Sunday, October 9, 2011

From Christoph Blumhardt's Letters to His Son-In-Law, Missionary in China

The following is taken from "The Hidden Christ," a collection of letters sent in the early 20th century from Christoph Blumhardt, a German pastor, to his son-in-law, who was a missionary in China. These letters are a remarkable witness to the true gospel of God, which is free from the dictates of Church and State.

"God's love tears down old divisions. No longer religion against religion, Christians against non-Christians, but justice against sin, life against death. His love embraces everyone. Therefore, every person you encounter should be your concern. Do not settle for less. The whole world must see the glory of God. I long to see you free to share in the gifts God gives the Chinese. This is our hope, but its fulfillment will have to be fought for.

"God protects the oppressed. He will see to it that they receive his blessing. Today his spirit moves the upright hearts everywhere, without asking what kind of religion they cling to. Our task is to spread the gospel of Christ, not the gospel of Christians. Christ does not want separation. This is difficult for us to keep in mind. It is not easy to interact with sinners without yielding to the pressure of either compromising or distancing oneself. I hope, however, that we - you in China and I in Europe - will experience the all-embracing, creative power of Christ.

"This is why I choose to stand on the side of the humble, the working class. Tragically, the church has abandoned them to darkness. Yet this same church lives with this darkness, and in so doing absorbs the very same sinful principles that rule the world. Christians should serve, not rule. Their acts of violence make them worse than the so-called heathen.

"The chief thing is to be an apostle of Jesus Christ, not an apostle of the European Christian world. Have patience, and whatever you do, stay clear of forming a party. Your work must embrace the whole, then your integrity will win you everyone's trust.

-reprinted from Copyright 2002 by the Bruderhof Foundation, Inc. Used with permission

Commit Your Life

Commit your life to God. Do not commit your life to the church or your country. Commit your life to the Lord of all creation. You cannot commit your life to the church (or synagogue or mosque) and to God. You certainly cannot commit your life to your country or your country's ideology (or your church/synagogue/mosque's ideology) and God. As hard as it is to say, you cannot even commit your life to your family and to God. "You shall have no other gods before me" is the first commandment. Commit your life to God, God alone, and God will order the commitments in God's mercy and justice and love. After committing above all and unreservedly to God, I see my commitments falling in the following order: family, church, and my country's issues of justice. But, all commitments that are holy run together. When we commit unreservedly to God, it does not limit, but frees us. When we give our hearts to God in faith, our hearts become open to all God's causes in the world, often causes that are carried on by human beings who have nothing to do with religion.