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Perhaps you are aware that over the last couple of years, China has dramatically increased its persecution of religious people in that country. You have probably read how they have systematically put around one million Uighur Muslims into 260 identified concentration camps. Virtually all of these camps have a factory of some kind in them so the prisoners can be used as forced labor for the state. Additionally, torture, forced birth control, and brainwashing sessions are common in these camps.
And perhaps you are additionally aware that the Chinese government is doing much the same thing to Christians. To try to stem the growth of the Christian faith in the country, the Chinese government has instituted many policies:
- Teachers are forced to sign a pledge not to believe religion – especially Christianity.
- Chinese Christian children are forced to sign a form publicly renouncing their faith.
- Every church must affirm the authority of the Chinese Communist party as a part of their doctrine and practice.
- Churches must install face recognition cameras around the pulpit and outside the church to monitor everyone’s activities.
- Pastor’s must pass a political test to show their loyalty to President Xi Jinping – affirming loyalty to communist ideology above the Bible and the Lord.
- Christian terms have been removed from religious books (even the word “Christ”).
- Biblical texts are being rewriten to distort their meanings in the officially allowed Bibles in the country.
What the government doesn’t seem to realize is that this kind of persecution only spreads the faith even more. It was that kind of persecution that caused the early church to explode in size, and the same dynamic seems to be happening in China causing it to expand from around four million in the 1950s to 100 million today (though there are some estimates that the true number may be over 230 million – actual statistics are nearly impossible to obtain).
With the increased persecution of Christians in China, the Chinese church is experiencing unprecedented revival. Even when believers go to prison, they view their prison sentences as opportunities to share their faith without the distractions of everyday life. In that way, even the prisons become church.
Of course, that is China. America is different, right? That could never happen in America!
Well, if that’s what you believe, you might want to rethink your position. In recent times, Christianity has been taking a hit in numerous ways. Christians are being lambasted mercilessly by people in higher education, politics, the news media, business – and let’s not leave out the entertainment industry. In particular, we constantly hear criticism of Christian beliefs about abortion, gay marriage, transgenderism, recreational drug use, out of wedlock sexual relations, and much more. But during the pandemic, it got even worse. A number Christian hating state governors and city mayors did everything they could to shut down churches. In California, they went so far as to not even allow home Bible studies. And they might even have been able to justify their oppression if they had been consistent in their actions – but they weren’t. They shut down churches while allowing other businesses and organizations to keep on operating.
And of course we all know about the bakers and wedding photographers who have been taken to court for their unwillingness to compromise their Christian convictions by doing business for gay weddings. And are you familiar with the Christian Florida State University student body president who was removed from office because he indicated support for Christian values on a leaked social media post?
While all of these situations demonstrate injustice or unfairness, I am not complaining here about the persecution. Jesus, Himself, told us this would happen. It is something we can certainly expect.
But when it does happen, that doesn’t mean we should just roll over and take it. Obviously, the Chinese Christians haven’t. But there is more than one way to fight back. We can fight back in the political arena – and honestly, we should do that in ways that are consistent with the republican form of government that we have here in America. God has made us stewards of this world, and a part of our stewardship responsibility is to do what we can to take care of our society. In ours, that means being a good and active citizen to promote truth and right. So pushing back politically is a good thing.
But there is a kind of push back that is even better. It is one where we expose the false beliefs of the oppressors and share with them our faith in Jesus Christ. That has the potential to, literally, change people’s lives. And when enough people’s lives have been changed, they won’t be fighting against Christians anymore. They will be on our side – themselves sharing truth and right.
Freddy Davis is the president of MarketFaith Ministries. He is the author of numerous books and has a background as an international missionary, pastor, radio host, worldview trainer, and entrepreneur. Freddy is a graduate of Florida State University with a BS in Communication, and holds MDiv and DMin degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is a popular speaker, particularly on the topic of worldview and its practical implications for the Christian life. He lives in Tallahassee, FL, with his wife Deborah.
You may also contact Freddy at Leadership Speakers Bureau to schedule him for speaking or leadership engagements.
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