Biography18 Aug 2010 09:39 am
Hong Xiuquan, the subject of today’s entry in “The Intellectual Devotional: Biographies,” led his 1851 “Taiping Rebellion” (which killed over 20 million people) in order to install himself as the Emperor of China. Throughout the fourteen-year rebellion, however, Xiuquan claimed that he was the brother of Jesus of Nazareth. It was an unusual sentiment in China at the time, to say the least. And it wouldn’t have been possible without Robert Morrison.
Morrison was the first Protestant missionary to enter China. He worked toward the conversion of China’s one billion inhabitants to Christianity. He managed ten baptisms. Unimpressive as that number may be, Morrison did also manage a translation of the entire Bible into Chinese, with the help of Liang Fa—China’s first Protestant minister, ordained by Morrison.
Fa was converted to Christianity after reading Morrison’s Bible. (Morrison had originally contacted Liang because he owned a printing press, and he needed help printing and distributing his translation in violation of Chinese law.) Morrison’s translation of the New Testament was complete and printed by 1813, and the Old Testament soon followed. He and Liang also published a number of commentaries and summaries of the Biblical texts. Twenty years later, in 1836, Hong Xiuquan would hear a missionary preaching from these texts. He decided, then and there, that things needed to change.
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