Ever since I came to work at VOM, I’ve learned there is controversy in the Christian world over how bad persecution in China really is. Some think it happens only occasionally. Some think it happens because unregistered churches aren’t adhering to Chinese law. Occasionally, a well-known Christian leader will visit China and proclaim persecution doesn’t exist.
So, does persecution exist? A Christian worker in China wrote last week, “We want the world to know what is happening in China. This is the worse I have seen. For the first time, they [the government] are not targeting mostly leaders, foreigners and Bible schools. They are targeting local churches, threatening to put common Christians in prison if they do not stop having house church meetings.”
The worker has studied persecution for 33 years, including 23 years working in countries, like China, that persecute Christians. He writes, “The situation of persecution in China is not ‘complex.’ It is simple. China is communist. The government wants to control religion. Persecution in China is mandated at the highest level of the government. They do this through the Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM) [the Chinese state church]. Through the TSPM, they control the venue, the leader and the message. We are not against the TSPM. If a TSPM pastor preaches the gospel, we praise God that the gospel is being preached. They cannot, however, preach the whole gospel; it is clearly against the law.
“To imply the house church members are rebelling against the government is a typical communist line of defense on the issue. Nowhere do the Scriptures command the church to obey the authorities who rule over them, when authority’s rules go against God’s laws. Jesus’ disciples said, ‘Is it better to obey God or man?' For Christians, the answer to this question is clear. We do consider, however, what kind of witness we show those in authority. We honor the government in every way possible. Many policemen have become Christians because of watching the faith of Chinese believers.
“Many believe that Bibles can be legally distributed in China. In some locations, very small numbers can be distributed. But it is illegal in China to distribute large numbers of Bibles in every province of the nation. Often, the police confiscate legally purchased Bibles when they raid homes.”
The worker finishes with these words: “Supporting those who are persecuted is vitally important for the church in China. We must all take the opportunity to pray, to give, to encourage and to battle for the truth.”
I hope you will continue to be an advocate for the truth about what is going on in China and for our brothers and sisters there.