for westerners, but is actually a religion for all nations. This will add much legitimacy and weight to the gospel itself. The Muslim will think, “All westerners are supposedly Christians, but this non-westerner is claiming to be a Christian. There must be something more to this Christianity thing.”

Third, most Muslim nations have good relationships with China. For example, because of the oil market, the Saudi Arabian government has a great relationship with the Chinese government.

For the last two years the Chinese chairman Xi Jinping has promoted the “One Belt, One Road” (一带一路) policy, which essentially is a way for the Chinese government to promote trade with the [mostly Muslim] countries along the ancient Silk Road, covering Central Asia, the Middle East, and into Eastern Europe. Generally the Muslim governments are not suspicious of the Chinese. They do not suspect that the Chinese government is seeking to usurp authority of Muslim governments, like many Muslim governments suspect western governments of doing. This trust would make it much easier for Chinese Christians to gain the trust of the locals and effectively share the gospel with them.

Potential Opportunities for Chinese Christians in Muslim Countries

There are a few different options for business opportunities that may be effective for Chinese in the Muslim world.

One option is to open up a Chinese teashop. Many Muslims love to drink Chinese green tea. Muslims in general enjoy drinking tea and coffee. A place like a Chinese teashop could offer Chinese teas and also local teas and coffees. This would be relatively easy to run with the proper personnel, because teahouses are so common in China.

A second option is to open up a Chinese language-learning school. This option is reasonable, but not as good as the first option. This would work best in a large metropolitan city (i.e. Casablanca, Cairo, Alexandria), where there may be enough people who are interested in learning Chinese. Most likely Chinese language skills are not in high enough demand for a Chinese language-learning school to be profitable in smaller cities. Another language-related option could be for a Chinese teacher to teach in a larger language school that teaches multiple languages.

A third option is to open up a small Chinese restaurant. It would be easy to start up and would not necessarily need any specific expertise to open it up, other than being able to cook Chinese food. Another thing that makes this easier is because such restaurants are found all around China, so it is not a totally new idea for the Chinese workers to do this.

The Lord is opening many doors around the world for the Chinese Christians to be used to reach the least-reached areas of the world, the Muslim lands. May this continue to happen and may many well-qualified and godly Chinese believers be sent to these lands while the window of opportunity is still open.

To continue the conversation, contact Tabor Laughlin at  taborlaughlin@hushmail.com.

Arabic

Arabic should not be seen as an Islamic language, but it should be seen as a language that has a very distinct Christian culture to it, too. I pray that this may continue to expand, that many Arabic-speaking people around the world would come to faith, and that there would be significant modern theological works written in Arabic by Arabic-speakers. Now we just think about the Arab world as being such a dark place spiritually, but certainly the Lord is still working there.

In the 4th century Augustine of Hippo was in a totally Christianized land, in North Africa. Within a few centuries, all of that area would become totally Muslim. Is it impossible to imagine that after 1400 years God would desire to make those areas totally Christianized again? I can see that historically Arabia does have its own Christian culture, and be hopeful that this culture will become even larger and richer in the coming years.