Luis Palau's China Visit Finds Change, Hope, Opportunity
- Monday, April 19, 2004
Palau used the occasion to tell his Chinese audiences, which included many government officials from various social welfare agencies, that there are also spiritual orphans in the world who are lost, lonely, and desperate. The evangelist said he was excited to be in China and help so many spiritual orphans find peace with God. Both Chapman and Moore shared with their Chinese audiences songs they'd composed that spoke of the emotions in flying half-way around the world to adopt Chinese daughters. The experience has opened dialogue for the two musicians with high-ranking Chinese social welfare authorities.
One of the busiest people on the tour was Palau's partner evangelist Jose Zayas, who addressed numerous student groups about what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. Zayas is a member of Palau's Next Generation Alliance®, a coalition of evangelists the Portland-based Palau Association is encouraging with meaningful international speaking opportunities.
While in China, Palau also met with some of the country's highest-regarded scholars to hear how they are seeking to encourage continued progress in the area of religious registration. Palau said the scholars were very helpful in helping him better understand how Christianity fits the Chinese mindset. The scholars acknowledged that there is a growing fascination in the Chinese intellectual community in understanding the relevancy of Jesus Christ to modern society.
"Many of China's intellectuals have either turned to Christianity or have a positive attitude toward Christianity," the educators asserted. "They no longer see it as some dangerous superstition, but rather a positive force for social change."
Palau also held private meetings with some of the leading house church pastors in Beijing to get their reaction to the feasibility of one day holding a Christian festival in the capital of this country of 1.3 billion people. The house group leaders described for Palau the phenomenal growth of Christianity in urban centers since 2000. The house group leaders echoed what Palau had been told by the registered church leaders that the two greatest needs of the church are financial resources and mature, trained leaders with seminary degrees to handle the unprecedented growth.
Pastor John, who oversees eight house churches said, "Christians in America need to get over their insatiable hunger for persecution stories, and we in the house churches must get over our persecution complex. Yes, there has been persecution in this city's past, but our greatest need is not eliminating persecution but building up mature fellowship and developing unity among Christians."
These church leaders told Palau of how the requirements necessary to register as a church were too restrictive, preventing churches that wanted to register from doing so. The restrictions made it necessary for house churches to constantly spin off new fellowships to handle growth. According to the leaders Palau met with, a liberalization of registration laws would cause more churches to register.
While in China, Palau's group was provided a special briefing from Tony Lambert, former British diplomat and Director of China Research for OMF International.
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