The Religions of China and the Power of Jesus
|By: Dr. John G. Weldon; ©2013|
|In the most essential areas of life, truth included, the religions of China are compared with the person of Jesus.|
- 1 The Religions of China and the Power of Jesus
- 1.1 Introduction: Religion in China
- 1.2 Confucius and Truth – an Unexpected Dilemma?
- 1.3 The Uncompromising Nature of Truth as the Arbiter of Error
- 1.4 A Word of Caution: Truth Can Turn the World Upside Down
- 1.5 The Person and Power of Jesus and Why It Matters
- 1.6 The Real Truth
- 1.7 The Religions of China and the Power of Jesus: 6 Comparisons
- 1.8 Conclusion: Personally Experiencing Jesus: Finding the One Love, Happiness and Virtue That Lasts Forever
- 1.9 Helpful Resources
- 1.10 Organizations:
- 1.11 Books and Articles:
The Religions of China and the Power of Jesus
Note to the Reader: This material has been kept relatively short; for further information per one’s interests, please refer to the end notes.
“Christianity is a statement which, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The one thing it cannot be is moderately important.” – CS Lewis
“Put faithfulness and truth first…”; “The object of the superior man is truth. The superior man is anxious lest he should not get truth…” – Confucius
Introduction: Religion in China
The roughly 1.5 billion Chinese people today live as part of a great historical civilization. Currently, China is perhaps in the process of reaching its apex as a global power, a civilization with the potential to change the future of the world. Few, it would seem, can afford to ignore China.
But even with all that China has become, most Chinese people, perhaps like most people elsewhere, have not found the true and lasting happiness and the personal peace and security they desire. Often it seems just the opposite, whatever their faith may be.
The great bulk of religious belief in China is comprised of relatively few religions. These are the religions of: 1) Confucianism; 2) ancestor veneration/worship; 3) Buddhism; 4) Daoism; 5) Christianity; 6) folk religion and animism; 7) Secular Humanism, and 8) Islam.
It is at this point we encounter a quandary worthy of the wisdom of Confucius.
Confucius and Truth – an Unexpected Dilemma?
While ancestor veneration/worship is possibly the single dominant religion in China, it is Confucianism which has the most dominant cultural influence. This personal faith involves an ethical, civil and often religious approach to life that is concerned with the welfare of society and with cultivating wisdom and human moral behavior, i.e., true virtue.
To illustrate, Confucius spoke about the importance of wisdom and learning, of exercising care in learning the truth, and of finding truth and placing it first in one’s life. He spoke highly of contemplating the good and pursuing it; of being steadfast in shrinking from evil.
But clearly, such noble ideals of seeking genuine wisdom and truth and of avoiding evil must be carefully defined and then recognized as absolutes. In other words, they must be considered ideals that are true for everyone – everywhere and always. If these standards are simply relative concepts whose meaning is subjectively determined by, for example, anyone’s whim or bias, then they become meaningless terms having no authentic or lasting value.
If we can anticipate from Confucius’ teachings that he would counsel the genuinely virtuous person (the Confucian ideal) to learn truth prudently, with humility and attention to detail, in good judgment and with wisdom – then it follows that this is something that we must do if we would be truly virtuous: we must seek and find the truth.
Surprisingly however, if we take Confucius’ admonitions about learning the truth and placing it first in our life, this unexpectedly leads us to a predicament. Still, this is a difficulty that must be resolved simply because the truth is such a vital subject. Failing to have the truth means living in error and that’s not exactly wise counsel. The good news is that by resolving this dilemma we may indeed find perfect virtue. As Confucius emphasized, “The man of virtue makes the difficulty to be overcome his first business, and success only a subsequent consideration; – this may be called perfect virtue.”
Following Confucius’ sage advice, how do we humbly and with wisdom learn the truth? Put another way, how do we learn absolute truth? How do we transcend the wisdom to be found in the routine and practical matters of this earthly life? How do we learn the truth where it matters the most, discovering real answers to the great questions of life which everyone is unavoidably curious about? What about finding the true purpose of life, or how to secure enduring peace and happiness, or knowing what happens when we die, or the nature of ultimate reality? This is where, if we honor Confucius admonition to place truth first in our lives, that we discover a dilemma.
The Uncompromising Nature of Truth as the Arbiter of Error
Although relatively few in number, the religions of China have been so mixed and blended historically, almost to no end, that this has led to almost no end of conflicting scriptures, deities, beliefs and practices – that is, to no end of religions themselves.
Because of this conflicting, even dizzying array of gods, scriptures, beliefs and religious practices in China (not to mention outside of China), discovering which religion (if any) might be fully true in an absolute sense – and therefore able to answer the great questions of life with authority – brings with it a challenging obligation. As the famous physicist Albert Einstein once asked, “What is the meaning of human life?… To answer this question at all implies a religion.” In fact, it demands a religion.
Obviously, only a religion that is fully true and divinely revealed would be able to answer the most difficult questions of life because, in the end, only Heaven or God himself could provide absolutely truthful answers to such issues.
In other words, this hypothetical religion would need to be personally revealed by God himself. In addition, this revelation would need to answer life’s most impenetrable questions, questions every one of us is curious about.
As a result, the real question for the Chinese people is the also the ultimate question for each of us, everyone in the world: Individually or collectively, are ultimately opposite religions truly able to provide authoritative answers to the most important questions in life, and upon what logical basis?
Despite having some degree of truth, are all religions ultimately false – or is possible that just one religion is fully true? Should we be willing to accept a stalemate and hesitantly or skeptically conclude there is no truth –no answers to life’s vital issues – or might we assume the challenging task of determining whether or not one religion exists that really is fully true, i.e., that one genuine divine revelation does exist after all? If there is one true God it would seem to make sense there is one true religion.
Thus, if we are to take the concepts of absolute truth and wisdom seriously, there doesn’t appear to be any other option: when all religions conflict, all might be false – but if one is true, only one can be true. Of course, finding the truth here, even if it takes some effort, could also be incredibly exciting, not to mention highly rewarding. One assumes that few things in life would be more satisfying than knowing the truth.
Naturally, what the Chinese people want most in life is what everyone else desires – happiness and joy; a sense of personal peace which has the power to overcome negative circumstances; a virtuous life; knowing and experiencing freedom, wisdom and truth; genuine purpose and meaning in life; to be loved deeply and unconditionally.
Last but not least, assuming it were possible, the ultimate wonder and delight would be to discover an infinitely perfect God of love and joy, truth and goodness, beauty and wonder, a God who never changes, an astonishing Being who loves us dearly, more than we could possibly imagine – that would seem to be the greatest treasure in the universe. After all, is there any subject more important than God? Whether we know it or not, what we think about God dramatically colors what we think about everything else, whether for good or ill. And today, in the modern era, the scientific, philosophical and historical evidence for the existence of God has never been stronger or more decisive, although it seems it’s never been less than persuasive, explaining why the vast majority of people throughout history and today have always believed that God exists.
The really good news for everyone is that all of these good things can be personally known and experienced – but, again, can they logically and ultimately be found in the religions of China? As noted, the most common feature of the religions in China (or around the world) is the fact that, in their most important teachings, every religion is unavoidably opposed to every other religion. Given a religious world of contradictory religions, actually finding an answer to our question would require some critical thinking and the application of objective principles to religious truth claims.
As Confucius said, “To know what you know and know what you do not know—this then is wisdom.”
A Word of Caution: Truth Can Turn the World Upside Down
Historical facts and common sense suggest we should never assume that ignoring the truth might be without consequence. Discarding the truth is hardly in anyone’s best interests. For all we know, depending upon the nature of the truth rejected, there might even be consequences that never end.
Nor is it necessarily wise for us to assume that our understanding of things is always the correct one. After all, in the last six centuries alone there have been multiple times when most people in the world discovered that they were completely wrong – even when it came to the most basic thing of all: our view of reality itself.
The whole world believed one thing about reality and then discovered that what they had absolutely believed was absolutely true – turned out to be absolutely false. And it wasn’t always an easy adjustment, sometimes taking centuries to recover.
If the entire world has been wrong about the nature of reality multiple times, then it stands to reason that we should heed Confucius words and judge matters in our own life and perception with caution and humility. And hopefully, also judge them impartiality – especially given personally vital issues, issues which are by definition spiritual.
Perhaps what must be guarded against more than anything is the natural tendency to hold on to what we already wish to believe, whether or not it is good for us, or even whether or not it is true. Clearly, everyone in the world can’t all be right about what they believe. Confucius would certainly oppose this kind of assumption: “What is meant by ‘making the thoughts sincere’ is the allowing of no self-deception….” Surely, finding the truth, and that which is ultimately good for us could be the most valuable discovery of all.
The Person and Power of Jesus and Why It Matters
It’s a fact that is inescapable. In all of human history there is no one like Jesus, nor can there be. As we will see, His uniqueness is beyond compare because He is absolutely original and without exception.
Jesus is easily documented as the greatest figure of human history – the most famous, the most wise, the most influential and the most powerful. The truth of this is something anyone can prove for themselves simply by reading the brief but historically authenticated biography of Jesus’ ministry in the gospel of John elsewhere on this website.
To be uninformed about such an individual as Jesus is simply to be unaware about the most important thing in life.
Thus, if we compare the religions of China and the person of Jesus, what do we discover? We find that the contrasts are both sharp and compelling. They are differences that will hopefully be carefully evaluated by everyone who desires wisdom and is seeking enduring truth.
Here’s why this subject is so important. Becoming committed to the truth is never something wrong or unwise, even if the truth may be unexpected or difficult – to the contrary, it’s always something good and beneficial. To reiterate a fact that should not be missed: all conflicting religions might, in the end, be false, but if one is true, given what we have as to religions on this planet, only one can be true. And with a PhD in comparative religion, I can say that with at least some degree of credibility.
I will be the first to admit that, if one of the religions of China were fully true, then I would be a devoted follower of Confucianism, Buddhism, Taoism, Marxism or materialism, folk religion, ancestor worship, Islam or any other religion besides biblical Christianity. If another religion that conflicted with biblical Christianity were fully true, then biblical Christianity must constitute a spiritual counterfeit – and why would anyone belong to a religion they knew was false?
Say that a particular religion we happen to follow is not true in an absolute sense because it lacks the necessary confirming evidence. What would be the point of accepting its teachings when they are only relative and therefore incapable of being fully true? What sense would it make, and what good would it do for us personally, or our families, to devote our lives to beliefs that were ultimately wrong – especially if such beliefs had unexpected or long-term consequences? To illustrate, everyone remembers the Cultural Revolution.
Here’s an interesting fact that many Chinese might be interested to learn. Aspects of their original culture and language already reflect Christian beliefs. In addition, in most ways Jesus truly embodies the Confucian ideal of the perfect virtuous gentleman – so perhaps even for Chinese who have never considered Jesus, our discussion will be worth pursuing.
The Real Truth
If this section happens to be difficult for some readers, it’s not that I’m attempting to be difficult. But isn’t it obvious that the truth serves a critical function by its very nature for each of us – that, in the end, by its very character, it separates what is true from what is not true, i.e., from what is false? If it doesn’t, how can it be the truth? The truth must be absolute to serve this function. If the truth isn’t absolute, then no truth is possible – anywhere. In other words, truth is either objective, absolute and universal or it’s nothing. There is either truth or no truth. And if none of us wishes to be wrong about the most important things in life, we have no other option than to find the truth.
So, here’s the truth: Jesus is the truth and biblical Christianity alone is evidentially established as being fully true and the only divine revelation from God.
This may not be a popular statement in a politically correct world where the very definition of tolerance has been distorted to mean that everyone’s belief has equal validity, no matter how contrary those beliefs might be. But accepting entirely opposing beliefs as equally valid and true is logically impossible. As a former hard-hearted skeptic of Christianity, I used to think that way simply because I wanted to. I never looked at the other side of things. Today, I have been a long time defender of Christian truth claims because I examined the evidence objectively. I have studied the Bible for four decades, along with Christianity’s critics, dozens of competing religions and many opposing philosophies and worldviews. As it has for 2,000 years, biblical Christianity withstands critical scrutiny at every level for only one reason: whatever we might think now, it really is the truth, and the evidence proves it.
Obviously, whatever contradicts the truth can’t be true by definition. That’s why, in the words of one of the world’s leading intellectuals, Dr. John Warwick Montgomery, holding 11 earned degrees, including three doctorates: “The evidence for the truth of Christianity overwhelmingly outweighs competing religious claims and secular world views.” Further, “secular metaphysical systems and virtually all non-Christian religions do in fact entirely lack testability; Christian faith alone offers the solid, empirical, historical evidence of its truth….”
Put another way, noted theologian and philosopher Dr. John M. Frame points out, “The logical probability of the truth of Christianity relative to its evidence is ‘1’ or absolute certainty.”
Actually, the uniquely superior nature of the evidence for Christianity alone being fully true is parallel to that utilized in performing good quality scientific research. Thus, facing competing theories for explaining a given observation, one has to determine which one among the competitors has the greatest degree of predictive ability, the most internal consistency, the largest degree of correspondence to the data of empirical observation, best fits all known facts of the world, etc.
The simple truth is that objective evidence from many disciplines demonstrates the absolute truth of biblical Christianity (see endnotes 24 and 26).
1) History – e.g., the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ is established as a fact of history by the canons of objective historical inquiry, confirming his true nature as God incarnate;
2) Prophecy – scores of specific biblical prophecies given 400-1500 years in advance have been accurately fulfilled, establishing the Bible alone as divinely inspired. Remarkably, the Bible was 23% prophetic when first written. Although for various reasons not all prophecies are equally clear on the surface, anyone who wishes can examine the unambiguous prophecies for themselves.
3) Prevision – scientific and medical prevision in the Bible hundreds and hundreds of years ahead of its time further confirm its divine origin;
4) Archaeology – this modern science has repeatedly confirmed the historical and geographical accuracy of the biblical text, down to the smallest details (to the extent of currently known information);
5) Manuscript evidence – the enormous number of extant manuscripts (in the New Testament, about 1,000 times greater than for other ancient literature), plus the science of textual criticism demonstrates that the biblical text, as first written, is virtually 99.5% original, while careful textual study also demonstrates it is virtually inerrant as well (i.e., without error);
6) Comparative religion – researched impartially, this establishes the exceptional nature and the uniqueness of the biblical God, Jesus, salvation and general Christian worldview;
7) Philosophy and logic – in particular ways, such as the law of non-contradiction and discerning logical fallacies in arguments, these help to demonstrate the superiority, truth and accuracy of the Christian worldview;
8) Mathematics – probability theory (in light of the above evidence) proves that the biblical teaching on divine creation is by far the most logical option as to the origin of the universe and mankind; it also demonstrates that hundreds of biblical prophecies could only come from the one true God and that these unparalleled biblical prophecies must have a divine origin;
9) Science and medicine provide their own special contributions in various ways, as in the modern Intelligent Design movement which utilizes e.g., the findings of modern physics, astronomy and biochemistry;
10) Jurisprudence and its expertise in carefully and critically sifting evidence helps reveal the weight of the case for historical events relative to Christian truth claims, such as Christ’s physical resurrection from the dead (e.g., proving the trustworthiness of the gospel eyewitnesses), or the reliability of the biblical text.
These and other disciplines coalesce to demonstrate that biblical Christianity alone is fully true and that logically, therefore, opposing religions cannot be fully true in the nature of the case.
The Religions of China and the Power of Jesus: 6 Comparisons
Now we are ready to compare the religions of China and the remarkable person of Jesus.
1) Finding Truth
Remember, this is what Confucius said should be placed first in our life. Only Jesus has the power to give us absolute truth because, being God incarnate, only he speaks with absolute authority.
Other religions have some truth; Jesus is the truth. As Jesus said, “I am the truth” (John 14:6) and “For this reason I was born, and for this reason I came into the world – to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” (John 18:37). If we are looking for the truth, then by definition we are looking for Jesus. In him “are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col. 2:13).
As God incarnate, Jesus is an infallible authority by definition. Only he is able to authoritatively answer the most important and fundamental questions in life which none of us can avoid: Who am I? Why am I here? What is the purpose of my life? How can I know absolute truth and be certain that is true? Who is God and what does he require from me? What happens after death and how can I know it? What is the true nature of salvation? And so on.
Neither Buddha, Laotsu, Confucius, Marx, Mao, Muhammad, the individual spirits (who have revealed seemingly endless variety of contrary religions in China), nor the founder or prophet of any other religion can give us the full truth. Why? Because they have never been trustworthy and compelling authorities on the most important subject of revealed religion – i.e., on the critical subjects of God, man, purpose in life, ultimate reality, life after death, salvation, finding true joy and happiness, etc. Given their differing worldviews, they may have done the best they can, but none of them have gone so far as to reveal absolute truth on these vital issues. Because Jesus is God, only he has the power to be an absolute authority on everything – and only he proved the truth of his claims by providing overwhelming evidence.
2) Resolving Sin and Death
Only Jesus has the power to once and for all solve the universal human problems of sin and death.
Jesus alone forever solved the two most critical problems every person must face every day, whether in China or throughout the world. Sin and death are solemn realities which none of us can escape, no matter what we do or how hard we try. Sin is with us day in and day out and death is always, potentially, just around the corner: sooner or later it finds everyone. Jesus alone died for our sins on the cross of Calvary so that through trusting him alone, our sins are eternally forgiven and we are graciously given the free gift of eternal life – once and for all solving the problems of sin and death. That’s why Jesus emphasized, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying” (John 11:25). In contrast, neither Confucius, Buddha, Laotsu, Muhammad, the spirits, Marx or Mao, deceased ancestors or anyone else ever claimed and offered proof that they had not only atoned for the sins of the whole world but conquered death for us as well. Jesus not only claimed this, he then proved it by physically rising from the dead – just as he predicted he would on a dozen separate occasions.
Only Jesus has the power to give us the true gift of unending love, joy and glory in an eternal Heaven that is beyond imagining, yes, beyond our wildest dreams. “And this is the way to have eternal life – to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth” (John 17:3). “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Cor. 2:9). “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” (Rom. 8:32).
Other religions in China either stress this life alone, ignoring the next life, or are unable to tell us the truth about life after death, supplying either conflicting information, insufficient information or unreliable information.
Whatever other religions might offer us in this life, only Jesus can give us the one true way to God, Heaven and eternal life (John 3:16; 14:6; 17: 2-3). Among all the religions in China or around the world, only Jesus offers us eternal salvation in a perfect Heaven itself, as in entirely free gift given solely by God’s grace, – his merciful love and kindness alone – simply through our faith or trust in Jesus alone (Please see: John 3:16; 5:24; 6:47; 1 John 5:13).
4) Abundant Life
Only Jesus has the power to give us a full and satisfying life here and now, despite our circumstances, a life of peace and joy, true meaning and purpose; – a life that never finally disappoints us and that we discover we would never exchange for anything in the world. Only Jesus can give us what we most desire and also help us practically through our most profound personal problems. Jesus alone has the power to bring us the lasting happiness, peace and joy we have always wanted, plus everything else that is good in life, both now and forever.
“I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid” (John 14:27).
“I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!” (John 15:11).
For everyone who trust him, “My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life” (John 10:10).
Only Jesus has the power to bring us to a perfect God who loves us infinitely and unconditionally because “God is love” (1 John 4:8, 16).
“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
“But God demonstrated his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners” (Rom. 5:8).
“I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love” (John 15:9).
Only Jesus can bring us to God as our loving, merciful and heavenly Father. Jesus’ Father was unique. Only one religion on earth has an eternally unchanging God of infinite: love, grace, mercy, wonder, justice, holiness, joy and truth. Besides the atonement, God’s sacrificial love for us is also seen in his condescension (incarnation) and in his grace wherein salvation is given to us as an absolutely free gift is bestowed forever in a moment of time through faith in Jesus alone. Regrettably, these themes are absent from the essential nature of the gods of the religions of China (or elsewhere). God’s astonishing self-sacrificial love demonstrated through Jesus atonement for our sin at the cross of Calvary creates not only eternal life in the believer but eternal value for the believer as well, something true of no other religion. Only God creates us in his very own image, redeems us freely by faith in His Son, and will love us forever.
6) Spiritual and Personal Freedom
Only Jesus has the power to give us personal spiritual freedom, including freedom from fear.
Only Jesus can deliver us from our fears – the fear of the unknown, the fear of pain, the fear of sin and its consequences, the fear of loneliness, the fear of disappointment or misery, the fear of ridicule or rejection, the fear of never being good enough, the fear of the future, the fear of death, and last but not least, the fear of the spirits and worse, a terrible bondage to them.
Because Jesus really is God, Jesus alone has the power to deliver us from all these fears as we trust in his authority and promises and thus grant us a genuine spiritual freedom including from the slavery to sin. “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (2 Cor. 5:17).
“Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” (Matt. 28:18).
“That evening they brought to him many who were oppressed by demons, and he cast out the spirits with a word and healed all who were sick” (Matt. 8:16).
“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36).
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment” (1 John 4:18).
“So don’t be afraid, little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom” (Luke 12:32).
Freedom comes from knowing the spiritual truth that never changes, truth that is always true for everyone – and that this truth is found in God’s revealed word, the Bible. By trusting in God’s perfect character and promises which can never fail, we can know the truth that will set us free. “The LORD is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does” (Psa. 145:13).
Only Jesus has the power to lead us to the one true God and his word so that we might understand this special freedom. As Jesus promised, “And this is the way to have eternal life—to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth” (John 17:3).
In contrast, because other religions deny what God has already revealed, their Scriptures cannot logically be inspired by God or bring us genuine spiritual freedom. On what objective basis can we know to trust a given Scripture? The accuracy of the textual transmission of the Bible is proven beyond doubt. In contrast, through the wear and tear of history, the scriptures of other religions (Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Taoism, etc.) have become textually, hermeneutically, syncretistically (accretion) or otherwise corrupted – so much so that the original teachings are probably lost forever.
Conclusion: Personally Experiencing Jesus: Finding the One Love, Happiness and Virtue That Lasts Forever
If we are looking for what we have always wanted in life, we must personally come to know Jesus Christ and trust him not only for our salvation but in everything.
Confucius believed that “He who puts himself in the wrong with Heaven has no means of expiation left.” While Confucius had a different view of Heaven than the Bible, nevertheless the Bible teaches that through our sin, we have all put ourselves in the wrong with Heaven, which is why we need a Savior from our sin. There is always hope in this life, no matter how bad our actions, because God’s love and grace are infinitely greater than our sins. May you, dear reader, be as Confucius was at 60, “an obedient organ for the reception of truth.”
Giving one’s life to Jesus is a serious commitment, just like a marriage vow. To inherit eternal life we must change our mind about Jesus and believe with whatever faith we have that Jesus died for our sins on the cross and rose from the dead three days later as proof that he conquered death. When we understand our spiritual need for Jesus and then personally receiving him into our life, we demonstrate our faith in him and he makes us alive spiritually and comes to live within us forever.
It’s important to understand that no one comes to Jesus with perfect faith; no one ever has. We come to Jesus with whatever faith we have, large or small, of whatever quality (initially for many, it may be quite small, even hesitant or uncertain). It’s neither the amount nor the quality of our faith that’s important (we come to Jesus just as we are); it’s the sincerity of our heart that God sees and our understanding that Jesus alone can fully forgive our sins, make us a new person and grant us the gift of eternal life.
It’s also important to understand the truth of salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, and therefore to not allow what may be good in Confucianism (or Chinese culture) to cause us to stumble spiritually. It might do this by making us base our acceptance with God upon our moral and spiritual performance, on what we do, on good works, rather than what Jesus has already perfectly accomplished for us on the cross. Jesus’ work of salvation on the cross is something that can never be improved upon, throughout all of eternity – so why even try? (But again, once we are spiritually reborn after trusting Jesus, it’s important to be committed to him, to live for him and to be in his word so that we might grow spiritually; 2 Pet. 3:18.)
Nevertheless, it’s also vital to understand that once we trust in Jesus, that nothing in this life can ever separate us from the love of Christ, or will ever cause God to abandon us or remove his love from us. (John 3:16; John 5:24; John 6:47; Rom. 8:28-39; 1 John 5:13) Why? Because our eternal salvation was secured forever the instant we were “born again” and truly trusted Jesus for our salvation (John 3:3-8; John 5:3:16 24; 6:47; 1 John 5:13).
If you want to give your life wholly to Jesus, you can speak to God in your own terms or you can say the following prayer out loud to God, humbly and reverently, by reading it in the sincerity of your heart:
I know I am a sinner and I now desire to change my mind about my sin and about Jesus, your only Son, so that you may be honored. I accept and trust that Jesus died for my sins on the cross of Calvary in order to forgive all my sins and grant me the free gift of eternal life with you, and that he rose from the dead on the third day. He did this so that I would never have to experience the eternal consequences of my sins. I understand that I don’t deserve this gift and there is nothing I can do to earn it, not one single thing. I understand that you give me eternal life freely, simply because you love me so dearly and so deeply. Help me to be committed to you from this day forward, no matter the cost, and help me to reach others for you that they may also be saved from the consequences of their sins and become a new person in your Son. Help me understand your word, the Bible, and to trust in your unchanging nature and perfect promises. I pray this in the name of your precious Son Jesus. May it be so!
(The first two in particular contain many valuable articles, e.g.: http://www.globalchinacenter.org/analysis/articles/)
Global China Center: www.globalchinacenter.org
Overseas Missionary Fellowship (China Inland Mission; www.omf.org
World Christian Missionary Resources http://www.missionaryresources.com/chinese_christian_resources.php?alp=A
Internationals: Movements to Reach International Students; http://www.reachinginternationals.com/dos-and-donts-for-chinese/
Reaching Internationals (China); http://www.reachinginternationals.com/category/cultures/chinese/
Ambassadors for Christ (Chinese)
Books and Articles:
All but a few of the books can be found at: www.Amazon.com.
C. Wright Doyle, “The Greatest Threat to the Chinese Church” (i.e. “Christianized” Confucianism). Dr. Doyle is a leader in Chinese Christianity, the founder and director of China Institute, associated with the Global China Center plus the author of The Perfect Man: A Comparison of Confucius and Jesus, available in Chinese from Ambassadors for Christ, Inc. bookstore; http://afcresources.org/bookstore/?gclid=CI_I2bWb_6oCFeZ05Qod6VLm3g
Wise Man from the East: Lit-sen Chang (Zhang Lisheng). Critique of Indigenous Theology, Critique of Humanism. Edited by G. Wright Doyle. Translated by G. Wright Doyle and Samuel Ling, 2013. Perhaps the best book to read. From the publisher website: “Lit-sen Chang (1904-1996) was brought up as a Buddhist and educated in the Confucian classics as well as in modern political philosophy. He later delved deeply into Daoism as well. After World War II, he founded Jiangnan University in order to “exterminate” Christianity and revive Eastern religion. Conversion to Christianity in 1950 radically altered the course of his life. He studied at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and then joined the faculty, teaching missions and writing prolifically on theology and apologetics, especially on the relationship of Christianity to Chinese culture.” (Chang is also the author of Comprehensive Christian Apologetics and Asia’s Religions: Christianity’s Momentous Encounter with the East, plus a systematic theology.)
G. Wright Doyle, Confucius and Christ.
G. Wright Doyle and Laura Mason, Reaching Chinese Worldwide (2013).
C. Wright Doyle, The Perfect Man: A Comparison of Confucius and Jesus.
Douglas Russell, Ph.D., “Obstacles To Evangelism In Contemporary China,” Christian Apologetics Journal, Spring 2007.
- Isamu Yamamoto, Buddhism, Taoism and Other Eastern Religions.
Richard R. Cook, David W. Pao (Eds.), After Imperialism: Christian identity in China And the Global Evangelical Movement (2011; part of the Studies in Chinese Christianity Series by Wipf and Stock:
David Aikman, Jesus in Beijing: How Christianity is Transforming China and Changing the Global Balance of Power.
Miikka Ruokanen and Paulos Huang (eds), Christianity and Chinese Culture: Confucianism (see the review by Dr. G. Wright Doyle, September 13, 2011, at the Global China Center; http://www.globalchinacenter.org/analysis/christianity-in-china/book-review-christianity-and-chinese-culture-confucianism.php)
Alden Bass, “An Investigation of Hindu Scripture”, Apologetics Press, (2004); https://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=8&article=1410
Paulos Huang, “Confronting Confucian Understandings of the Christian Doctrine of Salvation: A Systematic Theological Analysis of the Basic Problems in the Confucian-Christian Dialogue,” International Bulletin of Missionary Research, October 2009 (A 2006 PhD dissertation (later published as a book; see next entry) by a Confucian/Lutheran with a syncretistic bent, but still useful in places; on pp. 10-11 he illustrates the quandary of the “Confucianization” of Christianity developed in Doyle’s article above. For example, he writes that “Justification by faith and through grace become so easily just a mere theory. Therefore, like so many other Chinese Christians, in practical life, I am afraid of being lazy in fulfilling my own duty, which has been endowed to me by Heaven/God. Every time I focus on my own deeds, I realize that sola gratia is my hope. [But] Once I have peace and certainty with salvation I will again paradoxically try to self-cultivate. I have been longing for peace and certainty, but once they become true in my life, I will immediately doubt and try to avoid it. Such a paradoxical tension has become the basic reason” that Dr. Huang wrote his book. (Dissertation copy, page 10-11; http://ethesis.helsinki.fi/julkaisut/teo/syste/vk/huang/confront.pdf. As has always been proven true historically (e.g., witness the horrendous consequences of Jewish syncretism in the Old Testament), all forms of syncretism in Chinese Christianity are also spiritual traps which dilute and/or neutralize true Christianity and true spirituality. If one is truly devoted to Jesus, one cannot be a devoted follower of Confucius. One may accept whatever truth Confucius taught, but one cannot adopt the Confucian world view without insulating oneself from biblical truth.
Dr. G. Wright Doyle, Book Review: Confronting Confucian Understandings of the Christian Doctrine of Salvation, January 4, 2009, Global China Center; http://www.globalchinacenter.org/analysis/christianity-in-china/confronting-confucian-understandings-of-the-christian-doctrine-of-salvation.php
Two excerpts from the review:
“The notion of a God who saves and, indeed, the entire soteriology of Christianity, is one of the main differences between Christianity and Confucianism. The whole idea of “salvation” is unknown in Confucianism but is essential in Christianity.”
“Huang agrees with Matteo Ricci and many modern Christians that ancient Chinese believed in a supreme being – called Shang Di and, later, Heaven (Tian) – who bears many resemblances to, and perhaps can even be assimiliated to – the God of the Bible. Fairly quickly, however, this personal deity was replaced, as we have seen, by an impersonal Heaven and then by Principle (li). From that point on, Confucian and Christian beliefs clash at several key points and dialogue has been difficult.”
Biographical Dictionary of Chinese Christianity www.bdcconline.net
John Weldon, Buddhism and Nichiren Shoshu/Soka Gakkai Buddhism – A Critique and Biblical Analysis http://www.amazon.com/Buddhism-Nichiren-Shoshu-Gakkai-ebook/dp/B0090QDF8E/ref=sr_1_17?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1379862800&sr=1-17&keywords=Buddhism+critiques
John A. Rapp, Daoism and Anarchism: Critiques of State Autonomy in Ancient and Modern China.
John Ankerberg, John Weldon, The Coming Darkness (documentation of the spiritual, psychological and physical dangers of psychic and occult practices cited by practitioners and other authorities.)
Jamie Hubbard, ed., Pruning the Bodhi Tree: The Storm Over Critical Buddhism.
Liao Yiwu. God Is Red: The Secret Story of How Christianity Survived and Flourished in Communist China.
Xi Lian, Redeemed by Fire: The Rise of Popular Christianity in Modern China.
Carol Lee Hamrin and Stacey Bieler, Salt and Light, Volume 1: Lives of Faith That Shaped Modern China (Studies in Chinese Christianity).
Fenggang Yang, Religion in China: Survival and Revival under Communist Rule.
“China’s Crackdown on Evangelism” (2012) One News Now; [#.UlknV21SnRd http://onenewsnow.com/persecution/2012/12/24/chinas-crackdown-on-evangelism#.UlknV21SnRd]
“Exclusive: China Aid Obtains Secret Central Committee Document Ordering Crack down on Evangelism on College & University Campuses”; China Aid News; http://www.chinaaid.org/2012/12/exclusivechinaaid-obtains-secret.html
Dr. & Mrs. Howard Taylor, Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret. Get the longer version (600 pages), if possible.
“Jesus in The Rice Fields”; http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/world/2011/may/growth-explosion-chinas-christianity-takes-root-/
Kim-Kwong Chan, Tony Lambert, Ryan Dunch and Daniel H. Bays, Jesus Rising in the East: The Extraordinary Story of the Church in Modern China.
Lausanne Occasional Papers (LOPs)
LOP Six: Christian Witness to the Chinese People
Lausanne Occasional Paper 6
Janet Benge and Geoff Benge, Hudson Taylor: Deep in the Heart of China (Christian Heroes: Then & Now) by Christianity in China: From the Eighteenth Century to the Present.
David Aikman, Jesus in Beijing: How Christianity Is Transforming China And Changing the Global Balance of Power.
Daniel Bays, Christianity in China: From the Eighteenth Century to the Present.
Richard von Glahn,The Sinister Way: The Divine and the Demonic in Chinese Religious Culture.