“And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honoured, all the members rejoice with it” -1 Corinth 12:26
Christian persecution is increasing around the globe and most especially in China where Christian persecution is becoming most severe because of the surging popularity of the non-state-approved churches. Christianity is the newest growing missional and social movement within China hence, the church growth ‘has alarmed the ruling Communist Party, wary of any threats to its control.’ China is officially atheist, but millions of Christians, Buddhists and Muslims worship in government-controlled buildings. Our brothers and sisters in Christ in China are coming under increasing levels of persecution and hostility as they live and die for their faith. Many of them ‘continue to risk imprisonment, loss of their homes and possessions (including custody of their children), torture, beheading, rape and even death as a result of their faith.’
Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary explained that ‘the news out of China grows worse as reports of the arrest, detention, harassment, and beatings of Christians come from across China, … Central to this crackdown is the paranoia of the Communist Party.’ The sad news is that there is no existence of thriving ‘mediating institutions’, one of the hallmarks of democratic societies between the individual, the church and the government. According to Mohler, “One dimension of the Communist Party’s idolatry is that it allows no mediating institutions between its power and the individual … It greatly fears these organisations, especially the church. One reason — Christians in China now outnumber members of the Community Party.”
Chinese government continue to demolish churches with the paramilitary People’s Armed Police using diggers and dynamite to destroy churches. One example is the independent congregation, Golden Lampstand Church in the city of Linfen in Shanxi province that was razed three days ago. Golden Lampstand Church has a congregation of more than 50,000 and it is not a state-sanctioned place of worship. Another growing Christian denomination in China, Freedom House said Protestants had been “particularly affected by cross-removal and church-demolition campaigns, punishment of state-sanctioned leaders, and the arrest of human rights lawyers who take up Christians’ cases.” China has attempted to regulate Christianity by establishing the “Three-Self Patriotic” churches – both Protestant and Catholic. ChinaAid explained that, ‘hundreds of Christians have also been detained or arrested attempting to resist those demolitions.’
The testimony about what is happening in China points to the historical and biblical narratives that when Christians are under persecution, the Church flourishes. The Church in China is not turning their back to God’s future in the Second Coming of Jesus, rather they have set their faces like a flint knowing that they shall not be ashamed (Is 50:7). The Church in China, (especially house and underground churches) is growing at an unprecedented rate and China is on the way to become the largest Christian nation by 2030.
Pray for China
- Pray for the growth of believers from minority people groups. Small Christian communities continue to experience pressure from family, friends, and community in sensitive regions like Xinjiang and Tibet.
- Pray for Chinese Christians to stand strong amidst tightening religious restrictions and to engage in cross-cultural missions effectively.
- Pray that teenage and young believers will enter a deeper walk with Jesus in the midst of their materialistic environments. Pray for millions of Chinese Christians — practice their faith outside the control of the Party, worshipping in private or at so-called “house churches”
- Pray that Christ will reveal Himself to government officials who seek to control the church.