First Missionary to China

Two hundred years ago today, on September 7, 1807, the first Protestant missionary set foot on Chinese soil. John Piper writes:

His name was Robert Morrison. He was a Scottish Presbyterian, and except for one furlough, he spent the next 27 years in China. Persevering against the hostility of official opposition and the resistance of foreign merchants, Morrison baptized the first Chinese Protestant Christian, Cai Gao, on July 16, 1814. After the baptism of Cai Gao, Morrison wrote prophetically in his journal, “May he be the first-fruits of a great harvest, one of millions who shall come and be saved on the day of wrath to come.”

Piper goes on to share about the great harvest of believers that has taken place in China over the past two hundred years and continues to grow. He also shares the dream of many Chinese believers to take the gospel into Muslim lands in a campaign called “Back to Jerusalem.”

I am inspired by Morrison’s perseverance in sharing the gospel for nearly seven years before baptizing his first convert. Piper draws a further lesson from Morrison’s life:

One of the lessons to draw from this anniversary of the arrival of Protestant Christianity in China is that we cannot measure the significance of our lives in our own lifetime. Robert Morrison could not see what we see. It is astonishing.

Finally, Piper recommends a four-part video series issued in 2003, called “The Cross: Jesus in China” which interviews many leaders of the current revival in China. The videos are available for free download at ChinaSoul. I encourage you to visit the Desiring God website to read the full article on China and missions.

1 Comment

  1. Sharon Gamble says:

    I am inspired by that kind of perseverance, too. I am reminded of a book by (I think) Eugene Peterson entitled “A Long Obedience in the Same Direction”. That is what we are called to!

Leave a Reply