The Flying Man Pt 4: How to Best Help China by Dr. Winter

(Read the original article published in the Nov/Dec edition of Mission Frontiers magazine)

Some of the themes discussed in my the last post will be repeated and elaborated on here. Again it is interesting to read Dr. Winter’s writings as he usually talks out the issues he writes about to our staff on Friday mornings. I remember him bringing up some of these issues and am learning his primary worldview.

Winter contrasts the lives and ministries of two China heroes. One is the famous missionary to China, Hudson Taylor, his less known contemporary is Timothy Richard.

First the similarities, both were evangelical in tradition and culturally sensitive (wore Chinese clothes and learned Chinese language.) Both were visionaries and pioneered organizations. Both also had a love for China, and devoted their lives to serving the Chinese people.

Since much is written about Taylor, Dr. Winter spends most of the article describing Richard and contrasting with known facts / practices of Taylor. Winter cited a history of missions book with information on both missionaries called These Sought a Country by Kenneth Scott Latourette.

The main dividing line concerns the issue of what do to on the field? Is it just service (a recent trend in developing organizations and the focus of North American people [read previous blog concerning these stats.]) Is it just evangelism and focusing on “the spiritual?” Or is it a combination of the two?

Taylor vehemently evangelized and concentrated all his eggs in this basket. He told his team members to not worry about planting churches, but only preach and evangelize. He strictly followed the Mark version of the Great Commission but seemingly neglected Matthew’s Great Commission covenant.

Richard on the other hand focused on evangelism with helping the people. Naming eliminating the horrible practice of foot-binding and developing nation-wide education. His strategy was to evangelize and sow widely, but focus and disciple those that favored the message. He developed leadership within the church structure and gained acceptance by community leadership and authority.

I have the utmost respect for Hudson Taylor and the things he did for China and the rest of the world. When it comes to strategy though, I am inclined to agree with Richard and have workers follow the more holistic model. To Taylor, I use him as an example of sacrifice and commitment to the task through his example. I also see him as an amazing mobilizer, getting more people to his go to China through his agency than all others.

What do you think? What are your impressions on both of these men and their strategies?

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