Missions rep introduces students to the Back to Jerusalem Movement

Posted: October 19, 2010

By Amy Robertson


missions representative introduced nearly 70 students to a missions vision called the Back to Jerusalem Movement at 28:19, Briercrest College and Seminary’s annual missions conference.

The representative, who presented Friday, October 2 in Reimer Hall, asked to remain nameless for security reasons.

The rep described the Back to Jerusalem Movement as a missions vision that began in the early 20th century. Han Chinese believers began to move out of the country and into the Middle East to spread the Gospel. The movement is unique in that it’s not affiliated with a central authority structure like a church or missions organization.

In China and many countries in the Middle East, where public proselytizing is illegal, the rep explained, it’s safer that way.

Essentially, Han Chinese Christians from China will simply get up and go share the Gospel. Most are lifetime tentmakers who will seek work in the country they choose to settle in, and they live simply, so finances are not an issue.

The rep explained that Han Chinese are much less fearful of persecution and death than most North American missionaries. “They feel they are expendable,” he said. “(They think,) if I die, five more will replace me.”

“They throw caution to the wind,” he continued, which can be a problem—but it often means that more are able to hear the Gospel.

Because of government oppression, the rep explained, Han Chinese people have a different view of government—that is, they’re less concerned with obeying the letter of the law. They have no trouble holding multiple passports, they’re willing to cross borders illegally, and they’re not afraid of landing in jail. They also have no moral qualms about breaking out of jail.

Another problem they face, the rep said, is a lack of theological training—many go out with no education at all.

He told a story of a group of Chinese missionaries who crammed into a hotel room—after trickling in a few at a time, to avoid notice—and sat for a 12-hour Bible course.

The rep offered listeners several tips for remaining safe as a Back to Jerusalem Movement missionary.

One was having an open home with nothing to hide—if missionaries are friends with the people they live among, they avoid suspicion.

He also recommended cutting off all communication with the West. Often, missionaries in China need to be extremely careful with the information they put online. Encryption and other tools that maintain security can arouse suspicion—so for safety reasons, it’s often best to avoid communicating sensitive information with the West at all.

For more news about this year’s 28:19, visit our campus news archives.