Monthly Archives: November 2018

Year End 2018 Update

It has been a privilege to serve the Lord for another year, and we feel greatly blessed to be a link in a chain that has resulted in 675 people giving their lives to Christ through three 12-week “Faith or Fiction” small group study sessions held by five of our Chinese group leaders this year. So, we thank each person who prayed for and supported our work this year. Without your vital partnership and faithful financial support none of these things would have occurred.

“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.”  Philippians 1:3-5 NIV

Our intention for the next steps in our ministry is to be building many more teams in China to greatly multiply the spiritual results above. In celebrating this year “25 Years of Ministry” our continuing strategy remains to operate with as few overhead expenses as possible, so that the maximum resources are placed in the hands of our Chinese Christian front-line workers with whom we are so honored to assist and serve. To further this effort, we have downsized by moving from our townhouse into a very small 2 bedroom apartment greatly cutting expenses.

Throughout both of our health trials this year God has been at our side every day comforting us that He is the almighty provider and physician. We might not get an overnight fix for our cancer issues, but we are given the strength to go forward, and in that there is no greater power. This includes maintaining a positive attitude: “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones” Proverbs 17:22 NIV. So, we will press on even when the Word of God is being marginalized, cast aside or banned from the public domain by the Chinese Government.

As we pray each year end, we set aside time to seek the Lord, thanking him for the year that just passed and asking Him for guidance and blessing for the New Year ahead. This year, we feel that the Lord is telling us to be free from worries and fear in 2019, and to continue to serve Him wholeheartedly.

“Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good?  But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.  But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. 1 Peter 3:13-14 NIV

It may be hard for some people to really picture the hunger for God’s Word that exists in China but we are praying with you that God will continue to use our gifts of evangelizing and discipling by providing for us the strength, health and resources needed to accomplish His work. We are also praying for wisdom to make the right choices as we press forward to make an eternal difference in people’s life.

The people of China are an ever growing sea of humanity who need desperately to hear the Good News of Christ in the face of the suppression of the True Gospel, not to mention persecution. As we work to increase the building of teams in China to accelerate the type of progress mentioned at the beginning of this newsletter, we find that the financial needs to provide more materials, etc. are ever increasing.  So, we humbly ask that you continue to partner with us to help facilitate this great opportunity for which the Lord is guiding us to.

“The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” Luke 10:2

We are willing to be the workers for the Lord of the harvest. Whether you choose to continue with periodic one time support or could increase your monthly giving to include us in a greater way, we can assure you that your support will have a far reaching and ever increasing impact on the spiritual multiplication of people of China.

May the Lord richly bless you for your thoughtful consideration of the needs in this area for His Kingdom.

Have a Wonderful and Blessed Christmas Season

Building Leadership Communities and Citywide Movements

Leave a comment

Filed under ministry updates

Photographer Disappears

Lu Guang, Chinese photojournalist.

Lu Guang is a Chinese photojournalist, heavily criticized by the Chinese government for documenting and exposing everyday realities of people on the margins of Chinese society like “coal miners, drug addicts, HIV patients and pollution.”

Sadly, the photographer might have become the latest victim of the Chinese government’s “extreme censorship.”  His wife has reported him missing on November 3rd, 2018. “I know that he wouldn’t have done anything illegal,” Xu, 45, said in a phone interview from New York, where she is studying art design and raising their child.

Now, the award-winning photographer is at the center of his own stark story. He was taken away by state security agents for unknown reasons, Lu’s wife, Xu Xiaoli, reported.

Guang was supposed to attend some photography events in Urumqi in the Xinjiang region of China and meet his friend Mr. Chen in Sichuan afterwards. But he didn’t make it to Sichuan. Neither his wife, Xu, nor Mr. Chen were able to contact the photographer.

A friend of Xu helped her inquire about her husband’s whereabouts in his home province of Zhejiang, where authorities said Lu and a fellow photographer had been taken away by Xinjiang state security. They did not give any further details, the friend told Xu.

“He has been lost for more than 20 days,” said Xu on Twitter“I have repeatedly contacted Xinjiang police but have been unable to get through. It is our 20th wedding anniversary next week. We should be celebrating it together. I can only hope for his safe return. ”

 Xinjiang’s propaganda department did not respond to a faxed request for comment. When asked about Lu during a regular briefing, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said he was not aware of the situation.

The Xinjiang region is well-known for its iron-fisted surveillance and control of the Uighur Muslim community, often arresting reporters investigating the events. “The reality in China is you never know if you’re going to get into trouble because there are no written rules,” said Lu in an interview last year.

Back in 2004, Lu won the World Press Photo competition for exposing poor Chinese AIDS villagers who became infected with HIV after selling their own blood to eke out a living. Many people have contracted HIV due to unsafe procedures carried out when giving blood.

His photos tackle gritty subjects like pollution and industrial environmental destruction, issues traditionally avoided by the Chinese press because they risk punishment for exposing societal problems that the government may consider sensitive.

But Lu never had problems with the police before, according to Xu, who added that she was not aware of any photo projects he had planned for his Xinjiang trip.

“He has a strong sense of social responsibility,” she said. “He believed, after confronting the faces of the destitute, that there were things that people should know. At the very least, he believed that his photos might motivate them to help others, to trigger change and make things better.”

Lu’s profile on the World Press Photo website says he is the recipient of numerous other photography honors including Germany’s “Henri Nannen Prize” in Photography and a National Geographic Photography Grant. Lu was the first photographer from China to be invited by the U.S. State Department as a visiting scholar.

Xu said she believes it was Lu’s first visit to Xinjiang. A stifling security apparatus has been imposed on the region in recent years as the government combats what it calls terrorist threats from Xinjiang’s predominantly Muslim ethnic Uighur and Kazakh populations.

Check out some of the photographer’s most shocking pictures here.

Leave a comment

Filed under chinese culture, workplace insights

The Church in China Today

The religious climate in China, especially for Christians, may be messy but it’s not beyond understanding. Here is a course, The Church in China Today, which offers a comprehensive overview of the church in China, ranging from a historical understanding of how far the church has come, to the struggles it endures in present day, to common misconceptions about the state of the church.

“The Church in China Today? Isn’t Christianity illegal there?”  Maybe this has been your reaction to hearing about the church in China or maybe you’ve heard others react this way. As with many things in China, the answer is “yes and no” but the part that is an absolute “yes” is that Christianity in China is growing.

In 2016, Chinese President Xi Jinping, demanded to meet privately with several senior Chinese house church leaders. Although the content of their discussions was kept strictly confidential, the results were soon evident, as waves of persecution broke out against the house churches throughout China.

In Shandong’s Qingdao City, the police visited a local house church leader and told him, “We know all about your meetings. We have been instructed to close you down, but we will continue to let you meet if you give us all the weekly offerings you collect in your church!”

The house church leader rejected the attempted extortion, and the church broke up into numerous small groups, allowing them to gather discreetly and without disturbance from the corrupt local authorities.

In 2017 and 2018, many pastors and evangelists have been arrested and interrogated, while others have been bundled into vans or taken from their homes and sent to one of China’s notorious secret “black jails”—unofficial places where the government’s perceived enemies are taken and tortured mercilessly.

A letter received in late 2018 presented a sobering summary of the conditions:

“The government now requires that all churches be controlled by the Communist Party. They must even display the national flag to show their loyalty. Some large churches have been asked to hand over their offerings to the police. When the pastors refuse to do so, they are ordered to disband their congregations. The crackdown has been spreading and we expect tough times ahead. 

The government is once again trying to squeeze the life out of the Church. There are new laws prohibiting any religious activities without government approval—even holding Bible studies of more than ten people in homes. We need to conduct trainings with fewer participants. 

Things here are like in Mao’s day! We never thought we would return to such a time. The younger generation of believers have never experienced severe persecution, and they are shaken. Please pray they will patiently endure, and their faith will be tested and found to be like pure gold.”

The Church in China has been blessed with powerful revivals, and from the ruins of ashes, floods, famines and wars has arisen a shining and holy Bride of Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ has gained much glory from His disciples, where today an estimated 100 million plus people confess Christ as Lord and Savior.

While the current leaders of China appear determined to repeat the mistakes of their predecessors by again trying to destroy God’s children, let us pray that the persecution will again result in revival and continual rapid growth in China.

The greatest need of Christians in China continues to be Bibles. Those in rural areas struggle to access God’s Word, and the large numbers of new believers has seen the size of the need far outstrip the supply. The need for Bibles is greater than ever, with an increasing number of believers in China unable to access Bibles due to government restrictions and persecution.

From the early days when we hauled heavy bags and suitcases of Bibles across borders we now put “Bibles on USB Drives.” Pray that each of these life-changing USB drives will find their way to many who are searching for the truth, and that they would be gripped and convicted by the power of the Holy Spirit as they read the Scriptures for the first time.

It may be hard for some people to really picture the hunger for God’s Word that exists in China. We need to press on even when the Word of God is been marginalized, cast aside or banned from the public domain by the Government.

China demolishes hundreds of churches and confiscates Bibles during a crackdown on Christianity
China Tells Christians to Replace Images of Jesus with Communist President
What Christianity in China Is Really Like
China Just Made Life Way Harder for Christians
In Xi we trust – Is China cracking down on Christianity?
The Brutal Truth About Persecution of Christians in China
We are scared, but we have Jesus

Leave a comment

Filed under chinese culture, chinese religions, workplace insights

Thanksgiving 2018

Before the busy holiday schedule becomes too hectic, we want to make sure to let you know just how thankful we are for YOU.

“I thank my God every time I remember you.  In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy  because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now,  being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:3-11 NIV

This passage of Scripture reminds us that we are partners in the same calling: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.” Romans 1:16 NIV

We can be truly “thankful” for the many, many lives transformed by His love, grace and salvation for eternity.

As we enjoy this special season of celebration and prepare our hearts and homes for “Thanksgiving and Christmas” you can be assured that missionaries and volunteers will be out and about in China to tell another person about our Savior.

Today, especially, we can be “thankful” for that fruit, harvested for the glory of God.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving with your loved ones.

Building Leadership Communities and Citywide Movements

Leave a comment

Filed under american culture, workplace insights

How Many Christians Are In China?

Re-posted from Asia Harvest Ministry

 How Many Christians Are In China?

For centuries, people have been curious to know how many Christians live in China. When Marco Polo made his famous journey to China 700 years ago, he documented the existence of Nestorian churches and monasteries in various places, to the fascination of the people of Europe. Since his return the question of how many followers of Jesus Christ are in the world’s most populous nation has fascinated many mission researchers and believers around the world.

In recent years there has been heated debate and widely varying estimates of the size of the Body of Christ in China. Now, after more than a decade of research, we present the most comprehensive study ever conducted into the number of Christians in all 2,371 cities and counties, within all 33 provinces and regions of China. Estimates are provided for all believers — Protestants belonging to the registered Three-Self churches as well as house churches, and for registered and underground Catholic believers.

The statistics in this study are backed by more than 2,000 sources of information, all footnoted within our tables. We intend to update this study regularly as new information comes to light, and we welcome readers to update or comment on our data by contacting us (full confidentiality is assured).

Before you access our statistical data on Christians in each location in China, we strongly recommend you read our summary below which explains the background and methodology employed in our study, as well as comments on previous surveys of Christians in China. Without first gaining this understanding, the statistics is largely meaningless. After reading the summary a link will take you to the statistical tables.

“Any story sounds true until someone sets the record straight.” Proverbs 18:17 NLT

Since I started traveling in China in the 1980s, I have found that Christians all around the world are eager to know how many believers there are there. Many people are aware that God is doing a remarkable work in the world’s most populous country, but little research has been done to put a figure on this phenomenon. In recent decades, simply estimating the number of Christians in China has become controversial. Wildly divergent figures have been published, ranging from 20 million to 230 million.

In this article, I have attempted to summarize the history of various estimates for the number of Christians in China. I examine some of the strengths and weaknesses of several of the better-known estimates of recent years, and explain the difficulties that attend this kind of research in China’s present political environment.

Only God Knows 

The first thing anyone attempting to put a number on the church in China should do, I believe, is to issue a disclaimer. I would like to state at the outset, quite simply, that only God knows how many Christians there are, for “God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: ‘The Lord knows those who are his’” 2 Timothy 2:19. While we can speculate about how many followers of Christ there are in China, I strongly advise the reader to disregard any figure that claims a high degree of precision. Quite simply, it is not possible to conduct an accurate nationwide survey of Christians in the present climate, and those who are looking for unquestionable, proven facts will be disappointed. I believe that the best anyone can do at the moment is offer an honest assessment based on the knowledge we do have, and give a frank account of the methodology they have used to come to their conclusions.

Challenges to Christian Research in China Today

There are several major challenges facing anyone who wishes to research the number of Christians in China today. Most of these relate to the house churches rather than the registered Protestant and Catholic churches. Obviously it has proven easier to enumerate the number of adherents within the legal churches in China than those among the unregistered house church networks. Political and social factors unique to China complicate attempts to gather accurate information on the church there.

I have included the children of believing parents in this study. In Asian societies, it is common for the whole family to practice one religion—it is practically unheard of for Muslim parents to have Christian children or for Christian parents to have Buddhist children, and so on. My survey include estimates for Protestants in both the Three-Self Church and the house churches and for members of both the CPA and the underground Catholic churches.

A Summary of Past Surveys

Many surveys have been conducted since 1920 in an attempt to establish how many Christians there are in China. In the following pages, I would like to summarize some of the most significant ones. Please click on the below links to read summaries, comments and critique of some of the better-known surveys:

1920 – The China Continuation Committee’s 2.3 Million
1992 – Jonathan Chao’s 75 Million
1997 – Amity News Service’s 13.5 Million
2001 – Operation World’s 91 Million
2006 – Tony Lambert’s 60 Million
2006 – Ye Xiaowen’s 130 Million
2007 – Werner Bürklin’s 39 Million

Methodology

In the later following statistics tables, I give my own estimates of the number of Christians in China. My interest in this subject started over 20 years ago, and I have been collecting data since. My survey provides figures for Christians of every description, in four main categories: the Three-Self Patriotic Movement, the Protestant house churches, the Catholic Patriotic Association, and the Catholic house churches. I supply statistics for all 2,370 cities and counties in every province, municipality, and autonomous region of China.

I have gathered this information from a wide variety of sources. First, more than 2,000 published sources have been noted in the tables, including a multitude of books, journals, magazine articles and internet reports that I have been collating for years. Second, my coworkers and I have also conducted hundreds of hours of interviews with house church leaders from many different groups, responsible for work in practically every part of China. We have found that while some house church networks do not keep statistics on their congregations, other large networks do keep detailed records about numbers of fellowships and believers, which we have had the great privilege to access.

Ground Zero 

Before I started entering data into my statistics tables, I decided to begin with this assumption that in any given place in the country there are no Christians at all unless I have a figure from a documented source or can make an intelligent estimate of their number based on information gathered from Christian leaders in China. In other words, I wanted to put aside all per-conceptions and expectations, input the information I had and see what the totals came to the end.

I hope that readers will acknowledge that my findings, though imperfect, have been reached with the sincere intention to draw as accurate a picture as possible of the Chinese church. You may not agree with my conclusions, but I hope you will sense that this survey has been conducted without any ulterior motive or hidden agenda. Ironically, some people who previewed my figures were exasperated to find that they were so high, while others were upset because they were “too low”.

These statistics tables will be updated regularly as new information comes to hand. Although I have gone to every length to make this survey as complete as it can be, I acknowledge nonetheless that, owing to the difficulties of conducting such a survey in China today — not the least of which is the sheer size of the country — there is a margin of error of 20 percent. If errors are indeed found, I suspect that generally it will prove to be the case that my estimates were too low.

I am glad to receive feedback and input from anyone with knowledge about Christians in any part of China. I can be contacted by letter or email via the Asia Harvest website. All communications will be kept in strict confidence.

A Note about Security

Some people may ask whether it is appropriate to publish any estimates for the true number of Christians in China, if such information might lead to more persecution from the authorities. It is important to note the following points:

(a) None of the information provided in these tables will be new to the government. It has clearly already thoroughly researched the spread of Christianity in every part of the country, as is shown by Ye Xiaowen’s announcement in 2006 that there were then 130 million Christians in China. In December 2009 the national newspaper China Daily interviewed scholar Liu Peng who has spent years researching religion for the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. Liu claimed the “house churches…have at least 50 million followers nationwide.” This figure is consistent with our research.

(b) The tables contain more than 2,000 references from numerous published sources, including various books and articles by Tony Lambert, Tianfeng, Amity News Service, and several Catholic publications. On the whole, I am merely collating information that is already in the public domain.

(c) I have consulted various house church leaders in China and all of them were content that this information should be published, as long as the survey focuses on statistics and avoids specific information such as the names and locations of Christian leaders, as it has. In fact, church leaders very glad for this study—albeit disappointed that my total figure came out lower than they expected.

Putting the Chinese Church into a Proper Perspective 

We have seen that estimates for the number of Christians in China vary widely and that the issue is sometimes clouded by the personal prejudices of those conducting the survey. It is important to note, however, that even the lowest estimates confirm a tremendous growth rate for the church in China. It is generally agreed that there were 750,000 Protestant believers in the country in 1949, and so even if there are just 30 million now it would represent a 40-fold increase in the nearly six decades of Communist rule. This is extraordinary and should be the cause of much rejoicing and thanks to God. There are very few countries on earth that could claim a similar explosion of faith over a similar length of time.

All discussion of how many Christians there are in China should be tempered by the realization that more than 90 percent of its present population face a Christ less eternity. Hundreds of millions of individuals have yet to hear the gospel. House church leaders in China often tell me how ashamed and burdened they feel that so many of their countrymen and women have yet to know Jesus Christ. This awareness motivates them to do whatever it takes to preach the gospel to every ethnic group and in every city, town and village—to every individual—in China, and to do whatever necessary to see Christ exalted throughout the land.

May we, too, have such a heart for the lost whenever we are tempted to bicker about how many Christians there are in China! God has done, and continues to do, an incredible thing in that country. May we humbly give thanks to him, and recognize that we are living in the days prophesied by the Prophet Habakkuk:

“Look at the nations and watch—and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.” Habakkuk 1:5, NIV

Statistical Tables

Thank you for reading this summary. Here is the full 26-page pdf article How Many Christians are There in China?

Please feel free to share this message with any concerned believers, or post it on social media etc.

Until All have Heard of Jesus,
The team at Asia Harvest
www.asiaharvest.org

Leave a comment

Filed under chinese culture, chinese religions, workplace insights

The Crisis in China (Part One)

Re-posted from Asia Harvest Ministry

The Worst Persecution in 40 Years

“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you… They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me.” John 15:18-19, 21 NIV.

Earlier this year we sent out a newsletter entitled “Pray for Christians in Chinawhich told of the massive and brutal persecution of Christians underway in China. Many people were shocked by what we shared, and some even doubted if it was true, as other sources weren’t reporting the trouble.

In the following months it became clear that God’s people in China are not merely going through a regular season of hardship, but a major effort is underway to completely control the Church, backed by new technology that creates challenges to the Body of Christ that have never been encountered before. In this newsletter we will update you on the crisis in China, while attempting to answer some of the common questions people have asked.

What’s the Latest News from China?

In recent months the government has markedly increased the pressure on Christians throughout the country. We received an unconfirmed report from a long-term China missionary stating that 314 house church Christians have been killed in recent months, and hundreds more are missing. Most house church leaders have gone into hiding and have disconnected their phones and other devices because of the incredible surveillance capabilities of the state.

Thousands of house churches (which are considered illegal in China) have been closed. Reflecting the actions of Mao’s Red Guards in the 1960s, religious symbols such as crosses and Scripture posters have been torn down and replaced by flags of China or portraits of President Xi Jinping.

Some congregations have been ordered to sing the national anthem or other patriotic songs at the start of their services. Others have been ordered to install government facial-recognition surveillance cameras inside their worship halls, and those that have refused to comply have been forced to shut down.

Landlords who rent buildings to Christians are being heavily fined by the government, with new laws allowing fines of between 20,000 to 200,000 Yuan (almost US$30,000). This has created a climate of fear and suspicion, and thousands of fellowships have been forced out of the premises they were renting. On the streets, the police have the power to stop and search anyone they wish and to check their phones and other devices for content they deem a threat to society. These threats may include the presence of a Bible app or visits to Christian websites, or any communication considered unpatriotic.

The most severe persecution is occurring in the vast Xinjiang region in northwest China. In recent years a promising church movement had emerged among the Uyghur, Kazakh and Kirghiz people groups, but most of the church leaders have been arrested and taken to concentration camps in the desert. Reputable news organizations estimate at least one million people are being detained and tortured in those camps right now. Many suburbs in cities like Urumqi, Hami and Kashgar are now depopulated and countless buildings have been boarded up. Although this initiative was designed to target Muslims in border areas, almost all Uygur and Kazakh church leaders have also been taken away. The government doesn’t care whether someone is a Muslim or Christian. It’s all the same to them.

Spiritual Forces Behind the Persecution

While there are human reasons for the dramatic persecution, we should never lose sight of the fact that Satan and his fallen hosts hate God’s people, and they never rest in trying to destroy them. We recently updated our Christian stats for all 2,866 cities and counties in China, and the end result was a marked increase since the last time we reviewed our figures. Currently, we estimate a total of 129.7 million professing Christians in China, of which 109 million are Evangelical believers. The Chinese government is fully aware of the explosive growth of the Church in China, and they are determined to stop it. They don’t want China taking over from South Korea as the number one Evangelical country in Asia.

Political Ambitions

If you have read our Asia Harvest newsletters for some time you will know we don’t usually mention politics at all, as our call is to equip the Church in Asia and not to be entangled by civilian affairs (2 Timothy 2:4). Our goal is not to favor one political system over another, but to see all people groups of Asia hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If one quote sums up what we think about politics, it would be this famous one from an economist in the last century: “Under Communism man oppresses man. Under capitalism it’s the other way around.”

To understand the human reasons of why China is so determined to destroy the Church, however, it’s helpful to grasp the historical background behind China’s geopolitical ambitions. Starting in the 1800s, China was dominated by foreign powers that carved up various parts of the country and exploited their natural resources. The Chinese consider this the darkest period in their history, and have labelled it “The century of humiliation.” Chinese resentment and desire to revenge their “loss of face” runs deep. Japan was one of the foreign nations that dominated China during this period, inflicting shameful cruelties on the Chinese people. A few years ago a survey in China found that 82 percent of respondents said China should launch a war with Japan before the end of this decade.

In a bid to try to erase the painful memories of the past, China believes they have an opportunity to be the new world super-power, replacing the United States and the West. To achieve this lofty goal, President Xi Jinping has stopped at nothing to implement his “One Belt, One Road” initiative, which would result in China having the most powerful economy and military on earth. To help him succeed, earlier this year Xi was appointed “President for life.” Whereas often in the West we think in terms of months and years, the Chinese think in terms of decades and even centuries. They are not in a rush, and are determined to gradually work their way toward becoming the undisputed world power.

The Communist leaders trying so desperately to implement their global vision are God-hating atheists, and they are determined not to let anyone or anything stand in their way. They want absolute power over what people do, say and think, and Christians, Muslims, or anyone else who may pose a threat to their goals are being subdued, controlled, or eradicated. These are the reasons behind the current campaign to wipe out the Church in China. Mao tried to do this from the 1950s to 1970s, and Xi Jinping seems determined to finish the job that Mao failed to do.

Is Persecution always Good for the Church?

Many times you have probably heard it said that “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.” Often people have written to us with this quote, as if it is the sum total of persecution for Christians. It may surprise some to learn that this phrase is not in the Bible at all, but was spoken by Tertullian, a second century church leader in North Africa. For the record, Tertullian’s full quote was: “The more ye mow us down, the more quickly we grow; the blood of Christians is seed. The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church. Dying we conquer. The moment we are crushed, that moment we go forth victorious.”

Is what Tertullian said true? Is persecution always good for the Church, and does it invariably result in the expansion of the faith? We believe that while Tertullian’s quote may be generally true, it is certainly not always the case.

Persecution in itself does not bring revival. It is a time of testing, and over the years we have known many church leaders in China, Vietnam and elsewhere who have gone through fiery trials, but instead of coming out of prison renewed and more zealous for the Lord, many have emerged spiritually weaker and overcome by sins and temptations. Sadly, we know of some former church leaders who are no longer walking with God. In the 1930s a missionary in northeast China stated, “The blood of martyrs may indeed be the seed of the Church, but sometimes the crop from that seed is not always a good one.”

A survey of Church history clearly reveals that persecution does not automatically result in the growth of Christianity. The nations of Central Asia and the Middle East once contained as many as 30 million Christians, but the Islamic conquests of the region wiped out the Church in numerous locations, many of which have yet to see any more spiritual light for over 1,000 years to the present day.

In this first of two newsletters on the Crisis in China we wanted to update readers on the latest challenges facing our Christian brothers and sisters there. Next month we will share more on how these tumultuous events are affecting Christian work in China, and we will include a public statement made by many church leaders. Be assured that despite these new challenges all Asia Harvest projects in China are continuing! Church leaders have cried out to the Lord for heavenly strategies, and are implementing what God has told them to do. Please pray fervently for the Church in China!

Links to articles:
Updated: Large Beijing house church banned as China continues Christian persecution
Inmates initiate hunger strike amid mass incarceration crackdown
China Uighurs: Xinjiang legalizes ‘re-education’ camps
Leave no dark corner

Please feel free to share this message with any concerned believers, or post it on social media.

Until All have Heard of Jesus,
The team at Asia Harvest
www.asiaharvest.org

Building Leadership Communities and Citywide Movements

Leave a comment

Filed under chinese religions, workplace insights