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Faith in the Wilderness: Words of Exhortation from the Chinese Church

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Faith in the Wilderness

2023 Christianity Today Book Award of Merit for Missions & Global Church

“If we want revival in our communities, then let us learn from those being revived.”

For many Western Christians, the experience of suffering and persecution is remote. For Chinese Christians, on the other hand, persecution is a regular aspect of the Christian life. If a Christian from the West was transported to a Chinese house church, the topic of suffering would be ever-present in preaching and conversation. With decades of persecution under government oppression and a rich theology of suffering, the Chinese house church movement has much to contribute theologically to the global church.

In Faith in the Wilderness, editors Hannah Nation and Simon Liu pull together the insights of the Chinese Church for the West. These sermonic letters from Chinese Christians pull back the curtain on the pastoral heart and hope behind the house church’s remarkable faithfulness, awakening readers to the reality of the gospel—the ground of our hope—in the midst of darkness. Readers will be convicted, encouraged, and edified by the testimony of these Chinese Christians.


Praise for Faith in the Wilderness

Let us learn from the witness of our Chinese brothers and sisters so that we can stand fast all the better as we face trials wherever we live.

—Tim Keller, from the foreword

Feed yourself on the riches here; you will be thankful that you did.

—Paul Tripp

...a timely resource for Christians in the freer world.

—K.A. Ellis

These sermons challenge our complacency and self-pity with Christ-centred gospel faith, hope, and joy.

—Christopher J. H. Wright

Top Highlights

“The theology of suffering represented by the sermons contained in this book has three aspects. First, it states that the Christian’s union with Christ reveals the broken state of the world.” (Page 3)

“What we need the most now is to repent, rather than to ‘stay strong;’ to confess our sins, rather than to boast of ourselves; to bear responsibility, rather than to shift blame; to speak up, rather than to keep silent.” (Page 22)

“He knew very clearly that, while God sends disasters, he can also stop them. He can afflict you, but he can also heal you, and he is the most merciful. To fall into the hand of God resigns ourselves to providence, which is the best choice in a difficult situation.” (Page 17)

“The word translated ‘meddler’ is an amazing Greek word. It means to be a busybody or to be tactless. What Peter and Jesus are saying is, if you are talking about your Christian faith in a feckless way, a tactless way, an abrasive way, an insensitive way, a culturally inappropriate way, and people oppose you, don’t say, ‘I am being persecuted for Jesus’s sake!’ No, you are being persecuted for your sake. If you are being obnoxious, the promise of blessedness doesn’t hold.” (Page xx)

“He replied: ‘I am in great distress. Let us fall into the hand of the Lord, for his mercy is great; but let me not fall into the hand of man’ (2 Samuel 24:14).” (Pages 16–17)

  • Foreword by Tim Keller
  • A Church Acquainted with Suffering
  • Meditations on Brokenness
    • “Let Us Fall into the Hand of the Lord” by Guo Muyyn
    • “A Deadly World” by Simon Liu
    • “Sin and Hell” by Yang Xibo
  • Meditations on Redemption
    • “Why We Must Pursue Christ” by Brian Li
    • “True Love” by Victor Guo
    • “Never Lost” by Chen Yi
  • Meditations on Hope
    • “Test of Faith” by Noah Wang
    • “Our Hope” by San Shou
    • “On the Other Side of the Sea” by Paul Peng
  • Title: Faith in the Wilderness: Words of Exhortation from the Chinese Church
  • Editors: Hannah Nation & Simon Liu
  • Publisher: Kirkdale Press
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Page Count: 168
  • Format: Logos Digital, Paperback
  • Trim Size: 5.25x8
  • ISBN: 9781683596042

Hannah Nation is managing director for the Center for House Church Theology and content director for China Partnership. She is co-editor of Grace to the City: Studies in the Gospel from China.

Simon Liu is a pastor and mentor to pastors in China. Over the past decade, he has been involved in over 140 church plants across China.


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  1. Rashad Cunningham
    I received this book in the midst of my own "wilderness" . It really puts suffering and persecution in "perspective". As someone who adores Tim Keller I was thankful for his introduction as well. A statement that lands hard is how they speak of "The way of the Cross" ... I think overall, this shows that COMFORT may be our greatest idol... because COMFORT is the enemy of "The way of the Cross"
  2. Aaron Lee

    Aaron Lee


    What can the Western Church learn from Chinese Christians? Edited by Hannah Nation and Simon Liu, Faith in the Wilderness presents words of exhortation from the Chinese Church. God’s Sovereignty in the Pandemic and Persecution In a moving foreword by Timothy Keller and an insightful introduction by Hannah Nation, we get a glimpse of the current situation in the Chinese House Church. The pandemic and persecution are the background of this book, and brokenness, redemption, and hope are the main themes. Though there is sorrow in suffering, fiery trials show the true character of our faith. God is involved, actually behind it all, and challenging you in love. God’s sovereignty is stamped across this book. Understanding that God is in control should cause us to speak out on his behalf, calling out sin, while pointing to the cross. Jesus is the King who brings peace, truth, hope, and love. Every chapter is a gold mine, full of wisdom and simple sentences that are strikingly profound: “In the midst of a pandemic, we should not only begin storing up food but we should also store up the bread from heaven that can feed us spiritually and give us the hope for eternity.” Practical Theology and a Sense of Reality While you might assume this book is full of practical advice for facing persecution, it is actually filled with theology. Sin, heaven and hell, and redemption are discussed and shown to be important. But this theology does not return empty. It provokes love and joy for fellow Christians. Ideas of trying to earn salvation by good works and pursuing things of this world are combated. The notion of diligent work and hard study for a happy life in the future is dismantled. The importance of not wasting your life, taking spiritual responsibility, and pursuing Christ are championed. I was gripped with a sense of reality while reading. Danger is all around us. We live precarious, delicate lives. But we do not live in fear. Rather, we go out with boldness for the gospel and courage in the God who can shut the lions’ mouth. “The mission of a Christian is fearless faith in a deadly world.” An emphasis on the eschatological life of faith puts things into perspective. Suffering prepares us for honor in heaven. Death is always at our doorstep. Live a Life of Greater Faith After reading this book, I am challenged to live a life of greater faith. I am reminded to pray for my brothers and sisters in China who are facing persecution. I found myself wanting to read more of their encouraging words. Their reward is great, and we have a great God. I am encouraged by their testimonies, stirred by their stories, and hope for the day we will walk out of the wilderness of this world. We will see the calm sea of glass. Our faith will become sight. I received a media copy of Faith in the Wilderness and this is my honest review.


Print list price: $16.99
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