China (MNN) — A new media law went into effect on March 1 in China, putting broader restrictions on digital Christian communities. With COVID lockdowns continuing, believers turned to online resources to do ministry. In order to not run afoul of the media law, Chinese Christians have begun registering their churches and websites.
Won’t this draw more attention to their work?
Erik Burklin with China Partner says, “Nothing is underground in China. I remember years ago, there was a pastor who told me, ‘You Americans, when you come over to China, are interesting. You always look for the underground church. You have this infatuation with the secrecy of the underground church.”
In reality, the Chinese government already knows where the house churches are. In many cases, that makes them less likely to interfere.
Burklin says the government always feels nervous, “Not so much about Christianity growing, but more that they might grow in such a way that they might attack the communist system, and that the communist system would fall someday. That’s what they’re scared of. They want the control of their system to exist forever.”
“And they also know what happened in Eastern Europe, for instance, when the wall came down. That all was instigated by many, many Christians.”
Christians have always made powerful people nervous, not because they start revolutions, but because they often bring lasting change to society. The love of Jesus changes people’s hearts and destabilizes unjust power systems.
Ask God to strengthen Chinese Christians as they navigate these tensions. Burklin says, “They’re discouraged, like all of us would be. But I would also challenge our listeners to pray for President Xi and leaders in our country and their country.”
Header photo courtesy of China partner on Facebook.