Friday, February 08, 2008

Bob Fu Recipient of the 2007 John Leland Religious Liberty Award!

The organization I work for, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, awarded the 2007 John Leland Religious Liberty Award to a brother in Christ named Bob Fu. I was able to attend the ceremony yesterday at the Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building in one of the members' of Congress rooms. There were approximately 70 people there. The 2006 award was given to George W. Bush in the oval office. It was a blessing to learn more about Mr. Fu's organization China Aid Association.

[At the right is a picture of Richard Land with Bob Fu]

Dr. Richard Land presented the award, and Congressman Trent Franks co-hosted the event. Bob Fu spoke for approximately an hour and he gave a moving testimony. It was a sobering call to all of us to fight for religious freedom. Here are a few excerpts from his speech:
"I was born and grew up in China. My mom met my dad when she was begging [for] food in his village because of extreme poverty in [the] 1950's. I remember, as a young boy living in [the] Shandong province in northeast China, as my mother was slowly dying of her lung disease caused by starvation, I begged a local doctor, even offering myself as his bond servant for life if he would just help provide medicine for my mother to get well. As he shut the door on me and I walked away with a broken heart, I remember falling on the ground behind a barn in my home yard and in the only way I knew how, praying to a higher power to help me and to help my mother. I prayed that one day my poor mom and I could get some equal status with my other fellow villagers, no matter how poor or rich."

He described later in his talk that he was not a Christian yet, and that when he was a university student he was actively involved in the student's democratic movement in 1989. During this time he was considering a suicide campaign to kill those in the government who betrayed him; however he said, "one night in the classroom, I was given a small booklet which was smuggled in from Hong Kong by my American English teacher. It was a testimony of a pastor. I was fascinated and finished reading it with one breath." He could remember the following passage the most:
2 Corinthians 2:17 "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come (ESV)."

He described that he hadn't received a Bible until a year later and, yet he became a believer in the authority of the Bible because he knew somehow that these words were from the Bible. Next he described his motivation for much of what they do in the China Aid Association.
"I was totally convicted that I was as depraved as those I wanted to kill. How could I expect myself to be treated equal by others if I wanted to kill them? 'Yes,' I decided, 'I want to become a new creation.' I couldn't help but surrender myself to my Creator. Later I knelt down on the floor with my American teacher at his dorm and accept[ed] Christ into my life. I realized the very freedom of conscience that the Creator endowed in my heart is far more precious and fundamental than any other rights. The very next day, I found everything was renewed and I even started having compassion and respect toward my betrayers and my enemies. I suddenly realized that, although as a small boy I did not know who God was, He knew and loved me, just like He knows and loves the 1.3 billion people I left behind in China some 12 years ago when President Clinton intervened for me, my new infant son and my wonderful wife Heidi (you can read the Christianity Today article on this from September 1, 1997)."

This was a heavy comment to make emotionally. This man loves the people of China. It was moving... His emotion stopped him for long periods of time as he said the following words:
"I am and always will be, Chinese in my heart. I miss China very much and pray for her future. I sincerely want China's future to be one of prosperity and stability and I believe that this can only be realized as true religious freedom is fully embraced in China and protected by the rule of law. This objective is the motivation behind all my efforts and the purpose of China Aid Association."

He further remarked about how the official TSPM churches are not signs of true religious freedom as they are controlled by the Chinese government and they are not trusted by over 60-80 million Chinese Christians. Further, how China Aid is wrongly seen as hostile to the Chinese government, because Christianity and other peaceful religious groups do not need to be "controlled" and are not a threat to the government, but rather, are one of the needed building blocks for stability and can provide much needed help for promoting non-violence during the current time of transition in China's history.

He pointed out an example of this in the problems that the cultic group "Eastern Lightening" poses to the Chinese government:
"If the house churches were free to assemble and publish the truth of Christianity, orthodoxy, and also free to instruct their congregations, especially their children, the truly dangerous cults would be more easily identified and less likely to victimize the ignorant as the Chinese government fears."

He argued that the Christian community can provide much needed social services as well. He said, "This would be a win-win scenario for the Chinese government."

He then gave a brief history of China and Christianity, pointed out that there is a shortsightedness in some house churches and that they need to face their problems honestly. Lastly, he said at the end, "May God continue to bless China and America!"

It was an excellent presentation and I pray that the Lord will bless their ministry to bring the gospel to many people. The only critique I would have of the afternoon is that the gospel was not as clearly presented as I would have liked it to have been. That God is perfect, unmade, holy. That all mankind has fallen into sin and deserves eternal punishment in the presence of God's righteous wrath. That Jesus Christ came into the world as being fully God and fully man and died as a substitute for those who would repent and believe in the gospel. He came to earth...lived, died and rose again after three days. We must repent and believe in this the gospel!

There really was much more to the can check it out here. Further, you can download a copy of their 2007 persecution report here. I consider it an honor to have learned about China Aid Association and the wonderful work that God is doing through them. May Christ be magnified in bringing His sheep to him through the China Aid Association's preaching of the gospel!

No comments: