The Inevitability of World Revival

I want to make a case for world revival apart from prophetic scriptures. It rests in part on fascinating recent statistics coming out of China as well other parts of the world and part on the now inevitable and visible collapse of belief systems world wide...which will leave evangelical Christianity as the dominant world belief system.

I read a fascinating article last week in a magazine called This Week which is a sort of interesting analysis every week of world trends.  The article that caught my attention was entitled "Can Christianity Save China?".

The author not being a Christian had a very interesting analysis on why he thought that yes Christianity is in fact in the process of saving China. And by "saving" he obviously did not mean it in the sense we use it as in "saving souls" but in saving a nation from chaotic collapse.

Which naturally made me think of many other places in the world that Christianity is also going to be the "saviour" of collapsing social, political and economic orders and therefore hence my argument:  Regardless of your view of the "end times", there is world revival coming and we as a Church better get ourselves prepared for the responsibility of discipling nations into the Kingdom of God.

The author of the article presents the results of a recent study done by Prof. Fenggyang Yang the director of the Center of Religion and Chinese Society at Purdue University. The study done there of the phenomenal growth of Christianity in China (and that is predominantly Protestant growth he says for which you can also take to read charismatic evangelical Christianity) makes the following surprising prediction:
At the current growth rates it is expected that in 9 years time in 2025 the Christian population of China will be somewhere between 250-300 million people!

And let me emphasize this: These are not nominal Sunday Christians. These are people who are making a stand for Christ in the face of ongoing persecution and suppression by the Chinese authorities of the Christian faith.

The author states:
"Surprised? That makes sense. The Chinese Communist Party has done all it can to downplay this phenomenon and keep a tight media lid on it. Meanwhile, Western media outlets are so taken with the idea that religion is an irrelevant (and declining) facet of modern life that they don't pay attention to its growth in most places outside calcified Western Europe".

The article goes on to try to explain in sociological terms why this amazing phenomenon is happening in China. And I find the reasoning of the author interesting. No usual arguments that we would use of prophetic scriptures obviously or of the power of the Holy Spirit or preaching the gospel with signs and wonders.

No, in fact he connects the China phenomenon to the massive spread of Christianity in the Roman Empire as an example of one reason. That reason is that in China as it was in Rome, the Christians were and are an energetic community that are visibly involved in the helping of the poor, the sick, the hungry, the castaways. He cites for instance the very visible Christian presence of helping the victims of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake.

The question that the article raises "Can Christianity Save China" is based on the problems created by the Chinese Communist government. The Cultural Revolution launched by Mao literally wiped out the cultural history of China and their ancient religious traditions and left a young generation with no faith in anything but the State and then the State was not able to deliver a sustainable life for the people and with the elimination of religion, there was no faith also in the future and so a cultural despair took over the nation.

The additional problems that the Chinese government created was with the consequences of their "one child" policy to stop and reverse the population growth of China. It stopped the population growth but they are now faced with a rapidly aging population and not enough young people to both care for aging parents (one couple of man and wife needing to care for 4 aged parents since the state has no national welfare system) and also to be the workers of industry and commerce and still raise the next generation.  The other interesting problem was the spoiled brat "little emperor" one child, two parents and four grandparents phenomenon. The younger generation grew up very self-entitled and divorced from old Chinese traditions.

The economic and sociological problems created by the Chinese government policies cannot be solved by more government policies. That is the issue. Who will save China?  The conundrum facing the Chinese government is that the only community of people out there willing to donate time and energy and love and care for all those such as the elderly, the sick, the despairing are the Christians. It is now recognized that it is only the Christian community of China that can solve the human problems being created by government economic policies.  Because there is no other religious or social community in China after the devastation of the Cultural Revolution left to do the unpaid work that government bureaucrats cannot and will not do.

This happened in the Roman Empire, it is happening in the Chinese empire, it is inevitably going to happen all over the world....get ready for it!

The sociological and economic dynamics make this inevitable. Again I am not arguing on the basis of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit or the power of the gospel to change lives or on my particular view of eschatology.

I am arguing what the author of the article argued. It is not unexpected that China will become a Christian nation for the same reason that the Roman Empire converted from paganism to Christianity for the same reason that the vicious Vikings or the barbarian hordes invading Rome, they all eventually turned to Christianity. Why?

Again, let me make a sociological argument, not a spiritual argument:

- The old belief systems that previously hold a society together get eroded and broken down with spread of wealth and power.
- The elite get disconnected from the underclass whose needs are ignored and are oppressed.
- The old gods or the old belief system is inadequate for the new times and prove themselves to be impotent to solve the problems of the new age or the new emerging way of life.
- people are left emotionally and spiritually bereft of faith and hope.

And in the midst of this steps a new faith, a new religion a new way of life:
- A group of people who will die for their faith
- A people full of joy and love for their neighbours
- A people reaching out to the poor, the marginalized, the oppressed and they actually live and preach the value of each precious soul in the eyes of God, the unique value of each human being.
- But most of all they talk about and practice love. The love of a heavenly Father who loves His children, the love of the family of God for each other, the feeling of worth and belonging by being part of this universal family of God.
- And then of course the core of the good news: You are forgiven of all your sins by God who paid your penalty, you have eternal life, you have a place in heaven, you have hope for the future, you are not alone, you are loved.

Can you see the point?

The social dynamic that is happening in China, that happened in ancient Rome is happening all over the world.

It does not matter under which political system or what economic system you can name anywhere in the world the same cultural, economic, sociological and spiritual dynamic is now at work:

- The elite in control of the various wealth and power structures have long since abandoned the needs of the underclass.  The gap between the rich and the poor is visibly growing.
- People have lost faith in the old gods. The cultural cohesion of the world is falling apart. The ordinary people are left alone, uncared for, scared for the future.
- The faith in the promise of politics as a means of addressing problems of ordinary people is dwindling fast. remember Obama and his election mantra, "Change you can believe in". Do you think anybody believes in that change?  How many people still believe in the promises of communism, socialism, democracy?
- How many people still believe in the promises of free market capitalism? How many believe that if we just drop all tariffs and protectionism "free trade" will make us richer?  Tell that to the multitude of factory workers who used to be able to support a family with good paying jobs but are now flipping burgers somewhere as cheap foreign goods flood the domestic markets.

The faith systems of the world are being eroded. Faith in your political party. Faith in your government. Faith in your future. Faith in your finances, your pension or the lack thereof. Faith in your social community will be there for you in time of need.

Look around the world:

- Do you think the rioting people in Venezuela looting empty shops still have faith in the socialism of Hugo Chavez?
- Do you think the ordinary Catholic family feels safe leaving their young children alone with the parish priest?
- Do you think ordinary Muslim families who want education for their children, a vibrant economy, the right to travel, women to drive cars, kids who want to wear what they want, ....do you think that they are not seriously questioning the future of their faith? That the most "religious" of their faith see it as their duty to bomb fellow believers, kill, destroy, all in the name of Allah? Do you not think there is a serious crises now in the lives of ordinary Muslim believers as their nations fall apart, their societies destroyed by fanatics, their future destroyed and everyone wanting to flee to the "decadent West"?
- Do you think the ordinary western citizen and worker seeing his national cultural heritage whether American or European disappearing in a flood of immigrants who do not speak his language, or share his history or his culture take away his job and burden his nation with extra welfare spending and strange cultural practices, do you think he still believes in a future that is better for his children?

And you can repeat this all over the world. And you can intensify these pressures when the European Union finally collapses, because Brexit is just the start.

Ad you can intensify the economic carnage when the Euro finally collapses when Italy pulls out and reverts back to the Lira because there is no way they can recapitalize their insolvent banking system and they will be joined in quick order by Greece, Spain and Portugal....and there goes the world financial system and with it the last faith of the common man that the clever folks in banking and finance actually know that they are doing and you can trust your money to the experts.

And so the question that I now pose is not just:
"Can Christianity Save China?" - to which by the way the author of the article thought yes it can.  But now the more serious questions are:
" Can Christianity save a dying Arab world bereft of national and economic future and bereft of a faith that is becoming more despised around the world?"
" Can Christianity save a dying West of aging populations, crumbling currency, no religious faith and no political or economic solutions?"
"Can Christianity save a corrupt Africa beset by paganism, animism, endemic political dysfunction, warring tribes, ethnic hatreds?"

Can Christianity Save the World?

Yes we can! and Yes we will!

But it can only start with getting out of our theological dead end excuses for inaction such as:
- actually no we cannot because only a few are elected for salvation...or
- actually no we cannot because it is not the time, this will only happen one day in the Millennium...or
- actually no we cannot because it is not the job of the Church since the devil is going to take over the world and we get raptured out to save us from persecution.

Try telling that theological nonsense to a Chinese Church busy winning their nation for Christ in the face of government persecution!

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