China Inland Christian Missionsby Rit Nosotro
Change Over Time essay
Describe the impact of China Inland Mission through the time of the Opium Wars.
Over the past 140 years Christian missions to China have changed significantly while also significantly changing the lives of the Chinese.
China Inland Mission was founded in 1865 by Hudson Taylor, who had arrived in China the same year (1854) that Matthew Perry had forced open Japan to trade with the world. China experienced a growth of Christianity because of, rather than in spite of, persecution from the Boxer Rebellion and the Communism.
Although Nestorian Christianity fled to China along the Spice Roads of the 4th century, Roman Catholic Christian missionaries didn't arrived to China until the Tang Dynasty in A.D. 635. They had very limited success and nearly disappeared, even though Marco Polo reported evidence of Christianity during his explorations. Franciscans were commissioned by the Pope in 1294 to mission in China, but they were unsuccessful. It wasn't until near the end of the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), that the famous Italian Mathematician, Matteo Ricci arrived to China in 1588 and was welcomed at the imperial court. Though he presented Christian relics and replicas of the Virgin Mary, he was mainly admired for his cookoo clock.
From China Inland Mission to Overseas Missionary Fellowship International and from China to all of Eastern Asia, many things have changed about OMF International while still staying true to the goal of proclaiming the glory of Jesus Christ. OMF International began as CIM and was started by a man named Hudson Taylor who had a vision of bringing the gospel to the inland of China. Today it has just fewer than 1,300 members from 30 different nations.
China Inland Mission was started June 25, 1865 by Hudson Taylor. Taylor first
felt the call to China when he was just 16 years of age. He first left for China
in September of 1853 and arrived in March of 1854. Six years later he returned
to England with his wife and daughter due to health problems. During his time
in England he constantly wrestled with what to do about the lack of missionaries
in China. In the back of his Bible he wrote "Prayed for twenty-four willing,
skillful laborers at Brighton, June 25, 1865". He then went to the London and
Country Bank and opened a bank account in the name of China Inland Mission with
only ten pounds. He also wrote a booklet called China's Spiritual Need and
Claims, which talked about the 400 million Chinese that had never heard
the gospel. Soon after the formation of CIM and the publishing of his booklet,
workers, money, and supplies came pouring in. During this time Taylor gathered
his friends and some church leaders to pray and set up some principles for CIM.
The six principles they came up with were:
1. Workers could be from any Christian denomination as long as they agreed to work together.
2. Missionaries would not receive a salary from CIM but rather depend on God to supply their needs.
3. CIM would never ask for money except from God.
4. The missionaries in China could make decisions without waiting for orders from England.
5. The workers would be part of a plan to evangelize the whole of China.
6. CIM missionaries would live like the Chinese as much as possible.
Finally in May of 1866, Taylor, his family, and 16 other missionaries left for China. CIM soon began to grow and in 1887 one hundred missionaries were sent to China. However, CIM was not without problems. Some of the missionaries faced riots and break-ins and in 1898 one the missionaries was murdered.
In the early 1900's CIM faced problems with the Boxer Uprising. Fifty eight of their missionaries had been killed along with twenty one of their children. Although the Boxer Rebellion demonstrated there was much hostility towards foreigners and Christians, CIM had still made a great impact. During that time there was an estimated 100,000 Christians. One missionary who greatly impacted China was James O. Fraser who first brought the gospel to the Lisu tribes in South West China. Through him there was significant church growth and an estimated 60,000 Christian converts. Shortly after the Boxer Rebellion, Hudson Taylor resigned from CIM in November of 1902. Soon after resigning, he died on June 3, 1905. His tombstone read "Hudson Taylor, a man in Christ". During that same year CIM had grown to have 895 missionaries. In 1912 CIM had over 1,000 members making it the largest mission agency in China. During the 1920's almost all of the missionaries had to leave due to the Civil War in China. Later when missionaries had returned, many were put in concentration camps during World War II. By 1952 all CIM missionaries were made to leave China due to the Communist party taking over China. Even though the missionaries had to leave Christianity was already growing uncontrollably. By the time they left, there was an estimated 700,000 Christians in China.
After CIM missionaries reluctantly left China the headquarters were relocated to Singapore where they soon began sending missionaries to the rest of Eastern Asia. CIM sent missionaries to Indonesia, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Japan. CIM missionaries soon busied themselves with putting languages into written form, translating the Bible, planting churches, opening hospitals, and of course preaching the gospel. In 1964 CIM changed its name to Overseas Missionary Fellowship which was fitting since they no longer sent missionaries to China. The seeds that the CIM missionaries planted in China continued to grow and blossom. During the 1970's to 1980's the Chinese church had 21.5 million baptized members. In 1980 the great grandson of Hudson Taylor became the new director of mission work for OMF and later in the 1990's OMF was changed to Overseas Missionary Fellowship International. Most recently in 2005 Patrick Fung, a Chinese Christian, was appointed as the new director. He is the first Asian to lead the mission. Today OMF International has just fewer than 1,300 members from 30 different countries. Even to this day OMF International does not ask for monetary contributions.
Over the past 140 years OMF International has changed significantly while also significantly changing the lives of others. It started as one man with ten pounds and grew to an international agency with over a thousand members. When they first began their work there were less than an estimated 100,000 Christians while today there are estimates of 60-70 million Christians in China. When OMF International first set in motion they reached only those in China but today are reaching millions in countries all over Eastern Asia. Although the location of their mission has changed they still proclaim the good news and still depend only on God for their needs. Over time OMF International has been able to positively impact millions of lives due to its dependence on God and obedience to his will
The persecution of the Boxer Rebellion raised Christian concern for China that provided an increase of missionaries. The expulsion of missionaries by Chairman Mao's communists forces caused the purification and strengthening of a flourishing underground church movement. The missionaries who were expelled often entered other Asian countries with the gospel of Christ Jesus and increased the advancement of Christianity.
1. OMF International was first started by:
A. William Carey
B. James O. Fraser
C. Hudson Taylor
D. Patrick Fung
E. Robert Morrison
2. OMF International was first started in:
3. How many missionaries left with Taylor and his family in May 1866?
4. What was not one of the principles laid out in the beginning of CIM?
A. Missionaries would not receive a salary from CIM
B. CIM missionaries would live as much like the Chinese as possible
C. Appealing for funds would be the way for needs to be met
D. Workers would be part of a plan to evangelize the whole of China
E. CIM missionaries would not have to wait for orders from London to act
Answers to Quick Quiz
Benge, Janet and Geoff. Hudson Taylor: Deep in the Heart of China. YWAM Publishing, © 1998
Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia, s.v. “China Inland Mission,” at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/China_Inland_Mission
www.google.com, s.v. “OMF International” at http://www.omf.org/omf/uk/about_omf/omf_history
Additional information about <http://hyperhistory.net/apwh/essays/cot/t3w28chinamissions.htm>
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