Jesus in Beijing


Eve Tushnet reviews a new book by David Aikman, the former Peking bureau chief for Time magazine, Jesus in Beijing: How Christianity Is Transforming China and Changing the Global Balance of Power.

If Aikman's assessment is accurate, China is being transformed from the inside out, and the nation may make a smoother transition to liberty because of it. The rise of Christianity and the rise of capitalism are rebuilding mediating institutions and networks of trust that had been destroyed by Communism as a matter of policy. In the West, civil society preceded civil liberty. In the Third World and in liberated totalitarian societies, the reverse has often been true, with disastrous effects.

This month marks 15 years since the remarkable demonstrations in Tienanmen Square. Our hopes were dashed to see the regime's brutal crushing of dissent, but of course God causes all things to work for good -- even the oppression of tyrants -- and perhaps the delay of freedom and democracy prevented chaos and a return to even fiercer oppression. God's words to the Israelites in Exodus 23:28-30 comes to mind:

I will send the hornet ahead of you to drive the Hivites, Canaanites and Hittites out of your way. But I will not drive them out in a single year, because the land would become desolate and the wild animals too numerous for you. Little by little I will drive them out before you, until you have increased enough to take possession of the land.

Let's keep China's Christians in our prayers.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on June 15, 2004 1:10 AM.

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