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Chinese Christians During Coronavirus Outbreak


As many of you have learned from the recent news, the Coronavirus outbreak is now an global pandemic.  While many people are living in fear, the Christians in China see it is an opptitunty for outreaching and a service to God (Romans 12:1).  The following article by William Hung from MercatorNet, detailing the effeort of the evagelical churches in Wuhan during the Coronavirus outbreak.

With the world in turmoil as the coronavirus outbreak sweeps across Asia and threatens other continents, Christians in Wuhan, at the epicenter, are using the calamity to spread their faith. Their efforts deserve to be recorded as an exemplary example of Christian testimony.
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On February 11, the New York Times’ China correspondent Chris Buckley, who has been reporting on the ground in Wuhan since the lockdown and escalation of the outbreak, tweeted that despite the apocalyptic feel of a megacity in quarantine, he was surprised to encounter Christian evangelists handing out gospel leaflets packaged together with face masks.

Wuhan can feel a little end-of-times. Still I was surprised to come across Christian evangelists in one neighborhood cheerfully handing out leaflets and painfully flimsy masks. pic.twitter.com/yEonJUprFx

— Chris Buckley 储百亮 (@ChuBailiang) February 11, 2020

It was a welcome respite from the misery, confusion and anger the city has seen since the start of 2020, a sign of hope even in extreme circumstances.

Mr Buckley was not the only recipient of these gospel leaflets calling for the conversion to Christ in the middle of this epidemic-ravaged city.

A video which has generated 100,000 views on the Chinese social networking app WeChat shows that a group of Christians from Wuhan has been handing out masks and other protective gear their church received from donations across the world. Together with the masks, they slipped in the leaflets Mr. Buckley saw which quotes John 3:16 and calls for the salvation of souls.

A few days later, voice recordings and writings of the man behind the actions, a Wuhan-based missionary known as Preacher Luo, also started to circulate. In the recording, Luo stated that the street preaching and leaflet distribution has been happening for more than a decade. Not even the virus can stop them from preaching the Gospel, he declared, albeit with volunteers wearing protective gear.

Luo believes that now is an opportunity to demonstrate God’s love and the message of hope, as many Wuhan inhabitants suffer from trauma, despair and frustration.

His actions have sparked controversy. Some Christians argued that it is dangerous to go out at these times and expose believers to the virus through human interaction. Other Wuhan churches have started operations online to help with the virus and maintain a life of faith for their congregants. Some have set up hotlines for people to call in for help and others are posting sermons online.

A joint prayer committee of pastors was set up under the leadership of Pastor Huang Lei, formerly a medical professor and now the head pastor of the Wuhan Roots and Fruits Church. It coordinates online sermons, checks up on vulnerable and diagnosed congregants and distributes donated goods to assist those in need.

The Roots and Fruits Church has ceased all physical gatherings but through its YouTube channel and WeChat account, Pastor Huang released a series of sermons and called for donations and assistance via slickly produced short videos.

One of the most widely shared videos calls for all Chinese Christians to engage in fasting and vigorous prayer for at least three days to seek divine intervention in the crisis.

An Urgent Appeal to Chinese Christians for Fasting and Prayer

Other videos have featured advice on how to continue worshipping online and at home, how to obey God’s will in this difficult time, as well as congregants sharing scenes of their worshipping at home with their family and one winsome clip of a church member singing hymns with his children as he plays the guitar in the relative safety of their apartment.  Despite the adversity, the online ministry is updated regularly, and congregants use technology to comfort each other.

As one of Wuhan’s largest house churches, despite all the repression and adversity it has faced since its founding, the Roots and Fruits Church has proved to be amazingly resilient.

Prior to the coronavirus crisis, it continued to grow and attract hundreds of professionals and families alike since its founding as a seven-member prayer group back in 2002.

Its organization contrasts with the chaos Wuhan saw in the early days of the outbreak, as the coronavirus paralysed the government and exposed the incompetence of the local authorities. Churches often delivered masks and protective gear accurately and efficiently in the early days of the outbreak, whilst the rest of China recoiled in horror as the government-sponsored Wuhan Red Cross failed to distribute much needed resources to the frontlines, leaving many medical staff exposed and frustrated.

As many N95 masks lie idle in the Red Cross warehouse or get siphoned off by Wuhan local officials, Preacher Luo and his team managed to deliver 400 N95 masks, 1000 gloves and 1000 protective goggles to the Wuhan Central Hospital, the workplace of the deceased whistleblower Dr Li Wenliang.

Most of those donations were sent directly by overseas believers from Taiwan, Hong Kong and North America. An additional 30,000 face masks were handed out on the street by the members of Luo’s team in the first week of the quarantine.

Besides churches and street preachers, individual Christians in Wuhan have also assisted the sick. As cases skyrocketed from late January, many thousands of patients did not have access to hospital beds. Desperate people were being turned away every day from hospitals.

A Christian engineer, whose own family had been affected by the outbreak, used his WeChat public account to post calls for assistance and coordinate information to help them find medication and a hospital bed.

For days, China’s Weibo was also inundated with individuals posting pleas for help, many of which were scrubbed from the internet after the country’s overzealous censors returned to work. However, the engineer had a network of volunteers, many of them Christian, who helped with on the ground information and managed to give several families medical assistance. At a time when the government has failed its citizens, these WeChat volunteers prove how an atomized society urgently needs to nourish civil society.

Christians in Wuhan are living proof of the best qualities of humanity; they offer us a glimmer of hope in this world full of suffering and paranoia towards the epidemic. Their composure and efficiency, as well as their love and strength, stem from their faith.

William Huang is an avid researcher into China and East Asia’s demographic crisis. He also aims to raise his voice for the sanctity of life wherever and whenever he can.


Originally published on MercatorNet (https://www.mercatornet.com/above/view/the-response-of-wuhan-christians-to-the-coronavirus-outbreak-puts-the-gover/23324), retrieved on 29/02/2020.

Reformed TV
Translating for the Next Generation

Over the years, we have seen how God used various online streaming services such as YouTube to spread the gospel, with many excellent teachings from people like R.C. Sproul, John Piper, and John MacArthur etc. Yet the language barrier meant only those with English could understand and appreciated those teachings, and it has been a burden for me.

In 2008, I was invited by Martin Tu, a video producer and graphic designer from the China Reformed Theological Seminary (CRTS) to join an online community-based translation team for the Reformed Internet Television Station he has envisioned for the Chinese churches. First, appear as CRTS.TV - Chinese Reformed Theological Seminary Television.  Now, known as Reformed TV, www.rtv.org.tw.

Initially, the programs consist of video teaching series from well-know Chinese ministers like Samuel Ling, Stephen Tong and teachings delivered by the seminary lectures, but it has soon grown.  By dubbing Chinese subtitles on videos from speakers like Paul Washer, John Piper, John MacArthur, and Timothy Keller.  We were able to cover various topics such as Christian Living, Apologetics, Catechisms, and the basics of the Reformed faith.
Reformed TV Web Interface
Recently, with the cooperation with Ligonier Ministries, we have strengthened our programs by presenting series such as “The Holiness of God”, and “Chosen By God”, by the late R.C. Sproul to the Chinese audience.  Videos from Christian Counselling & Educational Foundation (CCEF) and Paul Tripp also provided the much-needed sound teaching in the area of Christian Counselling.
The New City Catechism - Q1
 
An extension of the online television was launched last year in cooperated with the CRTS to produce high quality, free online classroom with lectures taught by a broad selection of various faculty from the seminary, available on www.x-learn.org.

It has now been over twelve years since the platform been launched and is going from strength to strength, the YouTube channel alone has since grown from 2,700 to 12,400 followers, with a weekly average of 7,000 videos viewed across the world.  We have also seen a change in the theological direction among the Chinese churches with many ministers and leaders preaching the doctrine of grace within non-reformed denominations, and sharing some of the videos with their church members.
Me and Marin (left) from my recent visit to Taiwan.
Today, the team behind Reformed TV remaining relatively small compared to others, with only three full-time workers, and ten active online volunteers, we continue to strive to the vision of spreading the gospel and reformed teaching to the wider Chinese speaking community.  Please continue to pray for the translation ministries for both physical publications as well as the online streaming service.
 
Steven

If you would like to contribute in supporting our cause, please make a note with your donation to RTF Australia, indicates the funds towards the RTV project.

"Truth Matters" Project


It is our delight to inform you all that the translation deed for the "Truth Matters" booklet published by the Presbyterian Church of Australia (PCA) has been signed between the PCA Church Office and RTF Australia last January.

This book, written for Bible study groups, session study and individual use, contains chapters on:
  • THE BIBLE: The Inspiration, Authority And Integrity Of God’s Word – David Burge
  • THE TRINITY: What It Is, What It Is Not, Its Application To Daily Life – Peter Hastie
  • GOD: His Character, Plan And Purpose – Greg Goswell
  • JESUS CHRIST: His Person And Work – Bryson Smith
  • THE HOLY SPIRIT: His Person And Work – Gary Millar
  • SALVATION: Its Nature, Order And Outworking – Peter Barnes
  • HUMANKIND: What Are We? And What’s Wrong With Us? – Neil Chambers
  • THE CHURCH: What Is It? What Is Its Part In The Purposes Of God? – Ian Smith
Each chapter concludes with questions for group discussion.

We believe by having this booklet translated into Chinese will provide the English speaking churches with resources to the outreach of the ever-growing Chinese population here in Australia, as well benefiting the Chinese churches aboard in learning the basic of faith.

Humankind has been made to know God, it is our “chief end” and the main business of life, the Lord Jesus said, the essence of eternal life is knowing God (John 17:3). “Truth Matters” has been written to facilitate such knowledge... - David Cook
 

2019 RTF Press (Taiwan) End of Year Update

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28, NKJV)

In "All Things for Good" published this year, Thomas Watson used this verse as the main verse in his teaching, that no matter in what situation a believer is facing, it can benefit the people of God.  We felt this is the lesson for us this year, as the shipments were quite smooth in the first half, but sales have deteriorated since then, mainly due to the policies of China.

The sales in Hong Kong were also affected by the democracy protests, and it has actually worsened than in previous years.  In Seattle, a sister contacted us and want to set up a reading room, this would be a good opportunity for the Reform faith to reach to the Chinese churches over there.

We are also grateful to God. This year we have received some dedication funds to support translation ministry, including the Friends of the Reformed Theological Seminary and the Australian translation fellowship, who have always supported us and greatly encouraged us.  We are convinced by God's grace, He has always looked after His children and His ministry.

eBooks

Many of you have been requesting the availability of our titles in the electronic format, and we have acknowledged this by setting up an online eBooks store on Hyread.

2019 Publications

  • Richard Gaffin Jr., By Faith, Not By Sight: Paul and the Order of Salvation
  • John Newton, Select Letters of John Newton
  • Thomas Watson, All Things for Good
  • Mark E. Ross, Let’s Study Matthew
  • Iain M. Duguid & Matthew P. Harmon, Living in the Light of Inextinguishable Hope: The Gospel According to Joseph
  • O. Palmer Robertson, The Christ of the Covenants
Upcoming 2020 Publications
  • Mark Jones, God Is: A Devotional Guide to the Attributes of God
  • Richard B. Gaffin Jr., Resurrection and Redemption.
  • Guy Waters, How Jesus Runs the Church
  • Anthony T. Selvaggio, From Bondage to Liberty: The Gospel According to Moses
  • Greg Bahnsen, Van Til’s Apologetic
  • Sinclair B. Ferguson, Let’s Study Mark
  • John Calvin, Commentary on 1 & 2 Peter and Jude
  • John Calvin, Commentary on Acts

RTF Australia 2020 Translations Projects

For the year 2020, RTF Australia committee decided to support the following two titles:

  1. Mark Jones, God Is: A Devotional Guide to the Attributes of God
  2. Anthony T. Selvaggio, From Bondage to Liberty: The Gospel According to Moses
Mark Jones has written many excellent books over the years and is a scholar on the writings of the Puritans. In this book, he summarised teachings from the early church fathers and works by puritans like Stephen Charnocks, Edward Leigh, and John Owen Jones in twenty-seven concise chapters.  It is an extremely helpful and needful reference on our great God and his all-beautiful character. Highly recommended as a tool for personal devotion or group study.

“The Gospel According to the Old Testament” series published by P&R is an excellent guide into the Scripture through significant Old Testament figures with Christ-focused theology at an accessible level. We believe it will bring a good grounding for ministers and seminary students when going through the Old Testament.

We will be seeking to raise 5,000+ AUD this year to cover the translation and initial publication cost; you can find our donation details at the end of the newsletter or on our website.

2020 Pray Requests

The Reformation Translation Fellowship welcomes you and your congregation to join in a concerted effort to pray for God’s blessing upon the Church in China. We rejoice that many people are hearing the good news of salvation in Christ Jesus. Yet we continue to pray for:

  • That Christians in China during this trying period of the growing spread of the Wuhan Coronavirus in the country. May the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, guard their hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Pray for God to strengthen and sustain them, and to protect them from the virus and for God’s mercy to stop the spread of the virus both in China and around the world.
  • That the emerging Churches in China will be solidly grounded upon the Scriptures and sound Reformed doctrine.
  • That ministers and elders would be rooted in the historic Christian faith so that they might train the flock under their care.
  • That RTF would be enabled to translate and distribute sound Reformed literature to all who can read it.
  • That dangerous cult and false doctrine would be arrested and prevented from spreading.
  • That persecuted Christians and their families would be enabled to stand firm in the faith and speak the gospel boldly.
Thank God that RTF has been able to print and distribute the following titles during 2019:
  • Richard Gaffin Jr., By Faith, Not By Sight: Paul and the Order of Salvation
  • John Newton, Select Letters of John Newton
  • Thomas Watson, All Things for Good
  • Mark E. Ross, Let’s Study Matthew
  • Iain M. Duguid & Matthew P. Harmon, Living in the Light of Inextinguishable Hope: The Gospel According to Joseph
  • O. Palmer Robertson, The Christ of the Covenants
Pray for those who will be translating, editing, printing, and distributing the following titles in 2020:
  • Mark Jones, God Is: A Devotional Guide to the Attributes of God
  • Richard B. Gaffin Jr., Resurrection and Redemption.
  • Guy Waters, How Jesus Runs the Church
  • Anthony T. Selvaggio, From Bondage to Liberty: The Gospel According to Moses
  • Greg Bahnsen, Van Til’s Apologetic
  • Sinclair B. Ferguson, Let’s Study Mark
  • John Calvin, Commentary on 1 & 2 Peter and Jude
  • John Calvin, Commentary on Acts

Request for Speaker

If you would like to invite someone to engage with your church or group about the necessity for a translation ministry? Committee members of RTF Australia are available as guest speakers for mission events, youth groups, prayer groups, and other ministry events.  Please feel free to contact us at enquiries@rtfa.org.au.

Do you know you can purchase RTF publication here in Australia?  Visit The Wandering Bookseller for more detail.

Reformation Translation Fellowship Australia

 
Chairman: Mr Steven Yu 0401 043 641  
  Maroubra, NSW    
       
Secretary: Rev. Andrew Stewart 03 5229 4697  
  Geelong, VIC    
       
Treasurer: Mr. David Barkley 0417 310 197  
  Geelong, VIC    
       
  Rev. Stuart Bonnington 08 9398 1304 0400 012 865
  Fremantle, WA    
       
  Rev. Julian Bull 0435 245 919  
  Perth, WA    
       
  Rev. Stefan Slucki 07 4123 4784 0428 960 801
  Maryborough, QLD    
       
Website:    www.rtfa.org.au Email: enquiries@rtfa.org.au
       
       
Contact: Rev. Andrew Stewart, 12 Fenwick Street, Geelong, VIC 3220
       
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Reformation Translation Fellowship Australia · 12 Fenwick Street · Geelong, VIC 3220 · Australia