In the past six months or so, more than 4,000 crosses have been removed from churches in China by force. These crosses were not removed just from unregistered house churches; some were removed from government-recognized Three-Self churches. Many church services and meetings in Beijing, Henan, Anhui, Shanxi, Guangdong, Sichuan, Jiangxi, Shandong, Gansu, and other places were interrupted and leaders detained. Some church buildings were demolished and church property confiscated.
The Three-Self churches in Henan province have been instructed to merge allowing for just two churches per designated region. In April of this year, the 50,000-member Golden Lampstand Church in Shanxi province was one of the many Christian churches demolished by dynamite by the authorities, all part of what is being described as a national effort to regulate spiritual life in China. Youth and children under 18 are no longer allowed to attend church meetings and Sunday schools.
According to reliable sources, the Chinese government has ordered the Religious Affairs Bureau to enforce a total crackdown on the house church movement in China. However, this is not happening only to Christian churches, but the Catholic Church, Buddhism, Islam, and other religions are also being affected.
In the past decade or so, the church in China has been experiencing rapid growth in numbers, especially in the new urban churches. Religious activities were more open because of the relaxation of government control. But since the current regime took power five years ago, conditions have changed tremendously and authorities appear to be trying fiercely to return religious control to that which took place during the Mao era. However, after China’s economic reformation and openness to the world, this cannot happen so easily.
Thanks to the openness of the internet and the new global village, we can voice our concerns internationally with little interruption. We are calling on Christians worldwide to pray for China and the church in China. We are praying for the unity of the Chinese church, and that this time of suffering and purging would call forth a new awakening and revival of our brothers and sisters.
Also pray for religious freedom in China. It benefits not only those who believe, it benefits the country as a whole. Countries which provide religious freedom also reap other benefits. For instance, job opportunities are created by religious organizations such as orphanages, elder-care homes, hospitals, kindergartens, drug rehab centers, youth centers, and poverty relief agencies. According to research by the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation, religious growth can be good for the workplace and for the bottom line of businesses as long as it is accompanied by the respect of governments and societies for the freedom of religion and belief.
Please join our Facebook prayer group: Christians United For China (CUFC) and pray together in a unified, worldwide effort. We already have over 300 members including Christians from SE Asia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Korea, Japan, India, Philippines, Africa, Europe, Australia, Canada, and the USA. Please join us as we hope to have over 1000 prayer partners by the end of 2018.
We are especially calling on Christians in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau where religion is still being practiced freely to pray earnestly for our kinsmen inside mainland China. May God have mercy on China!
Clarence "Chuck" Chan, a graduate of Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, CA, USA and chairperson of Pacific Rim Foundation, LTD (Hong Kong), currently lives in southern China with his wife Queenie. He is involved in China research, leadership, and theological training. In the past two decades, he and his colleagues …View Full Bio
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