Christian Science Monitor recently gave a very helpful overview of the Chinese government’s current response to the deepening establishment of the Christian faith in that land. Below is a summary of key ideas:
o Church Accessibility. The opening story is of Chong Yi Church, one of China’s largest, and how there’s nothing secret about it. “Nearly everything at the church is conspicuously open: the front gate, the front door, the sanctuary, the people, the clergy. Chinese or not, you are welcome seven days a week.” This church is an official, registered Protestant church.
o More Christians than Community Party Members. This growth, though welcome, raises questions. “As evangelical Christianity grows sharply, officials fear it could undermine their authority. Already, Christians may outnumber members of the Communist Party. That has far-reaching implications both for Chinese society and for a party that frowns on unofficial gatherings and other viewpoints. In China, party members cannot be Christian.”
o Over Half Meet in Unregistered House Churches. More than half of China’s Protestants attend illegal “house churches” that meet privately.
o Christianity Also Grew Prior to the Cultural Revolution. The first Protestant church was built in 1848. “Every city of importance had a church.” Christians also contributed to other fields: “Missionaries founded China’s first 16 colleges.”
o Removal of Crosses. In January of 2014, Gulou Church officials were informed by Chinese officials that the large cross atop their 134 year old church was scheduled to be removed. In the past year, authorities have “stripped or desecrated” more than 426 church crosses. “Crackdowns on Christians are nothing new in China. What is different is how broad and systematic the suppression has been and how the state, for the first time, is attacking official churches.”
o Your Bible Could Come from China. In recent years China has become the world leader in Bible printing. In 2012 Amity Printing Company in Nanjing passed the 100 million mark in Bibles published in China since the opening in the early 1980s.
What God is doing in China is something to watch, pray for, and support as possible. Please add your thoughts below.