Title: Shandong: The Revival Province
Author: Paul Hattaway
Major Themes: China, Chinese Christians, the Church, Faith, Persecution
Synopsis: A portrait of what Christ’s church looked like in China from the 1860s through the 2010s.
It took me months to finally finish Shandong, but even though my reading time was prolonged, I learned so much from it that I have a hard time imagining going any faster. There’s so much in this book.
I feel like over the past few months, I’ve been on a journey—an accidental one, but a journey nonetheless. Within a short space of time, I read Shandong: The Revival Province, most of The Insanity of God, and came across the Open Doors Live podcast. While each one is impactful in its own way, the combination of all three has really given me pause to think about the broader church and what that actually means and how the Lord is working in His people in different areas. The results definitely aren’t “in”, yet, but they have caused a very insightful season in my life.
Spanning from the 1860s—when the first successful missions by protestant missionaries began (or so I am assuming!)—until the 2010s, this book provides a fascinating overview of the Chinese church in the province of Shandong. Mixing history, historical documents (including letters), and many different stories, this book is a medley of unique colors and textures, all coming together to bring honor to our King and Savior, Jesus.
There were so many intriguing and challenging aspects to this book. You don’t have to read very far to come across something that will leave you speechless, either in wonder at what God has done in other Christian’s lives or in pondering what implications this could have in your own life if you applied the principles to yourself. That’s one mark of a good biography that I appreciate—it not only reflects Jesus and His bride and His work, but it reflects my heart as well and shows me where I need to change.
If you’re interested in missions work of any kind, or learning more about Christ and His church, this would be an excellent resource. Some chapters may seem long, but the stories and details contained in each one are well worth your time and I’m sure you’ll find many interesting and applicable facts along the way. Highly recommended!
I requested a review copy of this book, and this is my honest opinion of it.
WARNING: Cannibalism is mentioned in the 1870s section, under “Famine relief”. The section about the Boxer Rebellion is pretty graphic, as a missionary was killed after he tried to defend himself, and other Christians suffered similar fates. A man was almost beaten to death in the Lottie Moon section (1900s). In the 1910s section, it’s mentioned that women and girls suffered a lot at the hands of Japanese soldiers.
Reading Independently—Ages 15 and Above, Adults