China (MNN) — During the Communist Party congress, Chinese leader Xi Jinping won an unprecedented third term. He packed the government with his most loyal allies and demoted those in conflict with him. At one point during the congress, his predecessor was removed from the room.
The congress also amended the party charter, recognizing Xi as the “core” of the party and his ideas as essential to the Party’s continued rule.
The congress meets twice each decade.
As Xi’s power grows, Christians are concerned about the state of religious liberty in China. Kurt Rovenstine, with Bibles for China, says, “He’s not been a friend to the religious community. I mean, he has been pretty vocal about that. I don’t think that’s anything that he would deny. But he’s very much about protecting China and its interests. And the religious community at times, in his opinion, pushes back against that.”
Rovenstine says evangelism and the distribution of Bibles may get more difficult in the days ahead. “We’re pushing hard to get every dollar that we can get into that particular part of our ministry, getting funds directly into China to fund Bibles to the rural churches. That even funds study Bibles and those kinds of things for the leaders.”
“There is a possibility those doors could close on us.”
Older Chinese Christians have lived and ministered under a more authoritarian government. Pray their wisdom will lead the Church forward. Rovenstine says, “I think the church outside of China can take some comfort in knowing there’s a precedent that has been set. The Chinese church was, although fractured and scattered, no less effective. In some ways, it was maybe more effective.”
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The header photo shows Xi Jinping in 2015. (Photo courtesy of VOA News, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)