The work in Kuling and the work throughout China

The work in Kuling and the work throughout China

  Date: September 8, 1948Place: Kuling

  I feel that we should let the brothers and sisters know as soon as possible about the way ahead of them. Some are still not clear about what to do, while others are clear already. Those who do not know can pray to the Lord. If you do not have a clear guidance from the Lord, you should let us know as soon as possible. Let me talk a little about the work here in Kuling and also about the work throughout China. I have considered dividing our work into ten divisions or regions. At least one or two of these regions have made a start already.

  1) Shanghai region: This includes the area along the Shanghai-Hangchow railway. The center is Shanghai.

  2) Foochow region: This takes care of Fukien province and Taiwan province. The center is Foochow. Northern Fukien and southwestern Fukien are not included in this region.

  3) Wenchow region: Northern Fukien is part of this region. There is a definite need to have a start in this region. There are well over a hundred churches in this region.

  Our strength lies in the clarity of the teaching concerning the ground of locality. Our weakness lies in the fact that our work does not have a center. There was no interruption in our meetings even during the war years because we were clear about the ground of locality. Although we did not have pastors and preachers, we were able to carry on with the breaking of bread, worship, and preaching. However, we became scattered because we did not have a center for the work. We admit that the mistake is on our part. We are willing to face this mistake. Now we have seen clearly from the Bible that there are regions to the work.

  4) Peking-Tientsin region: We hope that a region will be raised up in northern China, including Peking and Tientsin. We hope that gradually this region will be extended to Shansi, Suiyuen, Ningshia, and even to Inner Mongolia.

  Before the war there were four million Catholics in China but less than six hundred thousand Protestants. After the war, there were three million Catholics, while the Protestants numbered about four hundred and eighty thousand, or slightly less than five hundred thousand. Although there has been a slight decrease, the decrease is not significant. Many were lost during these years. (The above numbers also include the nominal ones.) Thirty percent of the Catholics are living in Inner Mongolia. Their work extends westward towards Shansi.

  5) Tsingtao region: This region extends west of the Jiao-Ji Railway and south of the Jin-Pu Railway.

  6) Canton region: This is the southern China region. Canton is the center; it includes Hong Kong. The further one moves south in this region, the more unstable the situation becomes. The people are less dependable, and the testimony is less promising. This region bears the responsibility of both Kwangtung and Kwangsi provinces.

  7) Hakka region: When we were at Custom Lane, we felt the need to have Swatow as a center. There are over thirty assemblies in southwestern Kiangsi and southeastern Fukien. We can even count southwestern Fukien as part of this region.

  8) The literature work: The literature work, such as the publishing of books and periodicals, is considered a separate unit of the work. Such works are handled by Shanghai.

  9) The work in Kuling: The work in Kuling is also separate. It is situated in Foochow.

  10) Itinerant preaching: In the past we paid much attention to the local churches. This is the line of Antioch; yet we forgot about the line of Jerusalem. Today we have to pay equal attention to the Jerusalem line and the Antioch line. During the past few months we have been dealing with personal spiritual problems. From now on, we have to deal with the Lord concerning our work. If any of us has any kind of feeling at all, please let us know so that together we can make the proper decisions.

  The work among these ten areas is not that simple. We are short both in manpower and in finances. Let us consider again in detail the work in these ten areas.

  There is the need for an immediate start in Wenchow. Peking-Tientsin, Canton, and Swatow (Hakka) can wait for one or two months; they can join together to boost Wenchow first. We can gather the brothers and sisters who have a heart to serve in Wenchow, train them for two or three weeks, and then send them out to different places for the work after the training. We have to share with them the things we have seen in Kuling. There is also the need for building a new meeting hall. The present meeting hall can only hold two to three hundred people. We have only three sisters from Wenchow who are in this training. Miss Gui should return to Shanghai and then move to the Wenchow region. You should pray about it first, and consider what you should do.

  Concerning our work in the coming days, I hope that we will increase the flow between the north and the south. (If Brother Witness is to move here, we will need many brothers and sisters to go to Shanghai.) Brother Chai Chi needs more time to rest.

  Tsingtao is presently under special circumstances. Outwardly it is being surrounded. Yet it is a promising region, and there are many promising ones from this region. Brother Zi-jieh can return to this region. Perhaps the brothers from Chefoo will also go to Tsingtao. In the future the work in Chefoo and Tsinan will hinge on Tsingtao. The brothers from Peking-Tientsin should temporarily go to Tsingtao, Canton, or Wenchow to strengthen the work in these places. I am only speaking of general principles.

  Brothers Liu Xiao-liang and Suen Feng-lu should move to Tsingtao to strengthen the testimony there. We hope that the work in Tsingtao will begin immediately. Today we are merely telling you what our feelings are. Sisters Sung Tien-dong, Dong Huang De-hui, and Wang Shu-ching should be relocated. Perhaps they should not return to their own localities. Sister Sung and Sister Dong may return to Tsingtao.

  Hakka region: The Hakka region is too weak at present. I hope that Brother James Chen can move to Swatow and bear the responsibility of the work in the Hakka region. The work in this region should begin from Swatow. The brothers and sisters who come from this region should perhaps go back to this region and begin working there. The situation in this region is different from that in Wenchow. There is the need for pioneering and foundational work. I hope that some can help Brother James in this area. Brothers Chen Ke-san and Tsai Chi-chung should discuss among themselves and see if another brother can be spared to help Brother James. We hope that this will take care of the need for a while. Perhaps the real work in this region has to wait until the work in Wenchow is well on its way.

  Brother Weigh has to take more responsibility in Canton. In addition, I hope that some brothers and sisters from the north will also move to this area. This region needs someone with weighty spiritual stature to oversee the spiritual condition. We have to strengthen the brothers and sisters as well as the workers. There is also the need for some strong sisters. Sisters Lin, Tseng, and Lei should best be stationed in Canton while they begin their work in the Canton region. Other than gaining a few from the Christian and Missionary Alliance, nothing was raised up in Canton. God’s way depends on man. Material supplies and finances are minor matters; the most important factor is the person. Catholicism is weakest in Kwangsi province; it is difficult for the Catholics to work in that region. There is definitely the need to strengthen the work in Kwangtung and Kwangsi.

  Peking-Tientsin is still the region with the greatest amount of foreign influence. The best place for the center in this region is Peking. It is the center of education and the best place to establish student work. There are plenty of opportunities there. However, the meeting in Peking at present is behind that in Tientsin. The meeting hall in Peking must be built. The brothers have to bear more responsibility there. The brothers and sisters from Manchuria should temporarily stay in Peking, but the work in this region can only begin after the work in Tsingtao has had a start.

  It is best if four or five co-workers travel together for itinerant preaching. They should go whenever a local church invites them. Every time they travel, they should have at least three brothers and two sisters in a team. Brother Hsu Jung-jieh and Sister Miao can take the lead in this matter. The question of lodging can be settled later. Brother Chow Kang-yao may have to travel. Brother Chow Hung-bao is not yet clear about his way ahead. These brothers and sisters either have their families with them here on the mountain, or they may reside in Foochow.

  The need for the literature work is great. The Ministers is for news and reports on the work. The Way is for the new believers. The Testimony is for older brothers and sisters. (We hope that we can put out one issue a week.) The Gospel is for the unbelievers. We are also working on some reference books. These are not general books; they are for helping readers understand the Bible. We hope that we can translate some books, such as Henry Alford’s word study. We hope to do a paraphrase of Darby’s Synopsis of the Bible. This means rewriting it in language that we can understand. This is not for our study, but for reference and comparison. What these ones wrote may not be altogether correct. We hope also to translate Grant’s Numerical Bible, at least the New Testament part. Alford opens the meaning of individual words in the Bible, Darby shows the meaning of the Bible as a whole, while Grant directs us to the proper method of exegesis. The literature work is not the work of the High Priest but the work of the Levites. If we have seven or eight sisters to help us, we can prepare our own concordance.

  As for the translation of the New Testament, I think we need at least four different versions. The first is a paraphrase version, in which we use our own words to express the text. This is not a word-for-word translation, and its emphasis is on the overall meaning of the text. The second is a revised version of the New Testament. We will render a new translation of the present New Testament. This version emphasizes the accuracy of the words as well as their meaning within the text. This will be a proper translation of the text. The third is an even more literal translation. For example, it will put the word and in front of a sentence when the Greek word kai is present (e.g., Matt. 15:33). This version will be a Chinese rendering that is strictly based on Greek grammar. But these three versions are not enough; there is the need of a fourth version. In the fourth version we need to highlight some special words, such as the articles. In Greek, some nouns have articles attached to them, while others do not. In English, this would be rendered, for example, as “the Paul” in some instances. We need to spend ten years to take care of these special expressions. Such a version will have a one-to-one correspondence between every Greek word and Chinese word.

  If we can finish these within a few years, our next generation will be able to study the Bible better because they will have reference books in their hand. Those who come after us will only need to compare the four versions to arrive at the proper meaning of a passage. What is lacking today are reference books and proper versions of the Bible. Perhaps Brother James (not James Chen) should stay with us to participate in the literature work. It would be best to have a Chinese translation of the Bible which establishes proper spiritual terms.

  Those who are involved in the literature work must be very diligent. They cannot be lazy. They must familiarize themselves with the expressions and styles of the Bible. In the past we have published many spiritual writings, but we have not put out enough reference books. The dictionary of the Bible by Mr. Wood is out of print. We can write him and ask him to reprint it. Brother Chou Shing-yi and Brother James should give themselves to this literature work.

  In Kuling we are working on two kinds of people specifically. The first are the co-workers. The second are the responsible brothers of the local churches. We expect those who stay in the dormitories to rise up early. The scattered bungalows can be prepared as lodgings and rest houses for the trainees. The weather can be unfriendly here on the mountain only during the months of December and January; the rest of the year it is very suitable for our training. I hope that Miss Kuo and Miss Zuo can stay here on the mountain.

  Here on the mountain, we hope to meet according to the principle of 1 Corinthians 14. Everyone can say something, and at the end we can have some kind of judgment on a subject.

  The above is a general sketch of the work; it is not a kind of final decision. On the one hand, we have the corporate view, but on the other hand, we take care of the individual’s feelings. There needs to be a balance between the corporate and the individual.

A few other concerns

  Concerning the relationship between apostles and elders: If the elders in a locality are strong, they can join the apostles in their work.

  Concerning the places that are considered as centers: When the work grows to a certain point, the brothers and sisters have to be sent out. We believe that as soon as some are sent out, more will come in to fill their places. For example, Hong Kong has experienced a constant shift of population in the past. Yet its number has not decreased.

  Concerning the gospel and the edification of new believers: We should have prepared over fifty topics for the gospel by now. In the coming days we hope to add more material to cover other areas. We hope that the material used in the gospel meeting and the edification of new believers meeting will be unified throughout the country. This will ensure that the brothers and sisters will continue along the same lines without any overlap or interruption. Those who are responsible for preaching the gospel and edifying the new believers must themselves live in the reality of their messages. Otherwise, their messages will become like the formal prayers of the Anglican Church. In the work of edifying the new believers, the important thing is to track down the brothers and sisters one by one. Do not let them get away easily.

  Concerning migration: If a church sends out saints for the migration, its number will not diminish. We should encourage the matter of migration.

  Concerning serving together as the church: Before the war, there were a little over one hundred thousand converts to Catholicism, plus over five hundred thousand had been baptized. This number equals the total number of Protestants gained during the past one hundred years, but the gospel work among the Protestants and the Catholics alike in China is far too slow. If the whole church will rise up to preach the gospel today, the Lord will do a new thing in China. When you return to your locality, you must break through in this one thing — get all the brothers and sisters in the church to rise up to work. Unless you can do this, your work is a failure. You have to make every piece of work in the church the responsibility of every brother and sister. The whole church has to be involved in the preaching of the gospel, the visiting of saints, or the edification of believers. All the one-talented ones have to put in their share. The whole church has to rise up to serve, and the whole church has to rise up to preach the gospel. Unless we do this, we are a big failure. We have to be very busy, yet at the same time, we have to make everyone else busy as well. I know this is very hard. If we are the only ones who are busy, and if all the works are in our hand, we are wrong. In the future if someone writes to us and says that the affairs of the church are on the shoulder of one person, we will say that of the seventy who were sent out by us for the work, this particular one has fallen. I hope that the brothers and sisters will all be clear about our way. We must mobilize all the brothers and sisters. The whole Body has to serve. This is the testimony that the Lord is after.

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