Thursday, July 31, 2008
Christianity in China
My children have all attended Sunday School from earliest childhood. It never occurred to me that anything would prevent this. Yet in a country like China a child is forbidden to learn about Jesus or attend any kind of Christian education prior to age 18. Obviously this tactic would work well towards subverting effective growth of the faith when you consider the lack of influence in those incredibly formative years up to age 6.
Although churches are officially allowed in China, they are also rigidly controlled. Freedom of Religion as we know it in the USA is completely missing in this communistic nation. The only "official" Protestant church in China that is sanctioned by the government is called the Three-Self Patriotic Movement. According to Wikipedia: "In 1951, a Cantonese Christian named Y. T. Wu (1893–1979) initiated the Three-Self Patriotic Movement, which promoted a strategy of 'self-governance, self-support, and self-propagation' in order to remove foreign influences from the Chinese churches and to assure the communist government that the churches would be patriotic to the newly-established People's Republic of China. The 'Three-Self' is a characteristically Chinese way of abbreviating 'self-governance, self-support, self-propagation.'"
The full nature of the Christian church in China goes far beyond this state-sanctioned organization and thousands, if not millions worship and study the scriptures underground daily. Sadly, those who dare to worship in these underground, non-state supported churches are routinely persecuted and harassed and imprisoned. As the Communist Chinese government works overtime to prepare for the upcoming Olympics, which is supposed to showcase the best of their culture for the world to see, there will certainly be increased efforts to make sure the world does not see this 'shadow land' of the true, persecuted church of Christ.
If you wish to learn more about the persecuted church in China and around the world, check out the website for The Voice of the Martyrs. You can also subscribe free to their monthly magazine.