Two Asian Giants
AND THE GOSPEL OF GRACE
Bible students are aware of the allusions to the "Kings of the East" in the prophetic scenario. Revelation 16:12 declares,
"And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared."
Isaiah also seems to refer to the same:
"Behold, these shall come from far: and, lo, these from the north and from the west; and these from the land of Sinim" (Isa. 49:12).1
Henry Luce dubbed the 20th century as the "American Century." Many are
recognizing that the 21st century will be the "Asian Century." And there are two emerging giants
in Asia--China and India.
China's achievements are nothing less than spectacular. In just one generation they have tripled their per captia income and lifted over 300 million people out of poverty! China's passenger car market surpassed the three million mark this year (3rd in the world). It now has the world's largest base of cellular phone subscribers: 350 million. They are expected to reach 600 million by 2009! China has excelled in mass manufacturing, with multi-billion dollar electronics and heavy industry plants. She is truly an "awakening giant" on the stage of the world's economy.
Once content with isolationism, China is now asserting itself as a global, fully communist nuclear superpower. With its eye on reclaiming Taiwan, and strategic alliances with Russia and North Korea, China cannot be ignored.
But there is another-often-overlooked-giant rising in the east: India. With the second fastest growing major economy in the world over the past 15 years, in recent years it trails only China and the U.S. in its contribution to gross domestic product growth. In fact, last year India for the first time passed China in economic growth!
While China has focused on manufacturing, India is emerging as a giant in services. Few realize the remarkable emergence of India in the global technological culture, which it is predicted to dominate the next few decades. India's Bangalore Research Hub is spawning companies that produce more and more of the world's most advanced chip designs, software and pharmaceuticals. Daniel Sheinman, Cisco System's senior vice-president for corporate development, says, "We came to India for the costs, we stayed for the quality and we're now investing for the innovations."
These two emerging giants will transform the entire global economy. Together they account for one-third of the world's population and are projected to continue growing at an annual rate of 7-8% for at least the next decade. While there are real challenges facing both nations that could prove serious sources of instability, barring any cataclysms, within three decades India is on tract to pass Germany as the world's third largest economy. By mid century, China should over take the U.S. as number one. Together they will account for almost half of the total global output!
FACING THE FUTURE
Communist China has replaced the Soviet Union in our lexicon of villains, but the truth is less frightening than some imagine. India, not China, could prove to be the real coming giant of the 21st century. And India-unlike China-has no history of imperialism or inclination to global domination.
The key to China's potential failure and India's growing success is, as mentioned above, Beijing's dependence on manufacturing exports for its wealth and New Delhi's focus on its service sector. As the global economy continues to absorb and apply technological advances, manufacturing will go the way of farming-a very small percentage of the global workforce will produce all our products, just as it now grows the bulk of our food. Thus the source of China's economic growth will likely wither in coming decades. Add to this the huge state sector that weights down the Chinese economy, the lack of English fluency and the communist aversion to permitting the free flow of information and China's long-term future is more of a question mark.
On the other hand, India assured its future power by switching away from the socialist economic model in the early '90's and has moved closer to a free-market system each year since. With western institutions, a modern stock market, private banks and corporations, along with its English fluency, India is in a position to tap into the growth of western economies and provide low-cost, high-quality services, particularly to the high-tech market. Just try calling any computer help line and listen to the accent on the other end of the phone!
And India will likely make a great global partner for the United States. In recent surveys, Indians expressed warm feelings for the U.S. and gave us a positive rating-something relatively unique in today's world!
One more point: India's younger work force (nearly 500 million people under the age 19) and higher fertility rate (due largely to China's one-child policy) puts her on tract by mid-century to have 1.6 billion people, 220 million more workers than China, whose aging work force is expected to peak at 1 billion in 2015 and then shrink steadily.
In considering the growth projections for Asia, it is also sobering to reconsider the rather optimistic projections for the U.S. Most of the U.S. projections ignore such factors as the killing of one out of every four babies who otherwise would have entered the workforce. Also the commitment to education in both China and India (as well as the rest of Asia) dramatically overshadows the development of young professionals being produced in the U.S.-not to mention an educated, skilled workforce.
We need to be like the "sons of Issachar," who understood the time and knew what their nation had to do (I Chron. 12:32). Turbulent times are advancing our way and traditional assumptions will prove hazardous.2
AN OPEN DOOR
My attention has been drawn to these two global giants for a different reason, however.
As China and India emerge to take center stage in the 21st century, there is also a truly remarkable expansion
of the grace message in these two countries.
For some years now, Dan Gross, director of Rejoicing In Grace Ministries International, has been spearheading an expanding outreach into India. Beginning with only a tenuous foothold in the late 1990's, there has developed a significant grace movement in four southern Indian States. Each area now has its own Indian coordinator who oversees the proclamation of the grace message in his State. An orphanage has also been established in Tamil Nadu. We have had the opportunity to personally become acquainted with some of these brethren and can testify to both their grasp of mid-Acts dispensationalism as well as the grace-life.
And now in China a remarkable door has opened. For many decades before the communists took over, China Inland Mission spread the gospel throughout the regions of this vast nation. While the western missionaries could be expelled by the Chi-comms, it wasn't possible to destroy the true Church. Although largely "unseen" for decades, the Body of Christ has remained alive and well in China. And now a truly amazing opportunity has come our way.
From time to time something so touching happens that it almost makes us "drunk with joy," to quote a letter you'll find below. This is something our readers should know-and rejoice-about.
Churchill is supposed to have said something to the effect that he had always profited from criticism-of which he found himself to never be in short supply. While we too seem to have an unusually abundant supply of the same, it only takes one report like the following to turn the sky above a bright, beautiful blue.
GSB TO CHINA
A friend who has ministered for some time in communist China enrolled in Grace School of
the Bible while back in the U.S. for an extended period. We were happy to have him study with us and as he made
preparations to return to China, he inquired about the possibility of taking the classes back with him. It was
his interest, in fact, that spurred to completion our effort to put the classes into DVD format.
In China he has contacts with "underground church" leaders. These are independent pastors who refuse to be part of the government's "official" (and thus controlled) church organization. These believers undergo unbelievable pressure and sacrifices to have a testimony for their Savior. They also evidence a tremendous hunger for and acceptance of the Word rightly divided.
After an extended teaching session to a group of English speaking pastors, he emailed a note saying, "These 26 pastors will teach the remainder of our pastors (just over 3,100 strong) this, and all the other studies I have planned for them. Keep me in your prayers (this schedule of teaching five to eight times a day is beginning to look like work!). But I love every minute of it. What a privilege is mine to be involved in this work of our Lord Jesus Christ. To hear these saints testify just how precious Christ is to them and how they are filled with praise to have been delivered from Atheism (comms, ya know), Buddhism and a dozen other isims, fills my heart with joy."
One of the leading pastors goes by the name of Paul. He has been imprisoned twice for preaching the gospel. Here is an e-mail received November 1:
"Greetings Brother Rick,
"I am all but drunk with joy. Things have happened here in our midst that were not the result of any committee meeting or organizational mandate from some 'board.' Paul, our dear brother, went far and wide (several years ago) preaching the dispensational recognition of the distinct ministry of the Apostle Paul and many of the ramifications that can be drawn from that single truth. Then after I was back home (in the U.S.), I heard he was dead. The truth is that he was arrested and has been in prison (again) for another three years. His misdeed? For daring to be guilty of 'preaching the unsearchable riches of Christ.' Guess who turned him in? Not the communist Part. Nothing like that. It was an Anglican minister who threatened Paul's flock near Shanghi, that Paul, not practicing water baptism was therefore not a Christian. Because of that turncoat 'professional slime' (pardon my flesh), our dear brother spent three years in jail because of the persecution heaved on him through Organized Religion. I know you have stories that could cause ones blood to run cold, but this is the most severe payment I have personally known of in a believer I know. In spite of all this, he remains so full of faith and joyful. He is real blessing to all who are around him.
"Now, to the reason for this letter: Thank you from my heart for the GSB disks. Such simple words are not adequate to express my thanks, but I guess 'thank you' wil have to suffice for the treasure of your teaching and making it available to the Chinese people.
"All my books I brought into the country were confiscated and not returned to me. But the package containing all your lessons were not touched or inspected. Don't worry, I will not build a 'doctrine' on that (!) but am thankful they made it here without incident.
"But then I was in a dilemma: who would I find who could preach those message in Mandarin? Paul did not occur to me since for all I knew he was dead. To make a long story short, we have been reunited these past two days (and his wife, who was antagonistic before, now embraces grace like a soldier of Jesus Christ). Paul has greatly improved in his English skills (he is about up with you on intelligence) and is a fast learner. But he needs help (English help).
"Our goal is for three English speakers to view the lessons, take notes, and then for two of those English speakers (who also are native Chinese) to teach Paul. I am the third who will also review each lesson and train the other tow workers. We pray we will have the 'spirit' and attitude you have conveyed in your lessons-and not just the bare facts.
"What this means is that they will be hearing a lot from Richard Jordan here in China and that the work of Richard Jordan is being translated into a language that will reach millions. We plan to design a label for the disks, which will say, 'Please reproduce and send to others.' This is our heart and hope. May God be pleased to bless this burden of our hearts."
A few days later we received this message via a mutual friend:
"Tell Richard he will soon be preaching all over China through Paul as he translates the DVD's into Mandarin and they send them out, one by one to the underground house churches."
It isn't, of course, "Richard" that is being preached. It is in fact "the preaching of Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery" that is being proclaimed. We have the high honor and grand privilege of carrying the message-but in truth we are only messenger boys and have nor real significance beyond that (I Cor. 3:7-9).
Let me share just one more email that came on the heels of the above:
"Last night, for three glorious hours I had a memorable visit with Paul and his wife. I am happy to report that the strain on their marriage is gone. During this last imprisonment, Paul hammered away to her about the grace message, about the fact that Paul did indeed preach a different gospel than the 12 apostles. She had strong Anglican leanings, which explains much of her animosity toward the dispensational message. What I witnessed last night (and will continue to do so over the next several days I am sure) is a true unity of hearts and minds. She is excited over all the confusion that has been lifted and is rejoicing in the message with its power to clarify all the seeming 'contradictions' of the New Testament.
"That may seem rather unimportant to some, but it is a key component to the plans we have laid out before us. We all agreed that God's timing was in all of this: for me to be here and at the same time Paul was released from prison, this time without a beating as an exit present. He must cease and desist from preaching in publish (or even private) meetings or the next time (?) he is arrested for doing so , he will go to prison for life. I have convinced him that he now has an open door before him to reach out with the gospel in a different medium.
"First, Paul needs to study and we need to teach him the content of each class. Paul wants to do this all day every day. That is noble but a little unrealistic. In all this trial Paul remains joyful and enthusiastic over the work of the Gospel. I have know no other saint of God who has endured so much persecution and been as mistreated as Paul, yet he is an embodiment of the Book of Philippians-joyful in all his trials. He hugged me when we parted and said, 'You have encouraged my heart. You will never know how much.'
"Paul's entire life, from his conversion at eight years old (by the way, in the very church that J. Hudson Taylor founded many years ago) has been a preparation for this might task before hi. I pray that our fellow believers reading this will help make it possible to capture these great truth in these DVD's so graciously donated by Grace School of the Bible which we want to translate into Mandarin for members of the Body of Christ here and enable them to be faithful witnesses to the message of Christ given to us for today."
Space doesn't permit printing all the emails, but these give you the general idea. This one brother, widely known, loved and respected for his faithfulness and sacrifices, now is studying and translating into Mandarin a program of godly edification and establishment that will produce "perfected saints" who will be enabled to "do the work of the ministry" in a land hungry for the light of God's grace.
We understand that we will have to await the Judgment Seat of Christ to fully learn the fruit of these endeavors. The political situation these brethren operate under is fiercely oppressive. Giants like Google, Yahoo and Microsoft have been forced to submit to draconian restrictions in order to do business with the Chi-comms. Thus even what Internet is available is very regulated. E-mail alone is a cat-and-mouse game. Yet these brethren are undaunted. How they humble us!!
You can help: first, pray for these brethren (II Cor. 1:11). It was for just this type of thing Paul so often requested prayer (Eph. 6:19, II Thess. 3:1, etc.). You can also give financially to help provide the support, equipment (computers, DVD camera, duplicators, disks, etc.) and supplies necessary to see this to completion. If you would like to help, mark your gifts "China" and we will se that they are invested wisely there.
One last word: As we conclude the year, we have before us several opportunities like the above to expand our outreach in significant ways. Our only real hindrance is funding. We have never had large financial backers or big reserves to call on. Rather this ministry has been sustained all along by the faithful giving of Christian friends-folks who have been gripped by the message of grace we preach and who want to get that wonderful news out to others. May I be so bold as to encourage you to consider a monthly gift to help us?
So, I simply leave this information at your feet with the confidence that God will be magnified in this grand and magnificent work of placing the message of His love and grace into hungry hearts. In all this, may Jesus Christ, our great God and Savior, be praised!