Summary: John Stott says that Genesis 1-11 is really a preface to the rest of the bible in which we can see God´s plan and story enacted through a man named Abraham. Galatians 3:8 predicted that the gospel would be preached through Abraham to the entire world.
The Back to Jerusalem Vision given to the China church in the 1940's is a movement to take the gospel from where you are across the nations that are still unreached all the way back to Jerusalem. The great commission in the bible or the Back to Jerusalem Movement did not start in the New Testament as many people think but rather here in the Old Testament Genesis 12:1-3. Verses 1 and 2 represent the top line blessing (being blessed by God) and verse 3 represents the bottom line blessing (being a blessing to others).
Through the same faith as Abraham, we are to bless all the families of the earth (Galatians 3:7-9). The first mention of the great commission and world missions appears here in the Abrahamic covenant of the Old Testament. Today, we are seeing little distinction between mission sending countries and mission receiving countries which could mean that we are close to seeing the fulfillment of the Great Commission of our Lord Jesus Christ.
I. The World Mission Scene
(Around 65% of the total world pop of over 6 billion don´t know who Jesus is -
10% Know Jesus, 25% more go to church, 40% more have access to Christian witness, 25% more do not have access to Christian witness)
a. 155,000 new believers everyday (over 90% of growth is in the non-west)
b. 54,000 in Africa, 46,000 in Latin America, 43,000 in Asia and 12,000 in North America
c. 1000 new churches started every week
d. CCCOWE in 40 years has helped in the starting of 10,000 Chinese churches, sponsored 3000 long term Chinese missionaries, and has sent over 100,000 short term missionaries each year
II. Foundation of the Great Commission
a. Abrahamic covenant (Genesis 12:1-3)
i. God’s election plan to redeem a lost world (top – I will bless you/v. 2b)
ii. Missionary call of “being blessed to be a blessing” (Bottom – in you all people or families on earth will be blessed)
b. Responsibility of Israel and the Church
i. God’s chosen missionary to the world (Disobedience to bottom half – ie. Israel failed to witness to Egypt and neighboring nations/ prophet Jonah)
ii. God always uses the minority to reach the majority (Will Churches be disobedient to the bottom line?)
III. BJM vision and the focus on the 10/40 window of unreached or least reached people group
a. Mark Ma and Ho en Cheng's vision in the 1940´s and the promise of the Muslim nations given to the China church
b. International cooperative efforts of BJM to do evangelism and church planting all the way back to Jerusalem in anticipation of Christ´s return
IV. If the entire world is to be evangelized and Great Commission completed
a. Every church obedient to the great commission and second half of the blessing in mission involvement
b. Total mobilization of every believer in the church
c. Other plans and strategies as directed by Holy Spirit
V. Shifts in World Missions today
a. Countries where missionaries are now being sent from
b. My experience in Kazakhstan and Central Asia (silk road region)
As an overseas Chinese raised in America, I first learned about the "Back to Jerusalem Vision", at a Korean Mission Conference in 2003. Many missions agencies gathered together near Chicago were interested in this vision given to the church in China. It was a vision that multiple Chinese Christian evangelists had during the same time in China in different locations where God spoke to them individually about taking the gospel outside of China mainly westward to the Islamic world in order to complete the Great Commission. They were also to consider to go to the China province of Xinjiang where many muslims lived before heading out. The vision saw perhaps more than 100,000 Chinese missionaries (foot soldiers) being raised up to evangelize muslims and other ethnic groups such as buddhist and hindus in the unreached areas of the 10/40 window all the way back to Jerusalem.
In 2007, I was invited by Dr. Thomas Lee to teach English to a group of "Back to Jerusalem" missionaries in China and was amazed at their passion for sharing the gospel outside of China in completion of the Great Commission. They were attending an intercultural training school where Christian volunteers from around the world would come in for a week or two to teach a course in bible, theology, and languages such as Arabic, English, etc. After 1-2 years of training, the students would do an internship in a Muslim populated area in China. I was surprised to find that many of them were quite young and did not have a high school or college education.
According to Dr. Thomas Lee, president of a Bible Institute in Hong Kong, there are probably more than 500 Chinese missionaries from China in 2007 that have already left China to give themselves to the Back to Jerusalem vision and movement. They are in the Middle East, Northern Africa, Central Asia, the Indian subcontinent, and Southeast Asia. Many more are getting ready to leave. There is a great need for proper preparation and training for these often eager but inexperienced missionaries. Mission agencies that are already working in these precarious areas would do well to offer guidance and assistance to these Chinese missionaries.