Even as millions of Christians openly celebrated the birth of Christ recently, for those in the provinces of Guangdong, Shandong, and Yunnan, Sichuan, and Guizhou, the government of China banned the gatherings for members of the unofficial, unregistered ‘house churches.’
More specifically, the government targeted churches that are not part of the Three-Self Patriotic Association. In general, since a 2017 law tightened restrictions on religious gatherings, teachings, and buildings, Christians saw a spike in religious persecution.
This year, due to the concerted sinicization effort (making all things more ‘Chinese’), the US Commission on International Religious Freedom designated China as one of 16 ‘countries of particular concern’ for religious freedom violations deemed ‘egregious.’
A new ‘normal’ for Christians in China
Ministries have been adjusting their strategies as they’ve seen the shift. Bibles For China’s Kurt Rovenstine explains they stopped taking teams into China because they saw that the undue attention distracted the church leaders from their mission. “When we pulled back, life was easier for (them). That was really an eye-opening kind of a thing and somewhat convicting to know that we were putting such a strain on the local pastors.”
Instead, Bibles For China focused on the simplicity implied in their name: a passion for Bibles, a heart for China. “We are really interested in developing relationship with leaders. We strongly believe that to continue to do what we do in China is to develop relationships with folks within the registered church that allow us to continue to provide Bibles, in areas where, because of the changes that are taking place, we can no longer go.”
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SOURCE: Mission Network News, R.B. Klama
CALL TO ACTION
- Pray that God would bring revival to the Chinese Church.
- Ask God to open more doors for Bibles to go out in China.
- Ask God to provide creative wisdom in the Chinese Church as they look to 2020.