Revisit Former Shanxi Church Leader

A picture of Rev. Niu Tianping (right) and the author
A picture of Rev. Niu Tianping (right) and the author
By Zhang XiaohuaFebruary 14th, 2023

Located in Jincheng in the southeast of Shanxi Province, Yangcheng County was the hometown of Chen Jingting, a tutor to the Kangxi Emperor and chief editor of the Kangxi Dictionary. It once was the headquarters of the Red Army Party and government on the Jin Yu (Shanxi-Henan) border.

At the end of the Qing Dynasty, missionaries began to preach in the county where the remains of the world-famous hostel called Inn of the Six Happiness still exists. Gladys Aylward founded the inn and led more than 100 orphans in transferring to safe places during the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression. The deeds were made into a movie named after the inner and are still being passed down by word of mouth.   

Following the last interview in November 2020, the Gospel Times, which is an online Chinese Christian newspaper, visited Rev. Niu Tianping again before the Spring Festival.

Rev. Niu, former vice president of Shanxi Christian Council, president and chairman of CC&TSPMs in Jincheng City and Yangcheng County, talked about the epidemic and the affairs he was doing.

At the end of 2022, Niu and his wife were infected with COVID-19 one after another. This seventy-eight-year-old pastor walked briskly. In regard to the three-year epidemic, he said that this was a lesson God prepared for us, a test of faith for each Christian, and God's good intentions of strengthening believers’ faith with blessings. The epidemic has passed and has created new opportunities for revival in churches, so God's servants should not let up but strive to work for the Lord.

Though resigning from the CC&TSPMs at all levels due to his age, he still cares about local churches. He also reflected that a pastor should plan and arrange God's work in an all-round way. He analyzed the shortcomings existing in some specific cases in the past, pointing out the direction in which he should work hard in the future.

He believed that the management of the church should be done in a fitting and orderly way. Many other churches asked him for reference to a series of operable management rules and regulations he compiled after years of practice, as these methods had an effect on practice. However, he believed that they should practice them based on local facts rather than copy blindly as the situation in different places varied.

Talking about the history of Christianity in Yangcheng written by him, the draft has been basically completed, but it is not yet ready for publication. For some objective people and things, there are some controversies, and the draft hasn’t been finalized yet.

The senior pastor displayed during the conversation the same hope for God's kingdom as the aged dedicated Simeon in the Bible. Our wish is that the old person would become stronger and more like Christ, radiating spiritual maturity and good health.

- Translated by Abigail Wu

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