Jay Rogers
Jay Rogers

Recent Posts

The Forerunner

Spiritual Hunger Sparks Revival

By Jay Rogers
Published March 1, 1990

Among Chinese Intellectuals

“It’s all because those soldiers on June 4th used real bullets to shoot the people. If they had used rubber bullets there would be no revival among the students today.”

- Beida University Student

Behind these emotional words, spoken in December by a young man called Jiang, a recently converted student from China’s premier Beida University, lies a brilliantly cogent argument – one which goes at least some way to accounting for a remarkable phenomenon in modern China. Namely, the turning of thousands of Chinese intellectuals away from a Maoist to a Christian faith.

Because the Chinese government put down the pro-democracy movement with such ferocity and cruelty, China’s students saw two truths clearly for the first time in their lives, which set them on the road to Christianity.

First, they saw that the Chinese Communist Party could no longer be trusted. “Before June 4, we were all quite ‘pink’ in our attitude to the government. We were the elite of society, and hoped to receive the plum placements in China at the end of our courses,” said Jiang.

“To be rebuffed with such murderous ferocity by a government we thought was flexible enough to make real changes woke us up to the fact that we must no longer have any faith in the system.”

The disillusion was bitter. As a Christian teacher involved in the demonstrations said in December, “We are all still in a state of shock. It never crossed our minds that the government would do such a terrible thing as order the army to mow down defenseless civilians.”

The second truth that dawned on Jiang was a startlingly simple one: People are evil. Yet in a Chinese context, this is a radical conclusion. As a Christian professor in Beijing said, “All our religions for the past 5,000 years, including Maoism, teach that man is basically good, and only circumstances make him bad.”

“We saw pure evil …”

The brutality of the massacres in Tiananmen square was inexplicable to the Chinese people. “We saw pure evil,” said a Beijing surgeon, “and it horrified us.” Fright, horror, fear, and shock are still written on the faces of the Beijing student population eight months later.

One young woman said, “In our dorm we heard that the PLA was shooting students, but that seemed ridiculous, so I went to the square with my boyfriend.” She related, with tearful eyes, how she watched him approach a soldier to ask about the reports, then saw him wheel around in terror. He was shot in the back of the head at point blank range.

Sobered by the carnage, and disillusioned with the system that instituted it, students began to look for spiritual comfort. But which religion should they choose?

Jiang explained, “We could not try any of the Chinese religions like Confucianism, Taoism or even Buddhism, because they were based on a premise that people are morally good!” He said, “I turned to Christianity because it seemed the only realistic religion … it told us we had evil tendencies, but that this evil could be conquered.”

Are claims of revival far-fetched?

Admitting his argument is in no way a complete explanation of why China’s students are converting to Christianity, is Jiang’s claim of revival far-fetched?

According to Dr. Leslie Francis, a Christian academic specializing in Chinese intellectual history, and a visitor to Beijing in December, “The turning of students to Christianity since June 4 involves not merely hundreds, but thousands throughout China.” She added, I would rate this as one of the most significant periods in the history of Chinese intellectualism.”

Sources among the student population confirm this turning. Students have indicated that at several of China’s most prominent universities, as much as 10 percent of the student body has been converted to Christianity. In some cases, entire dorms or even faculties have become Christian.

A veteran foreign teacher related how he attended church in July and was pinned to his seat after the service for two hours by inquisitive students asking questions about his faith. He said, “In five years in China, I have never seen anything like it. It was an explosion of interest in the Christian faith, and all the Three-Self churches I know here are just overwhelmed by the numbers coming to the services.”

The Christian broadcasting company, Trans World Radio, reported it had received a letter from a member of the Hua Xiang Three-Self church in Fuchow sharing that a staggering 8,000 students had come to that church since June 4, inquiring about the Christian faith.

House church leaders in the major cities also report being inundated with converted students asking to be discipled. A leader of a large house church in northern Beijing said, “Frankly, we cannot cope with the discipling of these new converts.”

Even the press is starting to notice. In fact, they have been the first to use the term “revival.” In the Chinese language newspaper Ming Bao in Hong Kong, it was reported, “There has been a revival of religious interest in China … more students are going to church at Christmas time than ever before.”

A new phenomenon among Chinese intellectuals

The teachings of Jesus Christ have attracted thousands of battered and disillusioned students. A Beijing professor contends that “students are attracted to the twin notions of absolute truth and unconditional love that are enshrined in the Christian faith.”

To a people weary of the relativism and the constant revision of Marxist tenets, to say nothing of their distaste for the lying that is so much a part of life, a religion which professor to have truth which is intrinsically objective, unalterable, and pure, is indeed a great attraction. As one student said, “I cannot tell you what a relief it is not to have to believe a lie, or live a lie anymore!”

China’s intellectuals are becoming Christians in unprecedented numbers today. In Chinese intellectual history, and in Chinese Christian history, this represents a completely new phenomenon.

It remains to be seen whether traditional house churches can provide a suitable context for nurturing the majority of these new intellectual converts. It could be that an entirely new strand of Chinese Christianity has come into being as a result of the tragic events of 1989 – a strand that will stand on its own.

The difference these new believers may make to the fabric of Chinese society could be crucial, especially in these uncertain days. Dr. Leslie Francis envisages a bloody overthrow of the Chinese government sometime in the next two years. She argues, “All the elements that historically signal the end of a dynasty are in place – rural discontent, urban unrest, military regionalism, economic stagnation, and an inept government.

Yet there is a new factor which may sway the inexorable laws of history. Speaking to intellectuals in 1977, a certain Chinese philosopher asked, “Why was MAO so great?”, and answered, “Because we were all kneeling down.” China’s intellectuals are knelling down again in 1990, but this time no longer to Mao, but to Jesus Christ.

Forerunner - Home » The Forerunner Newspaper » China

Your comments are welcome!

Textile Help

Dr. Francis Schaeffer - How Should We Then Live? (DVD)

Special Two-Disc Set!

After 40 years of intense study and world-wide ministry, Dr. Francis Schaeffer completed his crowning work of scholarship – to present profound truths in simple film language. Dr. Schaeffer’s brilliant analysis of the past and predictions for current trends have proven so uncannily accurate that this amazing series still feels contemporary almost three decades after its initial release. Ultimately, Schaeffer concludes that man’s only hope is a return to God’s Biblical absolute, the truth revealed in Christ through the Scriptures.

Available for the first time on DVD, this documentary spectacular also includes intimate in-depth conversations with Francis and Edith Schaeffer. With the on-disc study guide, this presentation forms a unique course of comprehensive study. While this series forms an innovative analysis of the past, this outstanding work is more than history. Each episode focuses on a significant era, yet speaks clearly to 21st-century man with answers for modern problems.

$49.95 — ORDER NOW!

(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)

Click here for more information

Why Creeds and Confessions? (Book)

High Quality Paperback — 219 pages

Foundations in Biblical Orthodoxy

Driving down a country road sometime, you might see a church with a sign proudly proclaiming: “No book but the Bible — No creed but Christ.” The problem with this statement is that the word creed (from the Latin: credo) simply means “belief.” All Christians have beliefs, regardless of whether they are written.

Yet a single book containing the actual texts of the most important creeds of the early Church will not often be found. Out of the multitude of works on the evangelical Christian book market today, those dealing with the creeds of the Church are scarce.

Why Creeds and Confessions? provides a foundation of biblical orthodoxy as a defense against the false and truly heretical doctrines advanced by the spirit of this age.

$14.95 — ORDER NOW!

(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)

Click here for more information

Go Stand Speak (DVD)

With “preaching to the lost” being such a basic foundation of Christianity, why do many in the church seem to be apathetic on this issue of preaching in highways and byways of towns and cities?

Is it biblical to stand in the public places of the world and proclaim the gospel, regardless if people want to hear it or not?

Does the Bible really call church pastors, leaders and evangelists to proclaim the gospel in the public square as part of obedience to the Great Commission, or is public preaching something that is outdated and not applicable for our day and age?

These any many other questions are answered in this documentary.

$19.95 — ORDER NOW!

(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)

Click here for more information

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.

$14.95 — ORDER NOW!

(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)

Click here for more information

The Beast of Revelation IdentifiedThe Beast of Revelation: Identified (DVD)

Who is the dreaded beast of Revelation?

Now at last, a plausible candidate for this personification of evil incarnate has been identified (or re-identified). Ken Gentry’s insightful analysis of scripture and history is likely to revolutionize your understanding of the book of Revelation — and even more importantly — amplify and energize your entire Christian worldview!

Historical footage and other graphics are used to illustrate the lecture Dr. Gentry presented at the 1999 Ligonier Conference in Orlando, Florida. It is followed by a one-hour question and answer session addressing the key concerns and objections typically raised in response to his position. This presentation also features an introduction that touches on not only the confusion and controversy surrounding this issue — but just why it may well be one of the most significant issues facing the Church today.

Ideal for group meetings, personal Bible study — for anyone who wants to understand the historical context of John’s famous letter “… to the seven churches which are in Asia.” (Revelation 1:4)

Running Time: 145 minutes

$17.95 — ORDER NOW!

(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)

Click here for more information

Share |

View CCNow Cart/Checkout
View CCNow Cart/Checkout

Subscribe to
The Forerunner

Have The Forerunner Weblog sent straight to your inbox!

Enter your email address:

The Forerunner Channel on YouTube

Promote Your Page Too

Featured Product
If you like the articles on this website, you may also be interested in:

Featured Articles

Live Seminar!

Real Jesus
The Abortion Matrix DVD: Update

The Abortion Matrix:
Defeating Child Sacrifice and the Culture of Death

is a 195-minute presentation that traces the biblical roots of child sacrifice and then delves into the social, political and cultural fall-out that this sin against God has produced. You can order this series on DVD, read the complete script and view clips on-line...
continued ...

View My Stats