Taiwan at a Turning Point: An Island in Danger

Dear Praying Friends:As never before, Taiwan needs our prayers. This island with more than 23 million Chinese faces multiple perils, with implications for the rest of the world.

Political Crisis

With elections for President coming up on March 22nd, Taiwan stands at a critical juncture. The two candidates represent the DPP and the KMT. The KMT man is ahead at this point. The current DPP president has alienated most of the people. Since he took office eight years ago, the economy has suffered greatly, and many blame him. He is an unindicted co-defendant with his wife on charges for fraud. She fainted on her first day in court more than a year ago, and has claimed that ill health prevents her appearance. In the eyes of many, this drama highlights the corrupt nature of his administration, while others say that the KMT was, and is, equally guilty. The general populace are disillusioned with the whole political process. The president has also angered the governments of China and the United States by pushing for full independence, in name as well as in fact, from Mainland China. He has put a referendum on the ballot calling for admission to the U.N. under the name “Taiwan.” This expresses the longing of most Taiwanese to be free from rule by the Communists, but is controversial. China has said that passage of this referendum would not be tolerated, raising the specter of war. With 1,000 missiles targeted on Taiwan, and many other military and economic weapons at hand, China could easily subdue the island. Most observers say that the Communists won’t do anything rash until after the Beijing Olympics, but some senior officials there say that preventing Taiwan’s official independence trumps the Games in importance. In 2004, a mysterious assassination at tempt on the President and Vice-President is credited with giving them a razor-thin victory, which was contested for months by the opposition. Anything can happen in this place of white-hot ethnic hostilities.

Social Crisis

Almost all the residents are Chinese, but those who came earlier resent the ones who arrived with the defeated KMT government in 1949. They have not forgotten the killing of thousands after riots six decades ago, and seek to expunge all references to “China” from education, claiming that they are Taiwanese, not Chinese. The so-called “Mainlanders” fell like unwanted aliens. Mutual resentment runs high. The crime rate, divorce rate, and use of drugs alarm everyone. Society seems to be coming unraveled.

Religious Crisis

Meanwhile, 98% of the people – of all classes – continue to worship their idols. On special days, the incense is thick, and the firecrackers loud. The Christian church constitutes a tiny minority. It is not growing. Some say that Christians are too busy making money. Others point to a “Gospel” that lacks life-changing power: “Believe in Jesus, and it will go well with you – in this life!” is the common theme. Evangelical publishing houses print translations of books from the West containing liberal theology. Prominent seminary teachers and preachers avoid saying that the Bible is inerrant, and are silent about the Cross of Christ or the radical demands of discipleship. All these factors have put pressure on the publishers of my books as well. The market is not good, so they have to print what appeals to the popular taste, rather than solid biblical teaching.

Pray for Taiwan and for Us

Your prayers can make a difference at this critical time. Ask God for: - Resolution of the political crisis, and protection from violence. - Spiritual hunger in both Christians and non-Christians, making them long for God and his Word. - Faithful witness by believers to the saving work of Christ to deliver us from our sins. More Christians to go to Taiwan to serve God there. - Widespread reading of the eleven volumes in print which I have written or edited. - Completion of the translation and publication of three others in preparation. - Completion of my guide to Carl Henry’s God, Revelation, & Authority, and publication of it in Taiwan. - Grace for our three associates there to shine like lights in the darkness. “Hallowed by Your name; Your kingdom come; Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Amen. Wright