二○一八年十月二十七日／十月二十八日 Click here for English version
Stand Firm on God's Side
Rev Arnold Chow
It is said that trouble raises up a nation. To me, adversity can raise up faithful servants of God.
When the times are good, it is not difficult nor is it easy to talk about faithfulness to the ministry entrusted by God. In adversity, it is even more difficult. We can somehow find excuses for backing down, or getting away from or avoiding an issue. History is a good teacher. The footsteps of the early mentors of the Christian and Missionary Alliance (C&MA) provide a good example for us today.
The late Pastor Philip Teng has captured the first century of development of C&MA as follows:
Vision -> Faith -> Commitment -> The Spirit's Work -> Movement -> Realization
The Industrial Revolution in the late 19th Century has significantly widened the poverty gap in society. It was against this background that Dr A B Simpson cautiously received his vision. He felt his way forward amid a chorus of queries and doubts. Europe and Asia in the early 20th Century were torn by colonization and revolution. Power changed hands overnight. The C&MA was launched during a recess of the sounds of battle, in a still peaceful part of the world to rescue souls and bring people to Christ. Then World War I broke out, ripping the world apart. Dr Simpson died and the progress of work of the C&MA was stalled. Despite his successors, there remained a lot of troubles. After World War II, the nations recovered amid the rubble. The C&MA became more mature. In this historical vein, the North Point Alliance Church was born, and gradually grew up in Hong Kong.
Optimism, rationality and science were no solution to a shattered world. But the C&MA had a vision. In all the turbulence, the early mentors were convinced that only faith without doubt could gain Christ. And only sustained trust in the Lord could spark devotion amid the ruins. Devoting oneself, however, is not to elevate the self, nor to enhance productivity or to win praise. The early mentors devoted their lives to a path contrary to the prevalent values – not I, but Christ.
Mankind is powerless but history is the record of the work of the Holy Spirit. When we humbly and honestly look back, we can see the mighty hands of God. Now, did the world evangelism mission movement arise from people's devotion? Not really. Was it the result of man's planning and organization? Not necessarily. The result of believers seeking universal values? No. Then, what happened in those hundred years or so? The picture I get is this: Stricken by weakness and poverty in those unsettled days, the early mentors received their vision from Christ. They were tried and sanctified by the hostile environment, but managed to hold on to their vision. The people did not cast off restraint, and stood firm on God's side.
Today, the footsteps of the early mentors remain, and encourage us in our ministry. As we cherish our good spiritual legacy, we all the more need to pray for courage. In a still shattered world, we need courage to respond to the new challenges of the time.
Faithfulness relies on the Holy Spirit. In the face of power, public sentiment, even death, the faithful can still stand firm on God's side, doing and saying what the Lord wants us to. In spite of adversity on the path of sanctification, let us learn from the early mentors and be faithful servants of the Lord.