How about a Chinese Church faith report? I should have blogged on this insightful article last year, but find myself only now starting to write. The question is: Should we see the Chinese church as persecuted and needy or perfectly provided for? Or just how should we see them?
This article brought a hearty Amen from my heart. See the quote below.
Though this narrative (China as a persecuted needy church) may have been accurate in the 1980s as China emerged from the dark shadows of the Cultural Revolution, the church of today is much better resourced. Hundreds of locally run training institutions, both official and unofficial, are equipping a new generation of leaders. A vibrant online Christian community conducts worship services, hosts conferences, and shares discipleship resources—all within the bounds of China’s highly regulated internet. Through innovative local nongovernmental organizations and Christian-run enterprises, believers have emerged as salt and light in their communities. Most of these activities require little or no foreign involvement, and in today’s anti-foreign climate, such outside help could be a liability.
See the whole excellent article here. During COVID-19, millions of Chinese Christians did Church on line using Wechat which the government has total access to. Peace reigned. Well, China has 1.4 Billion people. If you find a story of one official in one community who gave trouble to Christians at some time, I do not think that tells the whole story of millions of iterations that do not have that. If you have a case of bad behavior I should note, please write me at the contact page.
It Is Easy to Get a Biased View
Chinese people see stories like George Floyd and mass shootings or Asian hate crimes and think all America is murderously racist and everyone carries a gun. It is not true. America has problems with guns and racial relations. However, it is not fair to say no one lives safe in America because of it.
The news on the right and the left likes to make problems. All news agencies make money on problems. They do their best to make problems bigger and encourage division and conflict. They also give a skewed picture of the worst issues.
The same happens when we get news in the West about China.
Chinese Church Faith From the Inside
Let me summarize my life in China these 30 years.
I can live where I want and do what I want and meet with who I want. Even more so, I can have church meetings with my friends every week and usually on line even though I am a foreigner. Persecution is not on the list of the top 10 issues facing the Chinese churches.
I shared faith with the taxi driver I was with last week, and I have no fear of bad repercussions from such evangelism.
We stream Chinese Christian music and videos in Chinese on in-country servers without trouble.
I can write this blog every week as well with no fear of trouble.
The Chinese church is a young church but it on its feet. I estimate that 3% of the Chinese people have saving faith (42M souls out of 80 million church goers and 1.4billion people). I have several concerns about the church in China, and none of them are about peresecution.
If you want to pray for China, pray about family relations here. Or pray about church relations. Feel free to pray about the tendency for the whole church to be reformed theology. I like reformed thinking, but does God want all Christians in China to be reformed and feel smug about it? Also, welcome to pray about the church here being 75% female.
Finally, God bless the Chinese church. It has struggles and most Christians I know here are 1st generation. It is messy, but God is among us. May our tribe increase.