Known as missionaries, two PRCs being murdered in Pakistan stirred much attention among the Christian media. As Christian media complimented them as the "martyrs", the conventional media arrowed much blame towards them for their mission work.
As Christians, how should we position our stand rationally in the midst of these two completely opposite perspectives?
Firstly, we should definitely grieve for these two brother's and sister's death and condemn any form of gruesome terrorist attempts done onto them. However, may we also take a moment to reflect upon why only Chinese missionaries are the victims in this incidence?
In fact, some Chinese churches have such school of thought: they think Chinese people have owed their debts to the Gospel especially in our generation. Thus, in order to pay back the debts, China ought to send missionaries to other countries in order to return the favor that we once received from them, which is also known as "Muslim mission."
I do agree that China owes much favor from many foreign missionaries who devoted their whole life to the service especially when China was in dire poverty then. However, it is also necessary for us to view the context of the situation more objectively. In late Qing Dynasty, those foreign missionaries were mostly well supported in terms of personal finance, well-rounded training and equipping by their home countries, which were all powerful empires at that time. Moreover, foreign missionaries were highly regarded as elites by the society. Apart from spiritual feeding, they were mostly proficient in language, science, business and medical fields through professional training. As such, they were able to venture into China as ambassadors, diplomats or doctors. Some even managed to build universities, hospitals, charities etc. Therefore, they were generally highly professional and well-equipped individuals who could easily excelled in their home countries, too.
If we were to compare missionaries in late Qing Dynasty and China's Muslim mission, do we easily spot a gap between their levels of equipment and support? For missionaries participating in reserve missions, the support has been very limited given China's political context. Moreover, mission agencies have not been able to train up qualified missionaries given their own limited resources. As such, young and inadequately trained missionaries have been sent to the front line year by year with high casualties and low effectiveness.
However, we should not purely complain about such situation according to our flesh. Instead, let's go back to the Bible and see what Jesus says about it:
"You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.
And he continued, "You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions! For Moses said, 'Honor your father and mother,'and, 'Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.' But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is Corban (that is, devoted to God)- then you no longer let them do anything for their father or mother. Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that."
Today, many young missionaries decided to pursue mission at the expense of taking care of their parents. They claimed to demonstrate "loving Jesus above all" trait as excuse for their avoided family responsibilities. In fact, Jesus sees through our true intentions. Similarly, dedication to mission work should never be misused as a manipulative tool of avoiding family commitments.
Recently, I came across several articles resolving around this incidence, which intends to rally more young believers to imitate martyrs in the mission fields. In fact, some of these articles were written by believers who comfortably remained in the U.S. or Taiwan, instead of front- line missionaries themselves.
If mission is called by God, let's give its right to God. Though God uses people to fulfill his calling, he is not someone who sits comfortably in one corner while delegating all tough challenges to others.
Indeed, huge debts we have owed in view of glorious missions achieved by missionaries in China. However, in returning the favour, we should wait to see God touch our hearts or speaks to us through the autobiographies of great missionaries.
Therefore, mission ought to be our natural response to God's love, instead of irrational emotions arisen by unbiblical triggers. We should make rationale decisions when it comes to going for mission. Family commitments and personal capabilities should come into place during the decision-making process. Avoid rushing to the front line without proper equipping and training. Otherwise, a soldier would surely be defeated without learning how to use a guy.
Last but not the least, remember to valuate who calls forth the mission. A person without a heart for mission should be given the authority of calling forth any missions.
Translated by Maggie Li