Last month images and video of a cross burning on top of a church in Hunan provoked fears of increased government pressure on churches. Due in part to reports of cross removals in certain parts of China in recent years, some Christians speculated that this fire last month was deliberately lit, spreading fear online that the government stepped up a campaign against Christian churches.
Those fears were unfounded, reports China Christian Daily, who interviewed the pastor of the church. Although the church had agreed with the government to remove the cross, the fire appears to have been accidental. China Christian Daily shares more on this story.
Cross Accidentally on Fire in Henan Was Not Forcibly Removed as Rumors Said
On September 20, 2017, pictures and video circulating online that showed a cross of a church in Henan province on fire caused concern among many Chinese Christians.
The Gospel Times contacted the local pastor to find out the exact cause of the fire.
There was speculation that the cross on top of Holy Grace Church in Tanghe County, Henan province was forcibly demolished. During the fire a crane was also seen operating [at the church].
Although the building had been complete for years the church failed to go through all the legal procedures. The church was not officially registered because the local government was too busy with other affairs to review the church documents.
The church decided to construct the facility while settling legal procedures, but the procedures were not completed even after construction. Though the church kept in close contact with the local government, it was still illegal for Christians to gather in the church.
During the registration approval process, local authorities proposed removing the cross and the church agreed.
The local church pastor said the fire was caused when a gas cylinder blew while a worker cut down the cross with a torch. Fortunately, there were no injuries.
The church is currently in negotiations with the local authorities and needs to provide more documentation to legalize its facility. The church leader called on prayer for the legalization.
Original Article: Cross Accidentally on Fire in Henan Was Not Forcibly Removed as Rumors Said (China Christian Daily)
Edited and reposted with permission.
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