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Paul Hattaway: Shandong

Paul Hattaway, Shandong: The Revival Province (London, England: SPCK, 2018), 310 pages, ISBN 9780281078882.

Paul Hattaway is the founder and director of Asia Harvest, a ministry that seeks to equip the Asian church to reach its unreached people groups. He has done missionary work in China for thirty years. In addition to his missionary work he is a prolific author. He has written many books, most of which focus on Christianity in China. Shandong: The Revival Province is the first volume of The China Chronicles. This is a series of books that Hattaway is publishing that examines in detail the history of Christianity in the various provinces of China. Once it is complete this series will consist of about 22 books.

Many believers around the world are aware that Christianity has experienced tremendous growth in China. The church has, and is, growing by leaps and bounds in spite of experiencing significant persecution. Current estimates are that there are over 100 million Christians in China (page xiii). The author says that no one can take credit for this revival, it is the work of Jesus Christ (page xv).

This first book in The China Chronicles examines the foundations and growth of Christianity in the province of Shandong. The 2010 census indicates that at that time 95.8 million people lived there, the province covers over 60,000 square miles (page 1). The area is a little larger than the state of Georgia but has about 10 times as many people (page 1). Today approximately 5 million people in the Shandong province identify themselves as Christians (page 9). This is about 40 times more than there were in 1949 when Communism began (page 9). As you read this book, you will see that the revival truly is a group effort that has caused many to come to Christ. The Lord used many of His servants to bring about this growth, some of them were native Chinese and some were missionaries from other countries.

Those who are familiar with missions history will recognize the names of some of the missionaries who labored in this province:  Jonathan Goforth, Lottie Moon, Marie Monsen, and Eric Liddell (the Olympic runner whose life was featured in the film Chariots of Fire). It is interesting to note that these missionaries came from different denominational backgrounds. Goforth and Liddell were Presbyterians, Moon was a Southern Baptist, and Monsen was a Lutheran. Other lesser-known missionaries also made significant contributions to the gospel cause. These include Griffith John and Hunter Corbett. Corbett served in China for 57 years (page 19). Timothy Richard was another, his application to be a missionary was rejected by a major missionary organization, however, he did become a missionary and at the end of his career, he was regarded as one of greatest missionaries to China (pages 28-30). Lesser-known national workers, such as Wang Baogui, also played an important role in the spread of the gospel; he had a burden for the lost and reached out to areas in Shandong that had not been evangelized (pages 23-24). Another influential Chinese leader was Ding Limei who was involved in evangelism and theological education (pages 97-100). Some of the more well-known Chinese preachers who ministered in Shandong were Andrew Gih, Watchman Nee, and John Sung (pages 139-144). The reader will also be introduced to a significant church movement known as the Jesus Family (pages 158-172).

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Category: Church History, Fall 2019

About the Author: John P. Lathrop is a graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and is an ordained minister with the International Fellowship of Christian Assemblies. He has written for a number of publications and is the author of four books Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers Then and Now (Xulon Press, 2008), The Power and Practice of the Church: God, Discipleship, and Ministry (J. Timothy King, 2010), Answer the Prayer of Jesus: A Call for Biblical Unity (Wipf & Stock, 2011) and Dreams & Visions: Divine Interventions in Human Experience (J. Timothy King, 2012). He also served as co-editor of the book Creative Ways to Build Christian Community (Wipf & Stock, 2013). Amazon Author page. Facebook

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