Beijing - During an interview, Dr. Luis Palau, famous evangelist in the Latin American world and a figure often compared with Dr. Billy Graham, explained the purpose of his trip to China in further details and expressed several opinions on the Christianity in the nation today.
Dr. Palau said he want to show through his trip to the leadership in China that true Christians are not a menace to authority but respects authority and give blessings to the land.
Toward the millions of believers in China, Dr. Palau encouraged those whom are unregistered to register with the government and receive approval to practice faith in the open.
"As a brother who loves China and have seen similar circumstances of suffering and hardships, I want to recommend the [unregistered] churches to register with the government and see Christian in China be able to share their faith in the open."
In an earlier press conference, Dr. Palau compared the example of tax payments to U.S. citizens as registration is to church. He said that believers should live in the open, especially when the government offers it.
"The churches in America register with the government, whether we believe we respond to the government or not. I think that rather than what most people believe that the [Chinese] government is targeting religious groups in law, the restrictions are actually to address the problems arose from the hundred millions of people who are in poverty within the nation." Said Dr. Palau during the interview.
Dr. Palau felt that believers should be able to worship freely. And if there are laws that did not stand on the biblical truth, Christians should be able to stand for their faith. However, faith should not be used as a pretense to defy the law.
"Even if you are in the United States you can't really get away with defying order." He said.
On his observation of missions in China today, Dr. Palau said there is a growing sentiment of nationalism among the younger generation. Compared to the past when China used to lionize large businesses entering the country, China has evolved into a giant economic power of its own.
He mentioned that in Latin America, similar situations have happened where anti-Americanism grew. However, he reminded that Christians are international and referred to the example of how believers accepted Apostle Paul in various nations despite his nationality.
"I believe a better relationship that should develop is mutual support where believers of different nations help one another." He said.
On the charity conference he was invited to, although he was invited to share his experience, he felt that the conference is more of an instructional period for him on charity works in China. The conference will revolve around the topic of resolving the millions of poor who lives in the nation and how can domestic charity work help transform the ensuing problem.
Dr. Palau believes that if developed internationally, the conference will be more beneficial for China. "The conference this time is inclusive and addresses domestic charity, but I believe that when it develops into an international level, the conference will be much more successful."
Dr. Tim Robnett, President of the Luis Palau International Ministry, added some of his own views on Dr. Palau's trip after the interview.
"I have worked with Luis for over 15 year. He is not an argumentative person and likes to use a lot of stories and illustrations in his conversation. He does not go five minutes without trying to win someone to Christ." He said.
Dr. Robnett explains that Dr. Palau's position on this trip is to help promote greater religious freedom through diplomatic means. "Luis is trying to help all sides of the issue. I mean how can you use pressure to promote change? Luis is a person who is not afraid when it comes to talking about the issues, but ultimately it is about how we can engage and promote greater religious freedom and what we can do to change the situation." He said.
Dr. Luis Palau is one of the most respected evangelists in the Spanish-speaking world today. His faith-based ministry has taken the message of hope to estimated 20 million people and 70 nations.
He is well known for the festivals he has held over the years and produced some of the largest audiences in recent history, including 300,000 in south Florida and close to a million in Buenos Aires. Recent festivals he traveled to include Washington D.C., Madrid and Mendoza, Argentina.
Just recently Dr. Palau made plans to co-author a book with the Chinese Minister of Communication Zhao Qizheng titled "A Friendly Dialogue Between a Christian and an Atheist." The book is under production and is expected to be published in 2006.
Dr. Palau now lives with his wife in Portland, Oregon. They have ten grandchildren and four sons, three of whom are actively involved with the Luis Palau Evangelistic Association.