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Evangelist Stephen Tong: Chinese Christians' Visit to Bush has Great Impact

KUALA LUMPUR – The distinguished Chinese evangelists Rev. Stephen Tong said the recent meeting of the three Chinese house church Christians with the US president Bush 'will have great impact to the f

KUALA LUMPUR – The distinguished Chinese evangelists Rev. Stephen Tong said the recent meeting of the three Chinese house church Christians with the US president Bush "will have great impact to the future of China."

Speaking on the weekly Bible exposition Monday in Kuala Lumpur, Tong draws attention of the audience to the issue. The three Chinese Christians activists Yu Jie, Li Baiguang and Wang Yi, who are around 2.5 to 4 years in faith, are criticized by other official Christians for not being qualified to represent Chinese Christianity. However, as they are all influential attorneys and authors in the Mainland China, they can represent Christian intellectuals of the future generation, according to Tong.

Opening the dialogue between China and the United States is important. Even though Bush is the president of the great nation, he may not know the real situation in China very well. These three Christians were once belonged to the official church, so they can allow Bush to understand the reality through the historical visit, Tong commented.

Last Wednesday meeting at the White House was the first ever between Bush and house church Christians since China has taken over by the Communist Party in 1949. At the same time, it has coincided with the controversial bible ministry exhibition sponsored by the government-sanctioned China Christian Council and Three-Self Patriotic Movement of Protestant Churches (CCC/TSPM) across the United States from late April to mid June, which aims to show religious freedom exists in China.

Evangelicals, who mostly support house church movement, have not showed great interest in the exhibition. Bush’s decision to accept that unprecedented meeting with the three house church Chinese Christians on religious freedom appears to declare open defiance to the Chinese government.

Tong is concerned about the safety of the three Chinese Christians after their visit with Bush as saying Monday, "Will they be arrested after going back to China? We must pray for them. Our serving is a spiritual warfare. Even when we pray, preach, give testimony or evangelize, we face spiritual warfare."

According to some reliable sources, Yu Jie and others have been warned by Chinese officials that they will face "serious consequence" before they meet with Bush.

Nevertheless, as interviewed by the Gospel Herald last week, Li Baiguang said, "As a Christian, we only worry about today, we entrust everything on the hands of our Lord Jesus. We are not worried about the future, just believing that our Lord Jesus is guiding us."

By looking at the example of the three Chinese Christians, Tong exhorted the Malaysian Christians to set up pure faith in the Lord so that they can represent the future generation of Christian in Malaysia.

"You should not only aim to influence Malaysia, but you must look to have impact on Chinese Christians around the world," said Tong.

[Editor’s Note: Emily Wong reported from Kuala Lumpur for this article and Eunice Or from San Francisco.]