Back To Jerusalem: A Mission of Passion and Purpose

Chinese Christians having worship service in N...
Chinese Christians having worship service in Nanking with Rev. John Maggee, American pastor, after peace has been restored to the city. All the photos were taken to report about Nanking after the Japanese occupation in 1937 and placed in the Japanese newspaper article entitled “Nanking Smiles”. The article wrote, “Hearing their hymns, we have noticed, ‘Oh, today’s Sunday.'” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

*** A significant number of readers have asked that we again publish this article on the Back To Jerusalem movement, a missionary effort of the Chinese Church. We are more than happy to do so as we at LifeBrook both support and engage in continuing prayer for the safety and success of those involved.

Mick Turner

The news of late has carried a number of stories about the Olympic Torch and its precarious journey around the world. Protesters in many countries have gathered to make their voice heard about the atrocities committed by the Chinese government in its suppression of Tibet and its support for the bloodshed in Darfur.

 

Perhaps lost in this vocal and even violent protest over the plight of the Tibetans is the difficulties often encountered by Christians in China.  Although the Communist Party has gradually taken a more tolerant position toward the Chinese Church, there are still incidents of persecution, imprisonment, torture, rape, and even murder. These atrocities are often aimed at members of China’s illegal underground church and, while many make it in to the western press, many others go unnoticed.

 

This article, however, is not so much about the persecution of Christians in China as it is about the heroic efforts of Chinese Christians to spread the gospel beyond the borders of the Middle Kingdom. The fact that these brothers and sisters in Christ plan and execute these missionary efforts is especially remarkable, considering the political environment in which they have to operate.

 

I lived and worked in China for over five years, serving as a “tent-maker” missionary. During this time, I became acquainted with many Chinese Christians, both members of underground house churches and the official Three Self Patriotic Movement, the government sanctioned church in China. It was through my friendships with these remarkable Christians that I first learned of the “Back to Jerusalem” project. Since returning to the States I have learned that very few western Christians are aware of Back to Jerusalem, so I want to share a bit of information about the movement in hopes that these brief words might motivate readers to pray for these courageous missionaries who, quite often, place themselves in the mouth of the lion.

 

Briefly stated, the goal of the Back to Jerusalem project is for Chinese Christians to evangelize all the nations between China and Jerusalem. The proponents of the movement understand that Christianity spread westward from Jerusalem and eventually to Britain and America. The faith then traveled from these two countries to China. The Chinese Church now feels it has both a call and a mandate from God to take the gospel message all the way back to its origin. In a geographical sense, the good news will have spread around the world.

 

The vision for Back to Jerusalem actually was birthed back in the 1920’s, but due to the ever-shifting nature of Chinese politics during the first half of the 20th Century, the movement fell off the radar for a number of years, only to resurface with great passion as the century drew to a close. Often hamstrung by a lack of funds, the proponents of the project never gave up. Against all odds, the initial missionary team was formed and trained.

 

In March, 2000, a team of 36 Chinese missionaries left the country for the mission field. A number of them never returned, but the project continued to move forward. Relatively unknown in the West, the Back to Jerusalem movement continued to arouse passion in the Chinese Church. Many of the initial missionaries had been subject to torture, deprivation, and ill-treatment in their home country, so they were well-prepared for what they might face in other lands that were hostile to Christianity, especially Muslim nations.

 

The Islamic countries are a high priority for the Back to Jerusalem missionaries. As I talked to people involved in the project and reflected on what I learned, I arrived at one salient awareness: Perhaps the Chinese are much better equipped to evangelize Muslim nations than we westerners, particularly Americans, are. The fact is, Americans have a bad reputation in the Islamic World. Whether this image is justified or not is not the issue here. The reality is, a Muslim is more likely to listen to a Chinese Christian than an American one.

 

Space does not permit a detailed analysis of the movement here. I would like, however, to encourage Christians here in the States to pray for these missionaries, their families, and for the success of Back to Jerusalem. Believe me, these folks need all the help they can get, spiritual and material. If you would like more information on the Back to Jerusalem project, visit the website:

 

http://asiaharvest.org/back-to-jerusalem/

 

Also, Paul Hattaway, along with three prominent house church pastors, has written a book entitled, Back To Jerusalem, which contains useful information.

 

In closing, I find it ironic that, with all the protest about the Olympic Flame and whether or not it will complete its journey around the world, the Chinese are carrying another flame, this one of the spirit, which is also attempting to complete a circumnavigation of the globe.

 

May God be with these courageous people.

 

© L.D. Turner 2008/All Rights Reserved

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13 thoughts on “Back To Jerusalem: A Mission of Passion and Purpose

  1. I was watching a You Tube videos about Brother Yun and it said that He is involved with this outreach. I found your site so now I know what it is. I will have to give my support in this cause for Christ. Brother Yums story is so amazing.

    1. Hi Teresa

      Brother Yun is truly a remarkable person, as is his wife who also suffered much during the years of Brother Yun’s persecution and imprisonment. During the years I spent in China, I discovered that there are many unknown “Brother Yuns” who have sacrificed much in the name of the faith. The Back to Jerusalem mission is a work of God, without doubt. Thanks for your support and please, pray for these brave people who are often in very dangerous situations in Muslim countries. Spread the word for the need of prayerful support.

      Blessings,

      Mick

  2. I just completed leading the book by brother Yun “The Heavenly Man” please count me in, I am joining hands with them to spread the Gospel on earth! I couldn’t put this book down! I have been praying that the Lord should fill me with burden for the lost in this End-Time Harvest, and this was His way to show me how I should take this mandate seriously! On a normal day, I would not have come across with “The Back To Jerusalem Movement” but this was God’s answer to my daily prayers about evangelism. I believe that everyone who is becoming aware of this movement is nothing short, but a divine connection!

    Agnes

    1. HI Agnes –

      Yes, “The Heavenly Man” is an joy and an inspiration. The Back to Jerusalem Movement is a special blessing during this particular age and one that is surely needed. My years in China showed me that the Chinese Church is uniquely qualified to carry this mission forward. I have numerous friends who are involved in BTJ and they need our prayers daily.

      Mick

  3. I have just read Randy Alcorns book “safely Home” as well as Brother Yuns “the Heavenly Man.” The Holy Spirit has called me to fast for 40 days and pray for this movement, as well as the persecuted church in all the countries that see Christianity as a crime.

    I live in the US, in Tennessee, and my entire family is also praying for the persecuted church. I am looking forward to meeting all the Christian martyrs when I get to heaven and hearing their stories of grief, grace, and redemption. Thank You, for all you are doing. May this Back to Jerusalem movement take the world by storm, and increase heaven a hundredfold!!!

    1. Thanks for your prayers and support, Cheryl. The church in China, in spite of incredible odds against it, continues to grow by leaps and bounds. The books you mentioned are excellent. May I also recommend Jesus In Beijing, by David Aiken.

      Blessings,

      Mick

  4. My husband and I taught English and the Bible to Chinese grad students with the Navs and with our church’s support for 20 years I heard about the Back to Jerusalem a couple of years ago. Last week, I was watching tv and saw Pastor Yun sharing
    about his life and work. I will be praying for the missionaries as well as for my own contacts in China.

    Pat Whitehouse

    1. Pat:

      May God bless you and your husband for the vital work you did with Chinese grad students. I lived and worked in China, along with my wife who is Chinese, for five years. Those were without question the most fruitful and enjoyable years of my life. I lived it and loved it deeply. Thanks so much for stopping by Lifebrook and please visit often.

      Mick

      1. You were so fortunate to have that experience. My husband did visit Hong Kong but I never had the opportunity. He passed away last May. You may see a tribute written by a friend of ours on Nav website. It’s titled: mentor of mentors Larry Whitehouse. Search on Google.

        Blessings to you and your wife.

        Pat

    1. Brother Greg:

      Thanks so much for the comment and the link to Asia Harvest. The BTJ vision is such a noble and needed work for the kingdom. During my years in China, I was blessed to know a number of brothers and sisters involved in this mission. They need our support and especially our prayers.

      Mick

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