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Revival, Truth, and Persecution: An interview with Eugene Bach

Although some disciples went eastward, their works were not recorded in canonical writings. Instead, Luke transitions from Peter – who traveled west – to Paul – who travels further west.

In Acts 16:6-10 we see that Paul wanted to go “east” but the Holy Spirit stopped him. Then he attempted to go north to Bithynia, but was stopped by the spirit of Jesus. Instead, he traveled west to Europe.

This led me on a journey following the history of the church as it spread from the Middle East to Africa, Europe, the Americas, and then around to Asia. In Asia we currently have both the world’s largest revival (China) and the world’s largest church (South Korea), but between Asia and Jerusalem is the notorious 10/40 Window. This is the area that is resisting revival and is the last frontier for missions.

Every instance I found of revival, I found persecution to be her constant companion.

This gap, the area between Asia and Jerusalem, is the area of the world that is the final link in the chain to Complete the Great Commission.

I traveled for more than six years to more than 20 countries following the history of revival, and I barely scratched the surface in this road trip Bible study. What would you say are some of the key factors that have caused the gospel to spread?

Eugene Bach: There were several factors that we find in our study, but the one factor that I found over and over again is one that I wish I had not – persecution. Unfortunately, every instance I found of revival, I found persecution to be her constant companion. At any point in your research did you find a time or a place where the importance of the ministry of the Holy Spirit was particularly highlighted?

Eugene Bach: Every instance where we found revival, we found evidence of the Holy Spirit. We did however find that it was very important to not try to dictate how the Holy Spirit moves and operates, because at each step in history, we found that the way the Holy Spirit works is unique to the people being ministered to.

We did not find a Holy Spirit ‘formula’ that manifested the same way each time. What we found in our study was that the operation of the Holy Ghost in history has been proven to be as diverse as His presence throughout Scripture. What, if any, connection have you found between revival and persecution?

Eugene Bach: Day 18 of the road trip Bible Study is labeled: “Revivals Contagion – Persecution.”

The connection between revival and persecution was a bit scary, because our Western society seems to have a strong aversion to persecution. I only say that because of our current debate about what we find offensive.

This portion takes a bit more unpacking and does not fit as nicely into a two paragraph answer.

There are moments when our ignorance makes truth hurtful and offensive and we, in the West, can feel persecuted.

Our lack of understanding of God can make His actions seem offensive to us. If I am honest, His seeming silence and absence on so many matters are often times offensive to us, and few things in modern society today are more egregious than being offensive. On many college campuses today, being offensive, is considered to be the highest of crimes.

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Category: Ministry, Winter 2019

About the Author: Eugene Bach is a pseudonym for a member of the Chinese underground church who does not wish to be identified. He was trained in U.S. military special operations and served two tours in the Persian Gulf and Asia–Pacific region, serving primarily as a member of a rapid response team focusing on targeted threat elimination, counterterrorism, and security. He has been working with the underground church in China for about twenty years, helping them to establish forward mission bases in closed countries around the world, including Iraq and Syria. Eugene leads the Chinese mission movement called Back to Jerusalem, which provides essential support for Chinese missionaries in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. He is the author or co-author of I Stand with Christ: The Courageous Life of a Chinese Christian (2015), The Underground Church (2014), Leaving Buddha: A Tibetan Monk's Encounter With the Living God (2019), Jesus In Iran (2015), and other books about the underground church in places like China, North Korea, and Iran.

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