An Example of The Difference in Western Christianity and Asian Christianity

During the years when I spoke in hundreds of meetings around the world, I found it increasingly difficult to effectively communicate testimonies from the church in Asia to believers in “free” countries. Often when I spoke in meetings, people looked at me as if I had just dropped in from another planet.

I became aware that the spiritual dynamics of the persecuted church in Asia were completely different from those in western Christianity. The differences were so stark that I sometimes felt I was interacting with two different faiths. Even the most basic understanding of God’s character appeared to be fundamentally different.

For example, on one occasion in China I shared a powerful testimony from the Mru tribe of Myanmar. The Mru number about 25,000 people, most of whom are Buddhist. The gospel had recently experienced a breakthrough among them, and several Mru villages had turned to Jesus Christ. The Buddhist monks were furious when they heard about it, so they hired two gangs of thugs and sent them to the Christian villages to beat the believers, rape the women, and burn down their houses.

Armed with chains and machetes, the first group of thugs made their way on foot to the Christian area. Before reaching their intended destination, however, a freak electrical storm descended on them as they traversed a mountain pass. All of the men were killed by lightning. The lightning also struck the 400-year-old Buddhist temple in the Mru township, burning it the ground.

The second mob of would-be persecutors traveled to the Christian villages aboard a large raft. As they made their way down the river, a thick fog suddenly enveloped them, making it impossible to see where they were going. A barge sliced through the fog, struck the raft, and hurled the thugs into the rapids, where they all drowned.

When news of these events reached the Mru communities, the fear of God fell on them. Realizing that the Living God had displayed his awesome wrath, hundreds of people turned to Christ and repented of their sins.

When I shared this testimony with the Christians in China, they literally jumped up and down with joy and shouted “Hallelujah!” at the top of their voices. They rejoiced in the judgments of God, as the Bible says, “Zion hears and rejoices and the villages of Judah are glad because of your judgments, Lord” (Psalms 97:8).

Just a few weeks later I found myself standing in front of a congregation in Texas. As I shared the same testimony from Myanmar, I looked out at a sea of grim faces staring back at me. There was no rejoicing in that meeting and not a single “Hallelujah” was uttered.

After the service, an elderly lady came forward to confront me on behalf of the other church members. She strongly rebuked me with the words, “Our God is not like that brother. Our God is a loving God!” I noticed many people behind her nodding their heads in agreement

Like that congregation in Texas, many believers imagine God to be a cuddly, teddy bear-like figure whose main purpose is to encourage and bless them. They think God is so gentle and loving that he would never harm a fly, and Christians who dared to mention his wrath or coming judgments are often pushed into a corner and considered a threat to the peace of the church.

With such a skewed, chummy attitude toward God, it is no wonder that many Christians no longer fear Him. They love to hear about how John reclined at the dinner table by leaning against his best friend Jesus, but few remember that the two men met again many years later. This time the resurrected Lord was dressed in the robes of a Roman judge. John, who was absolutely terrified, wrote, “When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead” Revelation 1:17.

Source: Paul Hattaway, An Asian Harvest (Monarch Books, 2017), p.262-264 (Excellent book which I recommend and can be ordered at Asia Harvest.)

Unenlightened

“Buddhism is more than 2,500 years old, but it came to widespread prominence in Europe and the U.S. only about 50 years ago. Since then, Buddhist thought has become deeply rooted in American popular culture through music, books and films. Many American’s encounter the teachings of Buddhism’s founder, Siddhartha Gautama, when seeking a way to empty themselves of desire and attachment while embracing peace of mind through meditation.

Gautama is called the Buddha (enlightened one) by his followers. The simple response God’s Word gives to the notion of human enlightenment is that our Lord Jesus Christ is the true light and life. Without Him, there is only darkness and death (see John 1: 1-13).

How enlightening is Buddhism? Having been a witness for Christ in Buddhist contexts both overseas and here in the U.S. for more than 20 years, I have come to view the Buddhism practices in the U.S. as a trick or illusion that contains just enough truth to provide false hope. Rather than offering its adherents truth with the power to save or set them free, it merely helps them marginally reduce the stress that overwhelms their peers who have succumbed to this world’s strivings and vanity. Jesus sets us free for eternity.

While Buddhism in the West is darkness masquerading as light, a very different kind of Buddhism is widely practiced in parts of Nepal and throughout Tibet. The spiritist Buddhism in the part of the world where Gautama was born is not disguised as false light –it openly reveals itself as the blackest darkness. There, Buddhists work to appease spirits whom they know to be evil.

When those of us who have served among Nepali and Tibetan Buddhists describe them as intentionally serving evil spirts and seeking to be filled with their power, it may sound to some as if we are overstating the religion’s dangers. Sadly, however, out description is no exaggeration, and millions of lost Buddhists remain enslaved to evil throughout Nepal and Tibet.

People in the U.S., including Christians, are also astonished when we describe the persecution of Christians in these countries by Buddhists. But it is important understand that children in these areas are forced to leave their families and enter Buddhist monasteries, that young adults who come to faith in Christ are disowned by their Buddhist parents, and that Christian families are driven from their home in Buddhist areas. All of this is done explicitly to appease and court favor with evil spirits we know to be demons — the fallen angels who, like their master, work only to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10).

The stories in this magazine help us to understand the dark side of this supposedly “enlightened” belief system. And we hope they will encourage you to pray for our Christian brothers and sisters who are willing to pay the price to see Buddhists set free by the gospel’s power.

Source: Cole Richards, President —The Voice of the Martyrs

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