Persecution Blog: Palau is off base

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November 22, 2005

Comments

Rev. Angela L. Davis

When I first heard of Brother Palau's advice to the Christians in China I too was appalled. Likewise, I am very respectful of his great good works for all of us and the Lord in worldwide evangelism. Your call for a retraction is most warrented and appropriate. BUT I think it is also time for the US brethren to take a good hard look at exactly what they are trading away by being registered with our own governement. Like our Chinese brethren we do not have to break laws to do Church without an "IRS 501(c)3 status an a non or not for profit corporation." That is the US equivilent of registering. Both with the State and Federal Governemnts. How often do the people attending their "local" Church look at the time and resources spent acquiring such classifications? Or the time, wage, and bookkeeping requirements of keeping it? And for what benefit? To avoid paying taxes on group owned land? And building? Really, what is so wrong with paying taxes instead and for those who simply use someones home for rent a small space for worship and fellowship what is the monitary benefit?

When was the last time we in North America counted it an honor to hire a Pastor who'd been imprisoned in this country for their faith? Oh, it doesn't happen here."? If it isn't happening here, we are not Christians. And the facts are, it happens everyday. A sister in Christ, a Beleiver, just went against the Alaska State and won her case with their State Supreme Court. But is anyone honoring her as an (almost) martyr? She has won human rights for vast numbers of people, Christian and not in that State but we still pretend it isn't happening here. Many have died. Many. And if I knew of one single Pastor in my city who's ever been arrested for his faith like so many others have in this country, not to mention tortured as so many are too, and have been, I'd respect that man. And I doubt I'd have a job here. Which would be just fine with me. Rev. Palau needed to wake up to much more than the foolishness of advising Chinese Christains to register with their government.

Mike

I'm so glad that Louis Palau is one of a very few number of Western Christian leaders who is finally beginning to see China for what is really happening there! Chinese Christians are more free to worship Jesus Christ than at any time in history. In my years of China ministry, it has been wonderful to see the ministry that is now happening through the registered church. These pastors are broadly orthodox and solidly evangelical in their theology, and have no restrictions on what they can preach.

It seems clear that the author of this weblog and those posting comments have not been to China and seen for themselves all the changes that are taking place. The weblog author writes that the "Government-approved pastors are strongly discouraged from preaching about the second coming of Christ (the “doomsday theory”) from the book of Revelation or Daniel.
4. No children under 18 are allowed to attend Church meetings."

Yeah, maybe 25 years ago these two statements would be true, but if you actually would go to China and attend a registered church service, you'd find the Children's Sunday School rooms full of kids who are recieving great teaching and that the sermons have no limits as to where they can go. In fact, one of Beijing's largest churches recently did a book of Revelation study as a part of their Sunday night services. And my interviews with unregistered church Christians also indicates that they worship Christ without interference. In a recent Wall Street Journal Article, a teacher of an unregistered seminary put it best when he says that “You have to realize that China is not a strict place…. If your relations with officials are good, you can do whatever you like…” This statement nicely summarizes what I am continually finding as I investigate the current situation. In May 2005, I interviewed a Beijing house church pastor who told stories of using the local Kinko’s to produce a massive amount of tracts and other Christian material. His eight house churches worship freely and openly without fear of government intervention.

It seems clear to me that we in the West need to re-set our paradigm about China. Thanks again to Louis Palau for treating the Chinese with respect, as equals, and for seeing the Chinese Christians situation for what it really is.

Stacy L Harp

Great Post Todd - you're a natural! :)

bryan

thankyou for writing this post. I agree w/ Daniel "it is sad when prominent western Christian leaders get fooled by an oppressive government's propaganda machine." While mr. Paulau's motives may be genuine and wholesome these can sometimes be just the right mixture for trouble for others. God forbide that WE minimize the suffering of His servants who are seeking to live according to their conscience before the King. Even though some may feel our brethrens' arrests and suffering have been brought on by over zealous security police or for that matter over zealous Christian witness. I feel that it is not our place to call into question their convictions regarding state or federal law especially while removed from the normal experiences of the daily culture in which they live (especially when they have legitimate fears of arrest, torture and imprisonment). Most of us know that something is remiss in China's handleing of "religious freedoms". I still feel the safest place for us (westerners) is to be on our knees praying for the family of God in China, both those who have registered (under strong conviction or weakness, i'll not be the judge) that they remain uncompromised in The faith and those unregistered (under strong conviction or rebellion, i'll still not be the judge) that they stay strong in the Lord.

Paul's words in principle refer to strong convictions, "...It is before his own master that he stands of falls. he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand, Rom 14:4

www.bryanstupar.blogspot.com

Dennis

Good comments...I recently read "The Heavenly Man"...I suggest it as a "first hand" account of the deception of China's state-run "Christianity".

Glenn

Actually, Mike, registering in China is very different from registering in the US for signing up for tax exemption. The latter is optional; the former is not. Tha latter is for privileges; the former is asking for permission to exist

Mike

He was correct about one thing. That registering would be similar to U.S. churches signing up for tax exemption. Kinda makes you think,does it not?

Ian Clary

Thank you for this post. I have a number of Chinese Christian friends who would wholeheartedly agree with what you said. A state-run church is truly a horror!

Diana N. Shaw

Spot on!
After all the past decades of experience with the Wicked Uncle Communism, it's very hard to see how any Western Christians can still play Babes in the Woods.

Joe

I saw the statement made by Palau on The Christian Post also and was pretty shocked. I know that Palau has wanted to hold an evangelistic festival in China for the longest time, and I think that being diplomatic/friendly with the Chinese government is okay, but to say something that basically states that what the unregistered Churches are doing is wrong ... that's where I feel the line has been crossed. I like Palau, but I think in this case he went too far.

For those who haven't read the article, the link is: http://www.christianpost.com/article/missions/1872/section/luis.palau.says.chinese.churches.should.register.themselves/1.htm

Joy

Exactly! I felt the same way when I read this newstory, only I could never put my thoughts so clearly and powerfully. My prayer is that the "unregistered" Chinese Christians will know that not all American Christians feel as Mr. Palau does. I hope they know that some of us love them, respect them, and pray for them in the terrible circumstances they are facing. Thank you for your thoughtful response because I think it goes a long way towards supporting Chinese Christians.

Teem

That's really troubling. Thanks for writing the truth.

Daniel Bartsch

Thanks for setting the record straight. It is sad when prominent western Christian leaders get fooled by an oppressive government's propaganda machine. Thanks for the gracious tone of your response. Let's hope that the truth about China spreads faster than the mistakes.

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