Journal of Applied Missiology, Volume 1, Number 1



World Christian Broadcasting
Abilene, Texas

Advancing the gospel in Communist Asia poses challenges and presents opportunities. Too long have Churches of Christ failed to understand those lands, much less worked determinedly to take the good news to them.

People's Republic of China

By size and circumstance, People's Republic of China (PRC) holds a unique place of urgency for evangelism. More than 1.2 billion people inhabit a land that has only 2% more land mass that the 50 United States. While missionaries are forbidden to reside there, God's Word has been proclaimed daily in most of that needy land since July, 1983. It penetrates homes all over China by daily broadcasts in Mandarin Chinese, the official language. Those messages go forth from Radio Station KNLS in Alaska, owned and operated by World Christian Broadcasting on behalf of Churches of Christ.

Mail response indicates a great hunger for God's Word. Many from all over China are enrolled in Bible correspondence courses both in Chinese and English. Visitors have baptized believers in Shanghai. Other students are progressing toward a time of decision also. In spite of the tragic manner in which the government used brutal force to overcome student demonstrators in June, 1989, there is hope for doing more to spread the good news to the largest nation in the world.

The Soviet Union

The Soviet Union makes up much of Asia and Europe. The Russian Soviet Federal Socialistic Republic (RSFSR) is the largest of the 15 Soviet republics and the only one spanning both continents. Ten of the republics, including RSFSR, are in Europe. Along with Asian Russian SFSR, in Asia there are: Uzbek SSR, Kazahk SSR, Tadzhik SSR, Kirghiz SSR and Turkmen SSR.

These republics have cultures and use languages far different from the language and culture of European Russian SFSR. Islam has strong influence there and, as in most of the other 14 republics outside Russian SFSR, they all share a hatred for the Russians.

Visiting Christians have baptized a few people in various cities for many years. Daily broadcasts in Russian from Station KNLS in Alaska have received mail response from most areas where Russian is widely used. Bibles distributed freely since Glasnost and Peristroika have had their influence. Yet, 70 years of official atheism have left most people Biblically illiterate. An insatiable hunger is manifest in virtually every contact there by mail and in person. There is opportunity for missionaries to enter there now. Time to stay and teach is limited, but barring a reversal as seen in China, the opportunity for longer missionary presence may occur quickly.

Indigenous groups may already exist who share our desire to be Christians only. There is evidence that this may be true both among Soviet Jews and Gentiles. Opportunities abound to teach whole congregations of believers. Spiritual hunger in the Soviet Union is vast and unmet.

Republic of Afghanistan

Though the scene of a recent bitter civil war, where the Soviet Union exited much as the United States did Vietnam, the Afghan government remains under the influence of Moscow. This Islamic land would be very difficult to penetrate.

People's Republic of Kampuchea

A nation the size of Missouri, formerly known as Cambodia, has suffered horribly under communist rule. There is no known opportunity for a missionary presence.

Democratic People's Republic of Korea

As a closed society, North Korea appears unaccessible to missionary presence. Yet, radio broadcasts can penetrate all of the nation daily.

Lao People's Democratic Republic

This Buddhist land has no known means of missionary presence today. It has suffered much, as have most peoples in Indo-China.

Mongolian People's Republic

This socialist state between the Soviet Union and mainland China has sided with the USSR. No known efforts exist for reaching these Lamaistic Buddhists.

Socialist Republic of Vietnam

After decades of ravaging warfare, Vietnam is under communist rule. We have had missionaries there and many have been baptized. How many believers were not killed or did not emigrate is unknown. There may be an opening for medical assistance there soon which could provide a door for evangelism.

Steps to Solution

No easy effort will evangelize these communist lands of Asia. However, here are suggestions, if followed, that could help advance the cause.

First, we must pray as never before for those people and for reapers. Where possible, we must lead students and refugees from those lands to new life in the Lord. National Christians provide a more immediate cadre of evangelists than nationals who must learn the language, history and culture before going.

Beginning immediately, church leaders must encourage Christians to feel a burden for the unmet needs of those lands. Many must be encouraged to pray, learn languages, study cultures and history before visiting there, going as teachers, or filling other professional roles. When possible, full-time missionaries must be ready to enter and spend a lifetime evangelizing.

Until those steps are accomplished, we must use international radio to teach lost people God's Word in their own tongue. The time is short!


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