One of the great joys
of serving overseas has been the deep spiritual friendships God has given me
with a few Asian brothers.
Trust-based and transparent friendships in that particular culture take a long time
to develop. As I grew with a certain
Asian brother who pastors a small underground church, I began to see that his
Christian spirituality radically challenged mine. Evangelism and public testimony are not optional for
underground Christians in that country.
They view their spiritual walk with Christ as one of picking up a
shameful, embarrassing cross and going public with their witness. The notion of just singing songs to
Christ, contemplating his benefits, and studying the gospel without earnestly
broadcasting it as the best news in the world, such a notion is truly foreign
to them. In their view of biblical
spirituality, regular bold and joyful evangelism is the sign of a true
disciple. Gospel study without gospel witness is not true Christian
discipleship. I consider my
brothers in that country among those of whom the world is not worthy. He is a frontline soldier in the army
of the lamb.
Written to his church
in the 18th century, the following letter by the British Particular
Baptist pastor, Andrew Fuller, could have been easily written by my Asian
brother. It captures well the
spirit of what ought to be among normal Christian discipleship in every era and
every nation—a Spirit-empowered passion for gospel proclamation among the lost.
In our last public letter, we addressed you on the work of the Holy
Spirit. In this we would direct your attention to the promise of the
Spirit as the grand encouragement in promoting the spread of the gospel.
We take for granted that the spread of
the gospel is the great object of your desire. Without this it will be
hard to prove that you are Christian churches. An agreement in a few
favourite opinions, or on the side of a disputed subject, or even a
disagreement with others, will often induce men to form themselves into religious
societies, and to expend much zeal and much property in accomplishing their
objects. But this is not Christianity. We may be of what is called
a sect, but we must not be of a sectarian spirit, seeking only the promotion of
a party. The true churches of Jesus Christ travail in birth for the salvation of men. They are the armies of the Lamb, the grand object of
whose existence is to extend the Redeemer's kingdom.
The Works of Andrew Fuller III, 359.