China (MNN) — Christians suffer in China as the government cracks down, but the Church continues to see explosive growth.
Early Rain Covenant Church is an underground church in China, but one that had been getting very active online. They caught the attention of the Chinese government, who raided the church in 2018. We have reported on Pastor Wang Yi’s nine-year sentence that he is currently serving.
Greg Musselman says Qin’s wife had been able to talk with him over the phone for many months, but hasn’t heard from him since March. “She says, ‘My reasoning makes me believe that he is still alive and that God is with him. However, not hearing from him is like an enemy. It hurts me so much that I suffer every day.’ Even reading that brings me to tears because you see this family just trying to serve Jesus.”
Where is the threat?
So why is this church such a threat to the Communist Party? Musselman says, “What the government is looking to do is if you are Chinese, you go along with the communist government and their ideology. The Church, and Christianity, is often seen as Western. But it’s also seen as not conforming to Chinese culture. The fact that these churches exist and have grown by millions, that is probably the greatest revival in all history.”
Musselman cites studies saying there could be as many as 200 million Christians in China by the year 2030. With growth like that, the Communist party fears the Church could start to threaten its power. It has responded by trying to crack down on any expression of Christianity. Musselman says even the Three-Self Patriotic Movement, the state-approved Protestant organization in China, has come under scrutiny lately.
And the consequences can be serious for Christians. Musselman says, “With COVID-19, we’ve seen how this has been used [for persecution] all over the church, whether it’s North Korea, Iran, Pakistan, India, and even in China. Christians, because they’re not followers of the state ideology, are being withheld food and aid.”
Pray for Qin Defu’s wife and family, along with other Christians suffering in China, that they would know they are not alone, and that Christ would comfort them.
And pray also that the church in China would continue to grow. Musselman says, “The thinking is that if this persecution intensifies, it could even grow faster. It’s kind of that double-edged sword: the persecution leads to the growth of the church. And yet, the persecution also tears families apart as we’ve been talking about in the suffering that they’re going through.”
The header image shows a church in China. ( Image by brownie hsu from Pixabay)