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Billy Graham's Visit to China: A Retrospective

By Editorial Staff
Published July 2, 1988

House church leaders in China said Dr. Billy Graham’s controversial visit did three things which they could not have accomplished, according to Ron McMillan, Open Doors News Service’s Asia Correspondent.

First, he shared Jesus Christ with many top communists who hold enormous power in China today. Secondly, Graham made a vigorous case for Christianity and its positive role in China’s development at a time when a critical new law on religion is being drafted in the government. House church leaders expressed hopes that his efforts may result in a more sympathetic law towards religious freedom.

Thirdly, he was able to discuss the message of Jesus Christ with atheistic scholars at several educational establishments. He gave brief lectures and fielded the questions of academicians at Beijing University, the Academy of Social Sciences, and other colleges.

Graham was hosted by two opposing organizations: the Chinese Association for Friendship with Foreign People, which opened doors for him into the Communist establishment, and the China Christian Council. Initially, house church leaders were wary of Graham’s patronage of Communist leaders. However, the prevailing opinion was that Graham had done the best he could under difficult circumstances, and he did not let the house church movement down. He ensured this to a degree by meeting privately with a group of house church leaders in Beijing, and by visiting Wang Ming Tao in Shanghai, the 87-year-old patriarch of the home church movement. Graham also brought extended greetings to a large gathering of believers at an independent house church in Canton.

More importantly, he resisted labeling evangelical ministries who refuse to work through the Three Self Patriotic Movement, an arm of the communist government responsible for monitoring religious activity, as “anti-China.” Religious leaders who have visited China in the past have been urged to make such statements.

His visit ironically ended in controversy over the arrest of a house church leader, Xu Yongze, who was on his way to hear Graham preach in Beijing. Xu has been described as the “Billy Graham of China.” The stubborn refusal of the Ministry of National Security to even admit that Yongze was in their custody served as a strong reminder to the watching world that the Chinese Church is still suffering under strong persecution.


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Your comments are welcome!

Since I arranged this trip for Billy and Ruth, bringing the invitation from the government to Billy and Ruth at Montreat and returned the next carryon their acceptance I am thankful for your article.It is THE ONLY ONE that saw what that trip accomplished that no other person could have done. One more is that the seeds he planted and the contacts he made in God’s hands are happening to this day! Thank you for publishing your insights. My name was not mentioned at my request because of the work I was doing through The US-China Education Foundation, Inc.
God bless your work! I just found this after talking with Franklin recently in Texas.

Posted by Dr. Joseph B. Kennedy Sr. on 02/28/2018 04:51 PM #

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Amazing GraceAmazing Grace: The History and Theology of Calvinism (DVD)

Download the Free Study Guide!

Just what is Calvinism?

Does this teaching make man a deterministic robot and God the author of sin? What about free will? If the church accepts Calvinism, won’t evangelism be stifled, perhaps even extinguished? How can we balance God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility? What are the differences between historic Calvinism and hyper-Calvinism? Why did men like Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Spurgeon, Whitefield, Edwards and a host of renowned Protestant evangelists embrace the teaching of predestination and election and deny free will theology?

This is the first video documentary that answers these and other related questions. Hosted by Eric Holmberg, this fascinating three-part, four-hour presentation is detailed enough so as to not gloss over the controversy. At the same time, it is broken up into ten “Sunday-school-sized” sections to make the rich content manageable and accessible for the average viewer.

Running Time: 257 minutes

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A Revival Account: Asbury 1970 (DVD)

What is true Revival and Spiritual Awakening?

Discover the answer in this eyewitness account by Dennis Kinlaw, President of Asbury College, Wilmore, Kentucky, who recounts the story of a visitation of the Holy Spirit in 1970. This is the presentation that has continued to spark the flames of Revival in the hearts of people around the world. Contains eyewitness footage from the Revival at Asbury College in 1970 in Wilmore, Kentucky.

Certain to challenge you to greater holiness and a deeper commitment to full-scale revival. Original news and private footage has been included. If you are a student who longs to see a spiritual awakening at your school, you must see this video!

“This simple video does a wonderful job of conveying something of God’s heart and power, Everyone we have ever shown this to has received an immediate impartation of faith for revival and the power of prayer.”
— Bob and Rose Weiner, Weiner Ministries Int’l

Running Time: 40 minutes

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Freedom: The Model of Christian Liberty (DVD)

“Give me liberty or give me death!”

Patrick Henry’s famous declaration not only helped launch the War for Independence, it also perfectly summarized the mindset that gave birth to, and sustained, the unprecedented experiment in Christian liberty that was America.

The freedom our Founders envisioned was not freedom from suffering, want, or hard work. Nor was it freedom to indulge every appetite or whim without restraint—that would merely be servitude to a different master. No, the Founders’ passion was to live free before God, unfettered by the chains of autocracy, shackles that slowly but inexorably bind men when the governments they fashion fail to recognize and uphold freedom’s singular, foundational truth: that all men are created in the image of God, and are thereby co-equally endowed with the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

This presentation is a similar call, not to one but many. By reintroducing the principles of freedom that gave birth to America, it is our prayer that Jesus, the true and only ruler over the nations, will once again be our acknowledged Sovereign, that we may again know and exult in the great truth that “where the Spirit of the LORD is, there is liberty” (2 Cor. 3:17).

Welcome to the Second American Revolution!

This DVD features “Liberty: The Model of Christian Liberty” along with “Dawn’s Early Light: A Brief History of America’s Christian Foundations.” Bonus features include a humorous but instructive collection of campaign ads and Eric Holmberg’s controversial YouTube challenge concerning Mitt Romney’s campaign for president.

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The Real Jesus: A Defense of the Historicity and Divinity of ChristThe Real Jesus: A Defense of the Historicity and Divinity of Christ (DVD)

Who is the Real Jesus?

Ever since the dawn of modern rationalism, skeptics have sought to use textual criticism, archeology and historical reconstructions to uncover the “historical Jesus” — a wise teacher who said many wonderful things, but fulfilled no prophecies, performed no miracles and certainly did not rise from the dead in triumph over sin.

Over the past 100 years, however, startling discoveries in biblical archeology and scholarship have all but vanquished the faulty assumptions of these doubting modernists. Regrettably, these discoveries have often been ignored by the skeptics as well as by the popular media. As a result, the liberal view still holds sway in universities and impacts the culture and even much of the church.

The Real Jesus explodes the myths of these critics and the movies, books and television programs that have popularized their views. Presented in ten parts — perfect for individual, family and classroom study — viewers will be challenged to go deeper in their knowledge of Christ in order to be able to defend their faith and present the truth to a skeptical modern world – that the Jesus of the Gospels is the Jesus of history — “the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). He is the real Jesus.

Speakers include: George Grant, Ted Baehr, Stephen Mansfield, Raymond Ortlund, Phil Kayser, David Lutzweiler, Jay Grimstead, J.P. Holding, and Eric Holmberg.

Ten parts, over two hours of instruction!

Running Time: 130 minutes

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Dr. Francis Schaeffer - A Christian Manifesto (DVD)

That Swiss Hermit Strikes Again!

Dr. Schaeffer, who was one of the most influential Christian thinkers in the twentieth century, shows that secular humanism has displaced the Judeo-Christian consensus that once defined our nation’s moral boundaries. Law, education, and medicine have all been reshaped for the worse as a consequence. America’s dominant worldview changed, Schaeffer charges, when Christians weren’t looking.

Schaeffer lists two reasons for evangelical indifference: a false concept of spirituality and fear. He calls on believers to stand against the tyranny and moral chaos that come when humanism reigns-and warns that believers may, at some point, be forced to make the hard choice between obeying God or Caesar. A Christian Manifesto is a thought-provoking and bracing Christian analysis of American culture and the obligation Christians have to engage the culture with the claims of Christ.

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