Ecumenical Conference Unites Chinese and Korean Christians

( [email protected] ) Aug 27, 2007 03:11 PM EDT

BONDANG, South Korea – Around 300 missionaries, leading missiologists, and denominational leaders held serious discussions about future strategies for Chinese missions during a recent conference held in South Korea.

The three-day "China Mission 2007" conference, which was hosted by the China Mission Association, was held last week under the theme "Rise, China Churches.”

"God's great hope is in China," said the Rev. Thomas Wang, a prominent Chinese evangelical leader, at the conference’s opening ceremony last Monday. "We will be able to learn about effective China mission through this event."

Wang also added that "Korea is the greatest mission country in Asia," and if the Chinese church is to “gain victory, it is through unity of Korean and Chinese Churches."

Emphasizing the shared heritage of Korean and Chinese Christians, honorary-speaker Linz Ping mentioned that the first Western missionary to Korea was actually planning to go to China, but instead went to Korea upon the request of Robert Morrison, the first Christian Protestant missionary in China.

International Unity

Throughout the conference, speakers emphasized the need for Christians of both nations to learn from each other.

Rev. Wang urged the Korean church to widen their understanding of Chinese history as well as know the difference between “house churches” and the government-controlled “Three-Self Church.”

The veteran evangelist also reminded the audience that the ultimate goal of Chinese mission is not to just bring the gospel to China, but to engage Chinese missionaries and Chinese churches for world missions.

"As the country with the fastest growth rate of Christians, China will continue to grow under foundation of numerous martyrs whom have spilled their blood throughout the past,” said the Rev. Kim Seung-sahm, secretary general of the Korea World Missions Association (KWMA).

Security was tight throughout the conference as many of the attendants were members of the “underground” church in China.

The main meeting area was tightly-monitored, and only people issued with a nametag and photo ID were allowed entrance.

Recording equipment including cameras and camcorders were strictly prohibited.

All participants at the conference were also asked to identify themselves as "brothers" or "sisters" rather then using their official title.

Over 50 Chinese Christians from overseas also attended the event.

"I always had a great interest in China mission and I came here with a great expectation of having an indirect experience of China mission,” stated “Brother Jung” from the Church of Love.

"I attended because I wanted to receive grace and vision," commented another believer identifying himself as “Brother Sung.”

A Christian named “Do,” who is preparing for a mission trip to China, said that he hoped to quickly learn mission strategies for China.

“The feeling and hope I had for China while I was studying theology in Taiwan and language in New Zealand is revived," he added. “I think I will be challenged.”

200 Years of Chinese Missions

The missions conference also featured a photo exhibition marking the 200th anniversary of the arrival of Robert Morrison, the Scottish missionary who is credited with printing the first Chinese-language Bible in addition to being the first Christian Protest missionary in China.

A significant number of photographs from the exhibition came from the personal collection of honorary speakers Linz Ping, the Rev. Thomas Wang and Lee Young-chul of KWMA, alongside those of many representatives from overseas Chinese churches.

The exhibition displayed 180 pictures covering 200 years of China missions, which also showcased the life of Robert Morrison and his work in China, alongside those of other pioneering missionaries.

Rare pictures of Hudson Taylor – regarded as the father of the “Inland Mission” movement in China – also found their place among those representing his brainchild, the China Inland Mission.

Also on display through the conference were booths set up by ten major mission organizations – including Young Disciples of Jesus, China Gospel Ministry, Chinese Language Mission Ministry, WEC (Worldwide Evangelisation Crusade) International, and Hope International.

Special lectures at the conference were led by Yu Byoung-gook, WEC Korea representative; Linz Ping, professor of Graduate School of Religion at Chung Yuan Christian University in Taiwan; Ben Yun Po, underground house church leader and author of the poem "Nameless Missionary;” Wi Pu, a Chinese scholar; Lee Byoung-wook, professor and author of "Doctor Evangelist King;" and the Rev. Lee Jae-hwan, event commission representative.

Editor's Note: Gospel Herald contacts in South Korea contributed to this article.