Category Archives: chinese religions

Back to Jerusalem Ministry

Many mistake the idea of “Back to Jerusalem” as a movement of the Chinese church to evangelize Jerusalem.

However, “Back to Jerusalem” is the goal of the Chinese church to evangelize the unreached peoples from eastern provinces of China, westwards towards Jerusalem. The vision was birthed among the Chinese in the 1920s, and since that time, the churches of China have striven and even suffered persecution to fulfill what they believe is their integral role in fulfilling the Great Commission. Our organization partners with the church of China to not only evangelize the religiously oppressed areas of Asia, but to also train and send Chinese missionaries into the unreached regions of the globe, including Muslim, Buddhist, and Hindu nations.

The 10/40 Window

More than 90% of the unreached people groups in the world today are located within the “10/40 window” more than 5,100 tribes and ethno-linguistic groups with little or no gospel witness. Of the world’s 50 least-Christian and least-evangelized countries, all 50 are located within this region! In the highlighted area above, there are more than 90% of the world’s remaining unreached people groups, and all 50 of the world’s least evangelized countries. These countries are the focus of the “Back to Jerusalem” movement.

As you read these pages, please remember that the “Back to Jerusalem” movement is not a crazy pipe-dream of a few fanatical Christians that may or may not happen. It is something that is already happening! Right now there are already hundreds of Chinese missionaries working outside China in the Middle East, North Africa, Central Asia, the Indian Subcontinent, and Southeast Asia. Thousands more are in training, learning languages such as Arabic and English that will be put to use on the mission field.

Chinese Missionary Teams

A team of thirty-six Chinese missionaries departed China in March 2000 for a neighboring Buddhist country. They were the first contemporary team of “Back to Jerusalem” missionaries, the first-fruits of a great flood to come. Few people around the world knew of this event, but their going was the result of years of prayer and planning. On that day China once again became an active participant in worldwide mission. During the training and orientation for those 36 pioneers, each one was asked to give their testimony. Many tears flowed as they told their stories. All of them had suffered much for the gospel in China. Most had been arrested, imprisoned, beaten and tortured because of their testimony for Jesus Christ.

They had all faced extreme hardship, separation from family, forced starvation, sleepless nights and perils on every side. Despite tremendous opposition, all 36 of these house church missionaries had faithfully preached the gospel throughout China for years, establishing churches and seeing more of God’s power manifested through their ministries each month than most Christians see during their lifetimes.

Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists

As the “Back to Jerusalem” vision unfolds, you may start to hear reports of Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists coming to Christ in places where the gospel has long struggled to make an impact. When this happens, don’t be amazed at the Chinese Christians, we are just sinners saved by grace and undeserving of any attention. Rather, be amazed at the wisdom and manifest beauty of God’s plan. “For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.” 1 Corinthians 1:25.

We hope you will be encouraged and challenged by the “Back to Jerusalem” vision, and moved to prayer and involvement in the fulfillment of the Great Commission in these last days, as recorded in Revelation 11:15 “The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign forever and ever.” 

Christians around the world are being threatened… a short video considering the nations that persecute Christians, specifically looking at China, Iran and North Korea considering the world’s response and Jesus’ command to “Bless Your  Enemies.”

As the West has become more secular and western missionaries have been dwindling, Chinese missionaries are riding the waves of China’s rise and reaching far corners of the globe, including areas not easily accessible to Westerners such as Sudan, Iran, North Korea and Syria.

“Back to Jerusalem” teams have already been in these countries for several years, providing humanitarian relief, health and medical services, building infrastructures, serving as interpreters and ministering to the persecuted people. Many of them had enrolled in Arabic language programs or have been trained by Arabic-speaking Christians to work in the Islamic world.

“We have been providing aid to the Iraqis in Turkey by supplying food, tents, blankets, and yogurt with the aid that we have received from around the world. Now we are working in northern Iraq and currently providing a long term solution to the lack of food.”

When asked whether they were fearful of facing persecution themselves and perhaps martyred for their efforts in this region, they responded no. The Chinese Christians state that they had been trained to deal with persecution within Communist China for several decades, and are well prepared to carry out their missions especially in autocratic and Muslim countries.

Building Leadership Communities and Citywide Movements

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China’s Muslim Orphanages

China is building “dozens” of new orphanages to lock up thousands of Muslim Uyghur children as young as six months old “like farm animals in the shed,” the religion editor for the Atlantic revealed on Wednesday.

During a panel discussion hosted by the libertarian Cato Institute think tank, Sigal Samuel, who has been covering China’s crackdown on its ethnic Muslim Uyghur minority in Xinjiang province, declared:

“I’m sure you all remember that here in the U.S. this summer, there was a huge outcry when President Donald Trump’s family separation policy became the focus of national attention, I think what we need to internalize on a deep emotional level now is that in China, we’re seeing family separation on a massive scale and is impacting many, many thousands of children.”

The discussion at Cato focused on China’s ongoing comprehensive “re-education” program, which involves state propaganda, mass surveillance, and the internment of up to one million members of the Asian country’s Uyghur ethnic minority in concentration camps, also known as “mind-transformation” centers.

Samuel suggested that China is using its re-education campaign to indoctrinate Children to ensure loyalty to the inherently atheist communist party from the new Uyghur generation, noting:

“Strikingly the children there are being taken away even when they have grandparents and other family members who are begging to be able to keep them and once they’re under state care, they’re totally isolated from their relatives, their culture, Islamic religion, the Uyghur language. They’re taught only Chinese language and culture. So some experts I’ve spoken to tell me, these are assimilation policies that China is using to actively rewire their identity of an entire generation of Uyghurs.”

Beijing claims the camps are vocational centers aimed at purging terrorism, separatism, and religious extremism from the Uyghur community in Xinjiang. However, U.S. officials and human rights groups have accused China of using Islamic extremism in Xinjiang as a pretext to continue is decades-old efforts to erase the identity, religion, culture, and language of the Muslim minority.

Samuel revealed that communist authorities in Xinjiang are building “dozens of massive new orphanages” to imprison Uyghur Muslim children, adding: “A worker at one of the orphanages said that the conditions at these institutions are so terrible that children there age 6 months to 12 years old are ‘locked up like farm animals in the shed.’”

During the panel discussion, Uyghur-American attorney Nury Turkel, the chairman of the Uyghur Human Rights Project, shared his personal experience at one of the camps in Xinjiang.

While Beijing has renewed its “repression” of the Muslim minority in recent years, the regime’s ”oppressive” tactics against Uyghurs is a decades-old problem, according to Turkel.

Citing the Xinjiang Daily, Turkel — who was born inside one of the camps in the Muslim-majority province during China’s cultural revolution — noted that China detained an “astonishing” 18,000 Uyghurs on national security charges in 2005 alone, using the 9/11 attacks on the American homeland as a pretext to crack down on the ethnic group.

Describing Xinjiang as a “high-tech police state,” Turkel said the oppression of Uyghurs intensified under current Chinese President Xi Jinping, echoing the U.S. State Department.

He revealed that Muslims at the camps are “coerced to repeat sentences such as ‘I deserve punishment for not understanding that Xi Jinping and the communist party can help me. There is no God, and I don’t believe in God. I believe in communist party.’” 

Those who failed to say the slogans correctly in Chinese “were beaten” or “tortured”, Turkel said.

The U.S. and United Nations has acknowledged that Uyghurs in China are facing systemic torture, disappearances, executions, and arbitrary detentions as part of Beijing’s “re-education campaign.”

Building Leadership Communities and Citywide Movements

China’s secret gulags
China Built at Least 44 Camps for Muslim Uighurs
Xi Jinping’s “Repression” of Uighur Muslims in China “Worsened” in 2017
China’s Uighur Camps Swell as Beijing Widens the Dragnet
China’s Muslims Are “Dying In Internment Camps”
China Attacks Uighur Torture Victim: ‘It’s Easy to Tell the Woman Was Lying’

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Crackdown on Unregistered Churches

Police have detained dozens of leaders, congregation members and activists of one of China’s most prominent and influential Protestant “house” church in the latest government action against unregistered religious groups.

Police arrested Pastor Wang Yi of Early Rain Covenant Church, hailed by Rev. Hong Yujie, a friend of Wang as “the bravest pastor in China”, in the city of Chengdu on Sunday, the day after Wang published a manifesto accusing the Communist Party of instituting “Caesar Worship” of Jinping and calling Chinese Christians to resist government regulations that contradict the Christian faith.

Remaining church members said Wang’s manifesto and his open criticism of China’s religious regulation likely prompted his and 100 of their fellow congregants’ arrests.

“President Jinping’s religious regulations and urged worship of the state are morally incompatible with the Christian faith and with all those who uphold freedom of the mind and thought,” Wang wrote in his manifesto, entitled “Meditations on the Religious War” according to The Wall Street Journal.

Teams of police and state security officials in the southwestern city of Chengdu came to the homes of leaders and members of the Early Rain Covenant Church on Dec. 9 and detained them, according to church announcements sent to members and passed to Reuters by churchgoers and activists.

“The time has come. O, Lord! Did you not establish this church for this very purpose?” the church said in one of its announcements. “We will wait for Thee, as one keeping vigil waits for daybreak.” 

Church leader Li Yingqiang said Early Rain would continue public services, despite the intensified crackdown on unregistered churches, as long as there remained some members of the congregation to engage in worship. Li said that other house churches in Chengdu have faced the raids with similar resolve. Some, like Zion Church pastored by Jin Mingri in Beijing, retreated from public scrutiny and divided into smaller house churches that worship in secret after authorities closed their building and arrested their leaders.

“Some house churches have to sacrifice,” Li said. “We are willing to do it.” More than 100 people are believed to have been detained, according to a church elder, who declined to be identified.

Neither the Chengdu nor national-level Public Security Bureau responded to faxed requests for comment.

Since Chinese leader Xi Jinping took office six years ago, the government has tightened restrictions on religions seen as a challenge to the authority of the ruling Communist Party. The Chinese regime requires that all places of worship register and submit to government oversight, but some churches have declined to register, for various reasons.

China began implementing new regulations on house churches, state-registered churches, and other houses of worship in February, requiring in part that they register with the state or risk being shut down. The regulations also subject these churches to heightened monitoring and surveillance from local communist authorities, to be implemented at the discretion of those authorities.

The degree to which churches are affected by these regulations depend largely on how local communist authorities choose to interpret the regulations in each region, though they have largely used the new laws to exert more control over churches, even banning children under the age of 18 from attending religious services in several regions. Communist authorities have used the regulations as tools to carry out Jinping’s vision of sinicizing religion in China — which is to force all religions in the country to submit to the authority and teachings of the Chinese Communist party.

Sunday’s raid, while indicative of Beijing’s waning tolerance for unregistered churches, was not the first time Wang and his followers have been arrested. Police arrested the pastor and some congregants earlier in 2018 for holding their annual service in remembrance of Tiananmen Square and the suppression of democracy in China.

Wang, however, remains undeterred from preaching against the injustices of Jinping’s administration. The Early Rain Church is one of the best known unregistered “house” churches in China. Wang, a former legal scholar, activist, and founder of Early Rain, was the first pastor to sign a public petition organized by Early Rain against those regulations.

Members of the church have been unable to contact Pastor Wang Yi, the church’s founder, or his wife, and church groups on the instant messaging platform WeChat also were blocked, the church said in an announcement. Reuters was unable to reach Wang for comment.

Beijing-based journalist Ian Johnson, who wrote about Wang and his congregation in his 2017 book, “The Souls of China,” said on Twitter that the crackdown was “really disturbing news.”

“I’m afraid this is part of a bigger crackdown on unregistered Christian churches as the government pushes its efforts to dominate society,” he wrote.

Police told Zhang Xianchi, 84, a well-known author and church member, not to visit the church, because it had been “outlawed” and that all its top leaders had been detained, according to an account from Zhang shared with Reuters by church members.

A video posted online by activists in China and overseas, which Reuters was unable to independently verify, showed a group of about a dozen plainclothes policemen taking church-goers away from a meeting. In the footage, police told a woman they were taking a man to the municipal public security bureau to be investigated, while a child cried in the background.

Churches across China have been under growing pressure to register since a new set of regulations to govern religious affairs came into effect in February and increased punishments for unofficial churches.

Despite ongoing arrests and torture of Chinese Christians after a raid on an independent church Sunday, the faithful are vowing not to bow to the Communist party “even if it means death.”

“I think a lesson we can learn from them is they continue to say that, ‘No matter what may come, we will continue to serve the Lord. We will continue to stand strong in our faith,’” said Gina Goh, Southeast Asia regional manager for International Christian Concern.

“Their pastor, a lot of elders, actually wrote letters to their congregation saying that, ‘We will not bend, even if it means jail, even if it means death. We will continue to preserve our faith,’” Goh told Baptist Press Tuesday.

Authorities reportedly blocked the social media accounts of Early Rain members and cut the phone line to the church as the raid got underway. One witness claimed that Chinese police had tracked down church members using the signals from their smart phones.

According to Goh, officials had beaten, tortured, and denied food and restroom accommodations to the Christian detainees. Some of the Christians were dragged along the ground, stepped on, bound to chairs, and had handfuls of hair pulled from their scalp, she reported.

Some of those arrested have been placed under house arrest while others have been set free. Officials told a number of the faithful to sign pledges that they would never attend services again.

“The police said our church is an illegal organization and we cannot attend any more gatherings from now on,” said member Zhang Guoqing after being released from detention.

Since the Sunday raids, arrests of church members at homes, workplaces, and on the streets have continued.

The latest crackdown on “illegal” churches that operate outside strict government control is another example of President Xi Jinping’s attempts to “Sinicize” religion, making all religious practice conform to the ideals and principles of Chinese communism.

In September, authorities interrupted services at some five churches in central, south, and southwest China, pulling down crosses, blocking entrances, disbanding worship, and harassing church members.

One elder of the Early Rain Covenant Church who was arrested early Tuesday wrote a letter before his arrest to other church members who were still at large.

“Beloved brothers and sisters, I am writing this letter in hiding,” he said. “May you all be filled with joy in the Gospel of Christ. May you welcome, filled with hope, the even heavier cross and more difficult lives that lie ahead of you. Christ is Lord. Grace is King. Bear the cross. Keep the faith.”

Goh said that the Chinese government is engaging in more overt persecution of Christians on a broader scale than in the past.

“This is not completely new, but for something that is this large-scale, it is new for sure,” Goh said. The goal of the Communist party is to force Christian churches into allegiance to the state-controlled Three-Self Church, whose congregations must display government flags, sing patriotic songs, and praise government leaders, Goh said.

Goh also said that officials had targeted the popular Autumn Rain Church to “serve as an example to smaller churches,” since in its several locations it comprises a membership of a thousand members or more.

In testimony at a U.S. Congressional hearing in Washington in late September, China Aid founder Bob Fu compared Chinese Communist Party (CCP) persecution under President Xi Jinping to the days of Mao Zedong.

“The CCP’s policies and principles for the management of religious affairs are returning to those evident in Mao’s era,” Fu said.

Building Leadership Communities and Citywide Movements

China Bans Religion For 90 Million People
China Charges Pastor with ‘Subversion’ After Church Raids

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Christmas in China

According to recent data, in America alone – the average person will spend almost $50 dollars on Christmas lights. Altogether, America is expected to spend $6.5 billion USD on Christmas lights alone.

This year, instead of spending money on lights, what if Christians spent it on sharing the message of Jesus? Instead of spending money to purchase new lights, what if the “Light of the World” was shared with a child in rural China?

The holiday season is upon us yet again, and while most people don’t associate China with Christmas, the holiday is becoming more and more popular in the Middle Kingdom. For the past month, the Christmas spirit has been alive and well here in Beijing – in subway stations, shopping centers, restaurants, and bars all across the city. Everywhere you go, the sounds of “Jingle Bells” and “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” follow you.

Department stores are stocked and ready to help people “deck the halls”, with Christmas trees, stockings, tinsel, ornaments, and any other Christmas trinket you could imagine prominently on display. In malls all over town, there are Christmas sales drawing throngs of holiday shoppers. While many people here do not know or understand the history and traditions of this holiday, one thing is clear – they sure love the shopping that accompanies it.

To help get you in the holiday spirit, here are some vocabulary words in Chinese that you’ll need to talk about Christmas:

Christmas Eve (圣诞夜 – shèng dàn yè)
Christmas (圣诞节 – shèng dàn jié – lit. “the birth of a saint holiday”)
Jesus (耶稣 – yē sū)
Santa Claus (圣诞老人 – shèng dàn lǎo rén –  lit. “Christmas old person”)
sleigh (雪橇 – xuě qiāo)
reindeer (麋鹿 – mí lù)
Christmas tree (圣诞树 – shèng dàn shù)
gift/present (礼物 – lǐ wù)
stocking (圣诞袜 – shèng dàn wà)
Christmas carols (圣诞歌 – shèng dàn gē)
caroling (报佳音 – bào jiā yīn)
Christian (基督教徒 – jī dū jiào tú)
midnight mass (午夜弥撒 – wǔ yè mí sā)
gingerbread house (姜饼屋 – jiāng bǐng
candy cane (拐杖糖 – guǎi zhàng táng)
snowman (雪人 – xuě rén)
white Christmas (白色聖誕 – bái sè shèng dàn)
Christmas card (圣诞卡 – shèng dàn kǎ)
“The Grinch” (圣诞怪杰 – shèng dàn guài jié)

While you’re at it, you might as well practice singing “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” in Chinese:

Christmas in the People’s Daily

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China’s New Laws for NGO

Stay up to date on China’s news, regulations, and policies.

New Law for Foreign NGO

The Law of the People’s Republic of China on the Administration of Activities of Overseas Nongovernmental Organizations in the Mainland of China, adopted at the 20th Meeting of the 12th Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress on April 28, 2016, is hereby promulgated and shall come into force on January 1, 2017.

Regulation on Religious Affairs (2017 Revision)

Effective date: February 1st, 2018.

Amendment to the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China

China’s Constitution was amended March 11, 2018. The terms for the president (chairman) is no longer limited to two terms.

Speech for the 200th anniversary of the birth of Karl Marx

On May 4, 2018 in Beijing, Chinese President Xi Jinping gives a speech during a conference to mark Karl Marx’s 200th anniversary in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

Translated Document Outlines Strategy for Sinicization

A translated document outlines strategy for Sinicization that will adapt religion to China’s socialist society, February 2018.

Building Leadership Communities and Citywide Movements

Goodbye to the Religious Affairs Bureau: religions are now under the direct control of the Party
The State of Religion in China – Council on Foreign Relations
New Era for Religion in China as Party Tightens Controls
Religions Must be “Subordinate” to Communist Party

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Replacing Crosses with Chinese Flags

Beijing is demolishing crosses and replacing them with Chinese flags as part of Xi Jinping’s efforts to “Sinicize” Christianity — ensuring the religion is completely subordinate to the atheist Communist Party, the U.S. government and independent experts told American lawmakers.

Citing China’s “Plan Outline of the Five-Year Plan (2018-2022) on Promoting the Sinicization of Christianity” launched in March, Dr. Bob Fu, the president of the pro-religious freedom China Aid group, told a House panel:

“The “Plan Outline” made it clear that the “Sinicization of Christianity” means to change “Christianity in China” into “Chinese Christianity,” emphasizing that “the heart and soul of Christianity’s Sinicization is to Sinicize the Christian theology,” and even proposing to “re-translate the Bible or re-write biblical commentaries.”

Dr. Tenzin Dorjee, the chair of the independent United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), noted that the Xi administration’s persecution of Christians and other faith adherents has intensified in recent years.

In his written testimony, Dr. Dorjee told House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Global Human Rights:

“USCIRF began reporting on China in our very first Annual Report and has continued to do so every year since because of that country’s systematic, ongoing, egregious violations of religious freedom. … Regrettably, the conditions USCIRF first reported in China nearly two decades ago have not improved. In fact, the conditions have worsened under President Xi Jinping due to the “Sinicization” and securitization of religion. Religions must accord with communist ideology, and religious freedom is most severely restricted in the name of national security.”

Echoing Fu, the federal agency’s chair revealed that communist government officials are destroying crosses across China’s Christian communities and replacing them with Chinese flags.

Dr. Dorjee said:

“The already poor situation for Christians, like other religious groups, has markedly declined since new religious regulations came into effect on February 1 this year. Just days prior to the regulations, Chinese police used dynamite to annihilate the evangelical Golden Lampstand Church. 

More recently, authorities shut down Zion Church, one of Beijing’s largest unregistered Protestant house churches. Across several provinces, authorities have confiscated Bibles, demolished churches, moved or destroyed crosses and other religious symbols—sometimes replacing them with the Chinese flag —and arrested countless Christians.”

The witnesses who testified during Thursday’s hearing, which also included Dr. Thomas Farr, the president of the Religious Freedom Institute, indicated that China had declared war on Christianity and other faith groups.

Farr told lawmakers:

“The current assault on religion in China under President Xi Jinping is the most comprehensive attempt to manipulate and control religious communities since the Cultural Revolution…Within China, Xi’s policy intensifies a decades-long government strategy of undermining a major threat to the authority of the communist state – namely, that religion is a source of authority, and an object of fidelity, that is greater than the state. This characteristic of religion has always been anathema to totalitarian and authoritarian despots, and to majoritarian democracies.”

The experts urged the United States to take action against China in defense of religious freedom. According to various media reports, the Trump administration is considering sanctions against Chinese officials involved in the ongoing repression of China’s Uyghur Muslim minority acknowledged by the House panel witnesses.

Advent is a season observed in many Christian churches as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas as well as the return of Jesus at the second coming. The term is a version of the Latin word meaning “coming.”

May the sweetness of Jesus be ever so strong this Christmas season!

Building Leadership Communities and Citywide Movements

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China’s New Communist Bible

To stop the astronomical growth of Christianity in China, the Chinese government has devised a new plan – “rewrite the Bible” and force churches to sing “communist anthems.”

According to Rev. Bob Fu in his testimony to Congress, founder of China Aid, the Chinese government plans to incorporate Buddhist scripture and Confucian teachings into the Bible and edit worship songs to include Chinese characteristics.

The official government church and the Chinese Christian Council (China’s state-sanctioned Protestant bodies) have developed a five-year plan to make the Chinese Bible translation more Chinese by adding elements of Buddhism, Confucianism, and Communism.

The plan, finalized at a meeting this March, proposes “cultivating and implementing the socialist core values” and will be supervised by the national religious affairs bureau. “Every province, autonomous region and municipality’s TSPM and CCC seminaries and churches will cooperate with it,” according to Fu.

The Chinese government currently controls the ordination and training of the clergy members, but that has not stopped the growth of the illegal underground house church. The Chinese government controls the number of new members that are allowed to baptized per year. The government even controls how many Bibles are allowed to be printed and distributed per year, but none of this has stopped the amazing growth of the underground house church.

The underground church has grown in spite of the best efforts of the Communist Party to stomp it out. The growth of the underground house church has been documented in the book “The Underground Church”  which takes you on an underground journey to understand the inner workings of the church in China.

Much of the confusion is caused by the Chinese government, which deceives journalist and foreign missionaries with promises of religious freedom that are never kept. The truth is, the house churches of China are growing at a phenomenal rate. Never in the history of the world have so many people in such a short time left one belief system for another without a hostile revolution. Lives in China are being transformed daily by the gospel of Jesus Christ and the display of His miraculous power and the astonishing growth has as many as 20,000 are coming to faith every day.

After years of failing to stop the growth of Christianity, the government has finally decided to dilute it and change to the nature of the teachings that it does not agree with.

Here is a testimony of Mai Fu Ren whose life was changed by the Bible when it was illegal in China to have one. He later devoted his life to sharing it with the rest of his country at a time when it would and did cost him his freedom for over 30 years.

China Trying to ‘Rewrite the Bible,’ Force Churches to Sing Communist Anthems

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The Crisis in China (Part Two)

Re-posted from Asia Harvest Ministry

 A Statement of Faith and Intent 

“For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him” 2 Chronicles 16:9.

How does the Chinese Church view the Current Persecution? 

The Church in China has encountered horrific persecution many times throughout its history, but it has always come through, albeit battered and bruised, to the other side by God’s grace and power. Many elderly church leaders in China were deeply concerned that the present generation of Christians had grown lazy and were less committed to Christ as in previous decades. Due to the inrush of materialism that has gripped China, old pastors who had survived the onslaughts of the 1960s to 1980s were afraid for the current generation of house church leaders, many of whom had never experienced real, physical persecution for the Gospel.

Accordingly, many church leaders in China see the current crisis as an opportunity for the Body of Christ to grow. They pray the persecution will once again sift the Church removing false believers from the congregations while strengthening the faith of all who are willing to deny themselves, take up their cross and follow Jesus, even to death if necessary.

The hope is that the Body of Christ in China will emerge from this latest storm stronger and more Christ-like than they entered it, and the Church will be refined like pure gold. Consequently, they will be ready to push on and lead many tens of millions of lost people into the family of God, both inside China and in the surrounding nations.

Why is the Chinese Government so Opposed to Christianity?

Although multitudes of normal Chinese have been attracted to Jesus Christ and have willingly surrendered their lives to Him, the Communist leaders of the nation have always been hard-line atheists who see all belief in God as nonsense and a sign of weakness. President Xi Jinping, who appears to be a gentle, kind-nature man, is the son of Xi Zhongxun, a famous Communist soldier and revolutionary leader. The very foundation of Communism is atheism. They cannot tolerate faith in God, and over the past century tens of millions of people have been slaughtered throughout the world in pursuit of this God-hating system.

The real problem in this world is not politics, but sin. Only by preaching the Good News of Jesus Christ can people be saved and their sins atoned for, and that’s what we strive to do in Asia every single day.

If God doesn’t exist, then the Communists have nothing to worry about. Unfortunately for them, however, Jesus is alive and He will judge them severely for all their wicked deeds! No person or government can thwart the plans of Jesus Christ! Thousands of years ago another Godless and arrogant ruler found that he was no match for the Living God, and he humbly declared:

“His dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom endures from generation to generation. All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: ‘What have you done?'” (Daniel 4:34-35).

China’s leaders may think they have power to do what they want to the Church, but they do not! The Lord Jesus Christ has been given all power and authority on heaven and on earth, and His kingdom will continue to spread. No man or man-made system will stop it, and history is littered with the wreckage of kings and presidents who got in the way of God’s purposes.

Lessons from the Story of Bian He 

An ancient Chinese book tells about a man named Bian He who lived some 500 years before Christ: One day, Bian found a large stone which was actually an unpolished piece of jade. He presented it to the emperor, but the emperor saw nothing but a large stone, thought he was being tricked, and ordered Bian He’s left foot to be chopped off. Bian later sent the same present to the next emperor, who also saw only a stone and ordered his right foot to be chopped off. When a third emperor came to the throne, Bian held his jade in his arms outside the palace and wept for three days and three nights. The emperor sent someone to investigate, and then ordered the stone to be polished. Only then did they discover the beautiful jade within.

To their dismay, one day China (and many other nations) will discover that the Christians they torture and oppress, whom they suppose to be ignorant lumps of worthless stone, are actually the polished jewels sent by God to bring the blessing of Christ’s salvation to them.

“The people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits.” Daniel 11:32

A Joint Statement by 116 House Church Leaders 

After more than 30 years of serving the house churches in China, we have never known them to be timid, even in the face of fierce opposition. We were not surprised, therefore, when a group of 116 church leaders recently publicly posted an open letter to the government, in which they defiantly stated their intent to follow Jesus Christ regardless of the cost. The full text of their statement, in both English and Chinese, along with their real names and churches, can be found on our website. Below is a summary of their key points:

“We are a group of Chinese Christians, chosen by the Most High God to be His humble servants, serving as pastors for Christian churches throughout various towns and cities… We believe and are obligated to teach the world that the one true and living Triune God is the Creator of the universe, of the world, and of all people. All men should worship God and not any man or thing. We believe and are obligated to teach the world that all men, from national leaders to beggars and prisoners, have sinned. They will die once and then be judged in righteousness. Apart from the grace and redemption of God, all men would eternally perish…

In September 2017, the State Council issued the new “Regulations on the Administration of Religious Affairs” and began implementing these regulations in February 2018. Since then, Christian churches across China have suffered varying degrees of persecution, contempt, and misunderstanding from government departments during public worship and religious practices, including administrative measures that attempt to alter and distort the Christian faith. Some of these violent actions are unprecedented since the end of the Cultural Revolution. They include demolishing crosses on church buildings… forcing and threatening churches to join religious organizations controlled by the government, forcing churches to hang the national flag or to sing secular songs praising the State and political parties, banning the children of Christians from entering churches and receiving religious education, and depriving churches and believers of the right to gather freely…

We believe that these unjust actions are an abuse of government power and have led to serious conflicts in Chinese society. These actions infringe on the human freedoms of religion and conscience and violate the universal rule of law. We are obligated to announce bad news to the authorities and to all of society: God hates all attempts to suppress human souls and all acts of persecution against the Christian Church, and he will condemn and judge them with righteous judgement. But we are even more obligated to proclaim this Good News to the authorities and to all of society: Jesus, the only begotten Son of God, the Savior and King of mankind, in order to save us sinners was killed, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God, destroying the power of sin and death. In His love and compassion God has prepared forgiveness and salvation for all who are willing to believe in Jesus, including Chinese people. At any time, anyone can repent from any sin, tum to Christ, fear God, obtain eternal life, and bring great blessing from God upon his family and country…

Christian churches in China are eager and determined to walk the path of the cross of Christ and are more than willing to imitate the older generation of saints who suffered and were martyred for their faith. We are willing and obligated under any circumstance to face all government persecution, misunderstanding, and violence with peace, patience, and compassion. For when churches refuse to obey evil laws, it does not stem from any political agenda or from resentment or hostility; it stems only from the demands of the Gospel and from a love for Chinese society…

We believe and are obligated to teach all believers that all true churches in China that belong to Christ must hold to the principle of the separation of Church and state and must proclaim Christ as the sole head of the Church. We declare that in matters of external conduct, churches are willing to accept lawful oversight by civil administration or other government departments as other social organizations do. But under no circumstances will we lead our churches to join a religious organization controlled by the government, to register with the religious administration department, or to accept any kind of affiliation. We also will not accept any “ban or fine” imposed on our churches due to our faith. For the sake of the Gospel, we are prepared to bear all losses even the loss of our freedom and our lives.”

The Desperate Hunger for God’s Word

Since 1988, when the founders of Asia Harvest first started providing Bibles to the house churches in China, we have done all we can, under the power and enablement of the Spirit of God, to print and distribute the Word of God to the 60-80 million house church believers in China.

In the past year, the need for Bibles has become greater than at any time in our history! The massive persecution that is underway has made it even more difficult for Christians to access the Scriptures, as the government cracks down tightly on every aspect of Christian life.

A decade ago, we can think of a dozen or more mission organizations helping to provide Bibles to China’s house churches. One by one, we have seen those ministries stop this crucial activity. Some have been intimidated and expelled from the country; others have compromised in one way or another and been forced to close down or move on. Tragically, it appears Asia Harvest is now one of very few ministries remaining that is still helping fill this vital need among the house churches.

As you have just read, the house church leaders of China have made a statement of intent to continue serving Jesus Christ no matter what. A few years ago, when we first learned about the massive, systematic plan to wipe out the house churches, we felt that this will be a major spiritual battle for the soul of China.

If the Church is refined and comes through stronger than ever, maintaining its zeal for reaching the lost, we can imagine the number of Christians in China doubling or even tripling in size in the next 10 or 15 years. Satan is committed to doing all he can to stop that happening. This battle for the eternal destiny of one billion souls is the reason behind the massive persecution.

One thing is for sure: If the revival in China that has swept more than 100 million people into the kingdom of God under Communism is to continue and expand, the Word of God will be needed to establish and give vision to believers throughout the land. While the delivery of Scripture via all means is welcome electronic Bibles, downloads, video, audio and other ways our determination is to continue helping the way we know best and what the Chinese believers ask for the most. We plan to continue providing full, paper Chinese Bibles for as cheaply as possible, to as many believers as we can, as long as God gives us breath.

Recently, Asia Harvest passed the all-time milestone of having successfully delivered 11 million Bibles to China’s house churches. We plan to continue doing so as long as the Lord gives His grace and keeps the door open for us. All of our projects in China remain active. In fact, we are on track to print more Bibles in China this year than any other year since 2014. We appreciate your prayer support at this crucial time in the history of the Church in China.

While you have probably heard about the need for Bibles in China for many years, we ask you not to grow weary. The Word of God is needed more than ever just to meet the needs of new converts who are coming to faith. We invite you to pray for the Chinese Church and for the Bible project, for the supernatural protection of everyone involved in the process, and for the triumph of God’s people over adversity.

Asia Harvest continues to print and deliver full Bibles to the house churches in China for $1.80 per Bible. If you would like to partner with us to help our Chinese brothers and sisters, a one-time or monthly donations can be set up at our secure website.

Thanks to the grace of God and your prayers and generous support, Asia Harvest recently passed the milestone of 11 million Chinese Bibles printed and delivered to the house churches in China. Our co-workers provide detailed reports, allowing us to keep track of the Bibles we print and to create this distribution map. On behalf of all the grateful believers in China, thank you and God bless you!

China Bible Map (click to expand)

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

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Uyghur Muslim Ethnic Minority

China’s continued crackdown against the country’s Uyghur Muslim ethnic minority in the Xinjiang Province in western China shows no signs of abating. Since spring 2017, Chinese authorities have increased their suppression efforts against Islam, demolishing innumerable mosques and sending Muslims to re-education camps.

Recently, a Bitter Winter reporter visited the sites of six demolished mosques in the city of Kumul, discovering that while some remnants could still be found at one of the sites, the other five had already been leveled, disappearing without a trace.

A local resident who lives near the site of one of the demolished mosques commented, “The authorities destroying mosques and restricting or prohibiting Uyghurs from gathering for prayer service infringe on their freedom of religion. There are many Uyghurs who call Xinjiang their home, and nearly every group and every village have their own mosque. Right now, in Xinjiang, the number of mosques has already decreased by more than a half, and in the future, there may be no mosques left at all.”

People in Kumul have revealed that many mosques had been demolished in places such as Sibao of the Yizhou district in the city. Was it not for the locals, the outsiders would not even know that there have ever been mosques on those sites.

During the reporter’s visit, one resident gave an account of the overnight disappearance of a mosque near her house. “In November of 2017, at around 8 p.m., I saw the mosque for the last time, because, the next day at 9 a.m., when I walked by, the mosque had already been leveled. My house is only about 100 meters from the mosque, but I didn’t even hear anything that night. I don’t even know what time they tore it down.”

Commenting on the reason for the demolition of the mosque, an elderly man, over 70-years-old, said, “There’s nothing we can do; the Communist Party said the mosque was too difficult to manage, so they just tore it down.”

Uyghurs are a Turkic Muslim minority primarily located in the Xinjiang Province in western China. Since the arrival of a new regional party secretary from Tibet in 2016, they have been facing increasingly constraining measures, reports TomoNews.

Authorities can arbitrarily send people to detention camps considered suspicious, without charge or trial. Displaying religious signs, having relatives abroad, or even speaking Chinese poorly have proved to be enough to set off alarm bells.

No official figures exist, but a recent report by the Jamestown foundation estimates that more than 100,000 people are currently being held indefinitely. This goes alongside a widely-reported mass surveillance program.

Chinese authorities claim that the crackdown is only directed against Islamic terrorism and separatism, reported state-run newspaper China Daily. However, repeated human rights violations have been reported by various NGOs.

Following several terrorist attacks by Uighur Muslims that killed hundreds of Chinese people, the government keeps imposing more and more restrictions on its Uighurs.

No Beards. No Veils. No Children in Mosques. China says Islamic separatists in Xinjiang are the greatest threat to national security. The far western region is home to a community of some 10 million Uighur Muslims.

China bans fasting for Muslim students and public servants during Ramadan.

China bans Muslim students from attending religious classes.

China’s ultimate goal is to rid the country of Islam.

Building Leadership Communities and Citywide Movements

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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

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