Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Churches in China

When sharing about persecution in the country of China, sometimes people will disagree and say, "There is religious freedom in China! I've seen pictures of Christians entering churches and worshipping." What many don't realize is that those churches are government sanctioned and run.

Churches that the government allow are part of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement. These are the only "open, legal" churches that the Communist government of China allows. And these are also the churches that many Western people see.

Brother Yun in his book, The Heavenly Man, said, "We see the Three-self Patriotic believers as caged birds. Yes, they are able to sing to the Lord, but their environment is controlled and their wings are clipped. They are free to sing only within the restrictions imposed on them." Government leaders have severely restricted Three-Self pastors. Any sort of ministry outside of the normal Sunday service is not allowed without permission. Evangelism is strongly discouraged and certain parts of the Bible are forbidden from being preached out of. Teaching on the Second Coming of Jesus, divine healing, and the book of Revelation are banned.

When one reads about persecution in the land of China, you can assume that you are reading about Christians in a house church. The government has dedicated a great amount of energy in trying to wipe out the house churches that dot the landscape of China. People within house churches refuse to be bound by an atheistic government telling them how the can and can't live the Christian life. They still honor their leaders and prayer for them, but they have chosen to obey God rather than man.

So, yes, there are churches allowed by the government, but not the true church of Jesus Christ. Churches, but not religious freedom. For an in-depth look at the Three-Self Patriotic Movement, I would encourage you to read The Heavenly Man by Brother Yun and Paul Hattaway.

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