In case you have not been paying attention, the World Bank, headed by an American, has just announced for all intents and purposes that China now has the biggest, most dynamic economy in the world. This will come as no surprise to true China-watchers for it was clear that had China wanted to she could have surpassed America's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) years ago by routinely altering her exchange rate. She has not done so thus making the World Bank's announcement enormously significant.
Let us remember that just 10 years ago China's economy was evaluated as a GDP approximately one third of America's, and very few people thought that China would catch America in their lifetime. Of course the attitude of the West has been always to under-estimate and belittle the economic vitality and developmental vigour of developing countries so this massive upset should come as a big surprise to many.
A lot of what think-tanks offer as forecasting is nothing more than wishful thinking. Some economists told us in 2009 that China would overtake Japan's GDP in five years; China officially did it in 2010, nine months from that announcement. Human beings are more determined, flexible and focussed than what some would have us believe and people have shown that they are not dummies, mindlessly following the path others has determined for them.
The battle is not over for the people's right of self-determination, for they are those amongst us who still cling to outmoded concepts of what should be. Some still think that women should not be educated, but should stay at home, do the menial tasks allotted to them and be thankful. Some still cling to the belief that Europe and the European Diaspora, with their arrogant dismissal of others, were ordained by God to be rulers of all things and the rest of the world better shape up or else.
And some proponents of Western tradition will use bluster, threats, intimidation and even lethal force to maintain the status quo; Western domination, Western models of development and ruthless Capitalism.
The rise of China to world supremacy and its unstoppable trajectory to be many times bigger and stronger than its nearest Western competitor has given the lie to the notion of Eurocentric supremacy.
Put simply, China has shown the world that peoples of colour are just as capable, and with the right circumstances more competent, in hacking out of this jungle of despair a true pathway to prosperity.
As Christians, we should rejoice, and be exceedingly glad, that as the West is ditching Christianity and serving the god of mammon, there is a country that is fast becoming the stronghold of dynamic Christianity. It is now confirmed that China has more Christians that all European countries combined.
It seems that the opposing forces of entrenched atheism, for that is what communism portends, has not been able to wipe out Christianity but to reinforce it. This can be seen in contemporary Russia, where Christianity has emerged intact and vigorous after decades of communism. Today, happily, Russia regards itself as a Christian country.
China is now the best hope for changes in the world, and as we have seen, the biggest country in the world has a responsibility and a great influence in determining the direction the world goes.
Some people look to China to influence a New World Order and undoubtedly such will be forthcoming in the near future. Others see China as fundamentally changing international organisations to make them better represent all humanity, and serve the world better.
For example the World Bank, mindlessly, always has an American as its leader and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) always have a European as its head (an arrangement agreed between Europe and America). The United Nations Security Council has five permanent members (Russia, America, China, France and U.K), each with a veto and countries more powerful than France and U.K, like India, Germany and Brazil are excluded.
The Atomic Energy Association, a U.N. body, is not allowed to do its work properly as regards Israel because it is prevented from doing so by American influence. Even the U.N. Charter dealing with the diplomatic immunity of diplomats accredited to the U.N. is being violated by America under one or other pretext as recently seen in the clash with India.
All of these challenges, anachronisms and flaws have to be dealt with and resolved post haste for the good of all humanity. However it is in an entirely different realm, the spiritual, that as believers we can be confident that China's rise can be hugely beneficial.
Outside of Asia, America is the most populous country in the world and Christians fleeing Old Europe with its fetish for wars and decadence ran to America. The Pilgrims left Europe in the 1600s and settled in America for the right to practice their faith unmolested, they wanted freedom of worship that was denied them in Europe. Over the years, these protestants prospered and grew until now.
Some would say that America is in terminal, spiritual decline; with prayers outlawed in schools, Bibles not displayed in government buildings and such like.
Christianity in America has shrunk precipitously and some fear that America will soon be post-Christian like the countries of Europe. Many people are forecasting America's decline not just in economics and industrial production, but across the board and believers are asking who will take up the slack?
The answer is China.
In spite of what you hear to the contrary, Christianity is growing in communist China. In spite of Chinese communism, which is healthy and popular, there are more Christians in China than in all Europe combined, and the numbers are growing.
China respects freedom of worship, they are on record as affirming this, and there are some hiccups along the way, yet millions of Chinese believers worship God as they wish.
Believers should pray for China, that as she consolidates world dominance, she will boost Christianity by not just tolerating believers, but accept that they are a patriotic, spiritual force for good and give them every assistance to propagate the Gospel of Jesus Christ freely.
Friends and admirers of China everywhere would like to see China take the world forward in a new and different direction and enhance its reputation as a caring, benevolent super-power.
History has shown us that Christianity is good for humanity and it will continue to be good for the world and China. The big question here is, even if China has the will, if its leadership concludes that Christianity in China is in its best interest, and that is the preferred way forward, is it achievable?
The answer is a resounding yes, but not by meddlesome outsiders with hidden agendas, but rather because Chinese communism and Christianity have much in common; they are compatible and Christianity, just like Chinese communism, is people centred as opposed to corporations oriented. The benefits accruing to China would also be vast.
Third-millennium Christianity needs sustained focus, direction and leadership because Christianity has a serious problem with the Vatican, whose attachment to false doctrine post- Reformation is astounding. It would also make China more at ease with itself and its people's spirituality would be greatly enhanced.
However admired we are of economics it is nevertheless true that, "Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people." (Proverbs 14:34) This is and always has been so. Material prosperity without spiritual upliftment makes the person vacuous, the heart hard and poisonous and the soul dead. Christianity does the opposite and everywhere you look there is ample evidence to show this to be so.
China learns quickly, and it learns well, so we can be sure that she will not want to go the way of the other transient empires of old. Ultimately all power comes from God and it is important to remember God's involvement in the affairs of man, "But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another." (Psalm 75:7)
China's dominance can be a refreshing and timely boost to Christianity. And wouldn't it be gratifying that instead of agonising over trends in post-Christian Europe and the mind-boggling decline of Christianity in America, we look to China, as we did to Constantine, and at the Reformation, and see Christianity booming once again? "For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea." (Habakkuk 4:14)
It certainly would.
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Dr. Henderson Ward received his Doctor of Divinity in theology, with distinction, from Masters International School of Divinity, USA, where he is currently a post-doctoral fellow. Dr. Ward's career involved pastoring, evangelism, and teaching. Copyright 2013
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