We hear and read about persecution, arrests and churches and crosses being taken down by the Chinese government. When it comes to Christianity in China one can get very lost trying to figure it out. A lot depends on where you are with what is “allowed.” And what is now can change at any time.
China is officially an atheist government but it says it guarantees religious freedom; in practice religious activities are tightly controlled. All churches have to be approved by the state and authorities keep a close eye on their activities to contain their influence. The Communist Party once tried to destroy religion all together. It failed. There are estimates that today there are more Christians in China then Communist Party members – maybe close to 100 million (but there are over 1 billion people in China, so that means many lost souls that still haven’t heard!) Because of the control of the government is why many choose to join “underground churches.” These unregistered churches of course pose a real threat to the control of the Communist party and therefore are not legal.
Rolf is now going to a fairly new, very large government sanctioned church that seats around 6,000 worshipers. It is a mixed congregation with a lot of younger people – although per the government they do have to be over 18 to attend. With his students translating for him it appears to be a pretty solid Bible teaching church. They have a contemporary type service with a choir and a band. After the service the people are invited to stay for another hour of singing and praising.
He was amazed and delighted when he saw and learned that every week the pastor asks first time attendees to come to the front. He prays over them and then asks if they want to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior of their life. He then has them all immediately paired up with someone from the church to give them a Bible and to follow up. No messing around, he cuts right for the chase!!
Praise God all of Rolf’s “Faith or Fiction” class are now attending church! After church whoever is available will meet for lunch at a local restaurant where they can get to know each other better, ask questions and just enjoy each other’s company. Some weeks there are few and some weeks as many as 18 that will be able to join for lunch.
All is going well but what Rolf is doing is not “government sanctioned”! He still must be a missionary disguised as a teacher so please continue to PRAY for safety and protection for him, the school and students. There are still far too many lost souls that have never even heard of the name of Jesus let alone who He is and what He has done for them.
“But thanks be to God! For through what Christ has done, he has triumphed over us so that now wherever we go he uses us to tell others about the Lord and to spread the Gospel like a sweet perfume” II Corinthians 2:14.
It is the ultimate high to see these Chinese come to faith and become brothers and sisters in Christ. We are so grateful you are on this journey and can share this joy with us!