Reaching Chinese Worldwide
- March 19, 2018
“When Chinese people answer the altar call to be full-time missionaries, we encourage them to study and equip themselves at Moody first. Then they can go,” says Esther Wang ’93. She and her husband, Rev. Pine Wang ’93, who have spent a lifetime of ministry to the Chinese, hosted the recent Gospel for China conference, which was attended by 2,000 people, including many Moody graduates.
The Wangs’ affection for Moody began their first day of graduate school in 1991 when then vice president of Moody Bible Institute, Dr. Howard Whaley ’59, picked them up from a Chicago suburb and drove them to Moody’s opening ceremony. He let them store their luggage in his office and surprised them by his humility. “He was like a father, so kind, so humble,” says Pine. “We learned a lot from Dr. Whaley.”
Their good impression of Moody grew with the love and fellowship of Moody’s teachers and students, leading to a spiritual revival in their own lives. “We consider those two years the best years in our life,” Esther says.
After they completed their graduate degrees in Biblical Studies in 1993, they wrote a letter to Dr. Whaley. “We probably have not won the best scores in the class, but we are sure that we have gained more love, more biblical knowledge than anyone else in the school, for we came with the least.”
From China to the US
The Wangs both became Christians in China. Esther was born again in 1980 when an American missionary led her to study the Bible. In 1983 she married Pine Wang, a university student leader who rallied for democracy years before the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests. Pine became a Christian in 1990, and Esther says it’s a miracle that they were granted passports and permits to leave China and come to America.
But Pine’s political activism is a distant memory that he has no interest in revisiting. “I just want to tell the people, ‘Christ and Him crucified for us,’” he says, referring to 1 Corinthians 2:2, his favorite verse and the theme of every Gospel for China conference. “It is the core of the Bible. It’s the focus of our faith.”
“We probably have not won the best scores in the class, but we are sure that we have gained more love, more biblical knowledge than anyone else in the school, for we came with the least.”
The Wangs followed on the heels of more than a million Chinese who left China for other parts of the world in the early 1980s. Although the Wangs had hoped to move back to China after seminary, going back was not possible at the time. They were also burdened for the many Chinese who had found Christ in the United States and other places but were struggling in their spiritual growth.
From Prayer to Publisher
Pine and Esther began meeting weekly with a godly couple to pray for China and the Chinese people all over the world. Pine wanted to start a publishing ministry that was faithful to the Bible, but Esther wasn’t certain. She thought, “It’s too troublesome, very hard, a lot of work. Maybe it’s not God’s leading.” But after more prayer and counsel, she agreed, and in 1996 Pine and Esther started what is now Chinese Christian Life Fellowship, Inc.
Since then CCLife has published sermons, music CDs, daily online articles, and magazines for Chinese believers and intellectual seekers. They coordinate prayer rallies in local churches to pray for China and for church revival. Since 1999, they’ve also hosted the Gospel for China Conference in Chicago, Hong Kong, and Toronto, seeking to raise up Christians who will fulfill the Great Commission and commit to full-time ministry.
On the last night of the recent Gospel for China conference, December 2017, “It felt like Moody night,” says Junjiang Du ’18, who emceed the large event. After he said he was a Moody graduate, others followed suit, including Rev. John Chao ’89, the worship leader and a plenary speaker, Dr. Wenhui Gong ’08, speaker and missionary in Africa, and Pine Wang ’93, who founded the Gospel for China Conference in 1999. Meanwhile another Moody grad, William Wu MDiv ’16, was overseeing the English-version of the conference for Chinese-American youth.
In addition, a video was shown about Francis Julius Fitzwilliam ’25 and Jennie Kingston ’25, Moody alumni who were married in Shanghai and served with China Inland Mission in China until Francis died there in 1940. Their son later attended Moody, and their grandson followed in his grandfather’s footsteps in serving the Chinese.
At the altar call, more than 100 people made commitments to devote their lives to God in full-time ministry or missionary service.
One pastor who answered the call at the 2013 conference was the emcee in 2017, Junjiang Du. He left his career as a certified public accountant to earn his Master of Divinity at Moody Theological Seminary and was just installed in January as pastor of Chicago Northwest Suburban Chinese Christian Church, founded 40 years ago. Several Moody graduates were there to pray for Junjiang, including the interim pastor, Pine Wang, and William Wu, a former attorney who became the church’s youth pastor. Under the Wangs’ direction, William and his wife oversee the Grace Conference, which was started in 2009 to reach English-speaking Chinese American young people for Christ.
Also at the installation was Wenhui Gong, a missionary who served as pastor of CNSCCC until 2014. Formerly a successful businessman in China, Wenhui started a house church two years after trusting Christ but lacked a strong theological foundation. “Rev. Wang told me . . . Moody is the best seminary for pastors’ training. And what he said is true,” says Wenhui, who closed his business to earn his MDiv from Moody. His daughter Jin Hu ’14 and future son-in-law, Vu Che ’14, also attended Moody.
“I learned a lot. Moody is very, very important for my Christian life and also for my ministry,” says Wenhui, who is now a missionary with Chinese Diaspora Mission in Africa.
While persecution remains a constant challenge for believers in China, the Wangs say materialism, secular values, and prosperity theology are creeping into Chinese churches in the States and beyond. Conflicts arise between generations, and many young Chinese people who grew up in the church never return after completing university studies. That’s why the Wangs emphasize returning to the Bible.
“We do a lot of ministries: seminary, conference, training program, magazine, books,” Pine points out. “We are doing all ministries focused on the core—the cross. Pointing the people, the church, back to the Bible, focused on the cross. That’s all we are doing, have done, and will continue to do.”
To that end, they ask for prayer. “The time is harder for us to continue to preach only Jesus Christ and Him crucified, because people have become very open to all kinds of things,” he says. “But we have to continue.”
Linda Pienbrink is managing editor of Moody Alumni News.