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-China Has a Plan to Eliminate House Churches?

by Dr. D ~ February 21st, 2013

Flag of the Chinese Communist Party ??: ??????...

                (Flag of the Chinese Communist Party:  Wikipedia)

For over 40 years the Chinese communist authorities used everything and every tactic at their disposal to eliminate  illegal Christian groups meeting clandestinely in private homes.  They arrested the leaders and persecuted the families and yet the ‘house churches’ in China continued to grow exponentially.

When the communist took over the country in 1949 there were less than 900,000 Christians in the country but thousands of Western missionaries. The red Chinese kicked all of the missionaries out of the country and closed down the churches, made Christianity illegal and the Christians went into the closet. Today no one knows how many Christians there really are in China but the numbers exceed 150 million and their numbers are growing by the millions each year.

What happened?

The answer to that question depends upon whether you are a believer or not. According to testimony of Chinese believers during that period they were sustained by miracles, visions, healings and guidance from the Holy Spirit. The accounts read like the Book of Acts. However if you are an unbelieving Chinese Communist then the answers lie in successful secret organization.

Finally as an answer to the problem of growing illegal Christian organizations that were out of control, the Chinese authorities authorized the establishment of a legal Protestant church –Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM).  One which they could bring under their control- both the teachings and the leadership. The TSPM was originally founded in 1951 but like all other churches became illegal during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) but in 1979 it was officially recognized by the government. Today there are 23 million members of the official church.

Over the years since 1979, house church leaders have been ‘encouraged’ to join with the TSPM many times in lieu of jail or punishment. Nevertheless, the house church movement has continued to grow among those Christians who want to be independent of government control, particularly in their choice of leaders and teachings.

Now apparently along with the appointment of a new Government leader of the State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA), a new three-phase program was adopted in 2012 to wipe out unregistered house churches.

Three-Phase Program to Eliminate house Churches

First Phase: 2012-The State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA) secretly investigated house churches across the country and created files on each one discovered.

Second Phase: The second phase will entail ‘strongly encouraging’ unregistered churches to become part of the TSPM—at which point they would become known as official "house gatherings."

Third Phase: Presumed to be the forced elimination of all house churches and house church leaders.

Actually the 3 phase program is nothing different than what has been tried unsuccessfully before. However this all-out concerted nation wide effort reminds one of the ‘dark times’ of the ‘cultural revolution’ when tens of millions were killed for all sorts of reasons. Look for increased persecution for faithful Christians in China. Also look for the ‘house Church’ movement to continue to grow but now more in secret rather than out in the open as they have been in the last 20 years or so.

Most Americans have come to look upon China as a benign trading partner and a source of cheap products but severe punishment and persecution of Christians could change all of that and have negative repercussions. However it is doubtful that the American media will carry the stories of any Chinese Christian persecution.  So we will be watching for any future developments in the 3-phase program through Christian mission sources and in the foreign press.                *Top

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