Between 1830 and 1949, China became the largest Protestant mission field in the world, occupying up to 8,000 missionaries at any one time. It also became the scene of Protestant mission’s largest massacre when, in 1900, a rabidly anti-Christian group known as the Society of Harmonious Fists, or the Boxers, waged a virtual war against believers. The enemy was foreign influence. They decided the “primary devils” were the Christian missionaries, and the “secondary devils” were the Chinese converts to Christianity. Both had to recant or be driven out or killed. One hundred and eighty-nine Protestant missionaries, including 53 children, (and many Roman Catholic priests and nuns) were killed by Boxers and Chinese soldiers in northern China. An estimated 2,000 Protestant Chinese Christians also were killed. The China Inland Mission lost more members than any other organization: 58 adults and 20 children were killed. Among them was missionary Lizzie Atwater who wrote her family on August 3, 1900:
“Dear, how long I am eager to see you, but I am afraid I will not be on the ground. I love you very much, because on the ground I have never been as close to you as my brothers and sisters, and you will not Forget me who is sleeping in China. I will safely wait for the last moment to come. The Lord is wonderfully close to me. He will not disappoint me. I used to be nervous and inexplicable for a chance, but God, that feeling has also been removed. Now I only ask the Lord to give grace, and I can bravely face the terrible ending. The pain will soon pass, oh! It will be followed by the opening of the door to welcome our sweetness!”
“When I was eating, no one spoke. Everyone was waiting for the last moment. I even hoped that the moment would come soon. At this last moment, heaven seems so close, I feel very calm. In the sky. I will hold a happy welcome for all of us. I am paying more and more attention to my future glory, so that I am full of wonderful peace.”
“I can’t imagine how the Savior will greet me, but I am sure that I can compensate for the worrying suspense of today. At this moment, I really need to be calm and steady. I have no regrets to come to China. The only regret is that I only did this. a little bit.”
Some days later the Atwaters perished. But they did not perish for nothing. When tensions subsided the missionary army returned, remaining until the members of all departed or were expelled by the Communists in 1949. The number of Chinese Christians grew to about 4 to 7 million by 1980, and has since blossomed to an estimated 44 million—and counting.
Our people defeated Satan because of the blood of the Lamb and the message of God. They were willing to give up their lives. (Revelation 12:11)
ALSO ON THIS DAY
1872 – Lord Shaftesbury, a combatant of white slavery, laid the foundation stone of a large housing complex named after him at Battersea.