Once again we are reporting encouraging news of mission work in China. This is not a proof of postmillennialism, but it is ultimately as expectation of postmillennialism. Postmillennialism does not believe that by the year 2012 the gospel will have won the victory in history. It believes that before Christ returns the victory will have been won. And it necessarily expects incremental victories along the way — such as mission works here and there successfully promoting the gospel. This news items is one of those hope-filled reports that should encourage us to greater gains.
Urban Christian News — China’s Christian surge is likely to continue in 2012, with teaching via the internet contributing to it.
Type “democracy” or “Tiananmen Square” into Baidu.com, the popular search engine in China, and a message will pop up informing you that you cannot access the page. But type “Christianity” into the same search engine, and you’ll be flooded with links to church websites, personal blogs, and sites about Christianity from inside and outside the country.
That’s surprising at a time when Chinese officials are persecuting members of Shouwang, a Protestant house church in Beijing, and the “Great Firewall of China” is preventing many internet users from finding material the government deems offensive–like information on Taiwan, Tibet, or Chinese dissenters. Christian material, though, is often unblocked. With nearly 500 million Chinese people using the internet, Christian ministries such as Jesus Central, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and Minnesota pastor John Piper’s Desiring God are looking to the internet.
Vipool Patel originally created jesuscentral.com in 2000 as a way to teach his Hindu family about Jesus. The site uses passages in the Bible to explain the life, teaching, and impact of Jesus, with the goal of creating a starting point for someone with no religious background to understand who Jesus is.
Seven years ago, Patel worked with Ambassadors for Christ to create the same website in Chinese, called YesuZhongxin.org. Since then, the popularity of the site has grown through word-of-mouth, links on Three-Self church websites, and search engine ads. In 2010, the site had 1.75 million unique visitors.
The site offers Jesus 101, a six-week program on Jesus’ life and ministry, with lessons, assignments, and journaling. More than 10,000 people have signed up for it: Patel said the government does not block YesuZhongxin.org because it is an educational site that is open about its goals and respectful of Chinese laws.
Patel has already shifted operations of the site into China and hopes to form a board of directors in China as well. He wants the Chinese site to be self-sustaining inside the country. He said, “Many people who come to the website are lonely and hurting, people write [on the message boards] about how they don’t want to live on, but then they say, ‘I discovered Jesus, there is a future for me now.’”