Two news stories this week shocked the Christian world: Mr. Tom White (1947-2012), Voice of the Martyrs Executive Director, died on Tuesday (04-17-2012), and Mr. Chuck Colson (1931-2012), the Founder of Prison Fellowship, died on Friday (04-20-2012).
I was shocked as well. I read the two news stories on The Christian Post and the VOM (Voice of the Martyrs) Official site again and again. (Photo left: Tom White)
Last February (2011) I met Charles Colson at the National Prayer Breakfast with President Obama in the Washington DC Hilton Hotel and we had a brief talk in a group meeting. I told him that how much his book, The Body, lent by an American missionary, encouraged and impacted me when I was a college student and a newly dramatically converted Christian in a remote region of China in 1997. He was glad to hear that.
Last April (2011) was the second time I met Tom White. I picked up him from a hotel and drove him to a meeting place. We had a brief talk. I told him I passed his signed book to a brother in Boston and the brother was encouraged.
In China when I ever heard any good influential person died in a hospital or a strange place, especially with scandal, my first response (and that of many other Chinese as well) would be: he or she might have been murdered by the government. I have this response again as a habitual thinking model today after reading the two news reports, especially about Tom's. Then I told myself that I should not think this way because the United States is a nation with the rule of law, freedom of the press, and an open democracy, etc.
America is a great nation though I know many people in the society, academia, government and secret agents, hate Christianity and Christians, as those are in Europe. They may celebrate the two great men's death in their minds. Over the past 10 years, they think they can finally claim that they have defeated Christianity in western world and successfully imported Islam after their ceasless hard working in the past half a century. Yet, their joy is being grabbed away ruthlessly by the amazing fact that Christianity grows so fast in China and is pushing that nation forward to be a real Christian nation which would be with a different church-state model.
Chuck Colson wrestles with church-state topic in a few of his books, such as The Body, and God and Government. The shadow of Thomas Jefferson can not be removed in American minds so easily, but for Chinese in China, a Christian nation means a government holding firmly with Christian ideology, which fits Chinese mental set smoothly, because government has to choose to support its favored ideology, either religious one or non-religious one.
Tom White challenged any politics against Christianity since he was young man when he bravely flew over Cuba in a private plane to drop not bombs but Bible literature into a Communist country. He was imprisoned with brutal treatment. He wrote his famous book God's Missiles Over Cuba: The Tom White Story. VOM influences, and will continue to influence, the whole non-western world concerning Christianity related persecution which in most cases is a political issue in those nations. Tom White's work served and influenced the persecuted churches around the world and thus had great impact on politics in those nations.
Church-state separation in today's world means the church will be suppressed by the government whenever the church does not agree with state policies. Humanist governments expect churches to obey them first, instead of God. That is the model of the relation between Three-self Patriotic Movement Church and Communist government in China. Generally non-western world Christians do not believe in the myth of church-state separation at all since it is a liberal ideology that has poisoned the western churches for a few centuries.
We need to re-define church-state seperation in China. To be specific, we need to define where we should seperate church and state, in what degree, and where we should connect church and state, in what degree, based on historical lessons and theological developement among churches in China.
Tom White just came back from a trip to China encouraging those house churches and their leaders and underground seminary students, and being encouraged by them. He also planned to speak as a keynote speaker in a University this June, where I would have met him again as I also will speak for the House Churches.
Many times I have told my Chinese friends here and in China that Western churches, including American churches, are too weak because of acceptance of Thomas Jefferson's so called church-state separation "revelation". In the future, maybe soon, my point will be proved. :)
For those who love and respect these two great Brothers, Tom and Chuck, they shall live forever with the Lord the Christ Jesus and continue to live among us through their legacies. Also, more Tom Whites and Charles Colsons will be chosen by the Lord to rise in the world for the Kingdom of God.
House Churches shall finally win and transform China on full perspectives in a not long distance future. NO ONE can stop that.
News about Tom White:
News about Chuck Colson:
Mark Shan's Upper Room in The Christian Post 04/22/2012 Boston