Christian Persecution in China

By Ron Pearce

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The situation for the Church in China is changing rapidly. I want to bring you up to date on the current conditions as well as explain Empower’s emphasis, in regards to this serious news. As you read this stunning synopsis, please be in prayer for the Church in China.

The two most common questions asked of me concerning the Church in China today are, What are the current conditions like for believers in the world’s most populous nation (1.4 billion)?” and secondly, How can I pray effectively for them?” The second question is easy to answer — The Holy Spirit will guide you in your prayers once you understand the present situation, all of which I will concisely outline for you in these two pages.

The Way of the Cross

China shifted to communist rule in 1949. Suffering and persecution became widespread and normal” for Christians. Chinese believers came to understand that faith in Jesus comes with a price, and thus the phrase was coined in the underground house church movement—The way of the Cross. President Xi Jinping has become the most powerful leader in China’s history, consolidating his power and making amendments to the Constitution of China whereby eliminating term limits on his office of president. His primary goal is to strengthen loyalty to the Communist Party and destroy all forces that the government deems a threat. He views Christianity as a significant danger to the country and his leadership because Christians are so unified and pledge allegiance to another foreign leader – Jesus Christ.

Widespread Crackdown on Believers

On February 2, 2018, the government introduced a new, sweeping religious law that placed widespread constraints upon both the house church movement and the government-run Three-Self Patriotic Church. The initial intent of this law was to limit the size of unofficial religious gatherings to no more than 15 attendees. However, it became increasingly clear that the government and the police were moving far past this point and were instituting further limitations, such as the following:

The New Communist-friendly” Chinese Bible

Currently under development, and soon to be released by the Religious Affairs Department of the government, is the revised and edited Bible, designed to come into line with communist values and doctrine. The house church leaders are expecting a false translation that removes many sections of the Bible as well as the true meaning of the Gospel. Passages that teach on the resurrection, sin, the Holy Spirit, supernatural miracles, the Second Coming of Christ, and salvation in Jesus alone, will likely be altered or completely removed. As of this writing, the sale of Bibles through government churches has almost entirely ceased. Online apps/​websites that contain the Chinese Bible are frozen in-country. Soon to follow the release of the new Bible will be an official Chinese Theology manual that will specify acceptable government-approved doctrine that ALL pastors must teach.

The Most Recent Development

The government is now declaring that all religious talk” is strictly prohibited. Any religious messages or words placed on the internet, text messages, phone conversations or verbal conversations between individuals outside of official church buildings result in severe penalties. There will be zero tolerance for disseminating Bible text or biblical teaching.

Looking Forward

The last 20 years have been somewhat stable for the house church in China leaving it to grow to 120 million believers or more. Pastors could carefully do ministry, disciple their congregations and win people to the Lord daily without too much government resistance. However, this is no longer the case. This attack on the Church in China will force change while at the same time producing spiritual maturity within the Body of Christ, according to house church leaders. Large house churches are breaking up into dozens of small house church gatherings, which means there is an immediate need for more trained pastors/​elders and well as unaltered Chinese Bibles that are now in short supply. Empower Ministries International will continue its work to produce Bibles in China through secretive methods, train young pastors in the Word of God, and care for the needs of those pastors and their families sent to jail for their faith and ministry.

The government is now declaring that all religious talk” is strictly prohibited

The Good News

The best possible news that I can give you is that the Church in China continues to grow and expand. The Holy Spirit is providing new insights and offering strategies to the Church leaders in China to compensate for the increased persecution and restrictions. The bottom line is that blood and suffering probably will be the price tag to see millions more Chinese people come to Christ.

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