Wayne Cordeiro, pastor of New Hope Christian Fellowship, in Honolulu, Hawaii recounted a ministry trip he had to China in a recent Facebook video. He told the story of how believers in China caught gathering to worship in secret churches are taken to prison.
In Hunan Province, China, where Cordeiro was conducting leadership training, 22 Christians traveled for 13 hours to attend. Of the 22, 18 had been imprisoned for practicing their faith.
While in prison, they have no access to Bibles, so passages of Bible text must be smuggled in and memorized before guards confiscate them. As one Christian woman told Cordeiro, “we memorize it as fast as we can because even though they can take the paper away, they can’t take what’s hidden in your heart”.
One Christian man attending the training asked Cordeiro, “Could you pray that one day we could just be like you?” But the truth is, American Christians need to be more like them—the word of God is so precious to these brethren that they are willing to endure prison just to gather to hear it taught.
Cordeiro paints a heartbreaking picture of how Christians are being persecuted in yet another part of the world. Ironically, China is on its way to becoming the nation with the most Christians, with estimates at approximately 247 million by 2030.
However, these churches are limited to what can be taught through tightly-scripted sermons that include, adapting doctrine “to government and CCP [Chinese Communist Party] thinking”. Pastors must be trained by the government and the church must promote Chinese communist ideology.
Others prefer to attend underground churches so they can worship in Spirit and truth. But the government is cracking down on these unregistered churches. Churches are being disbanded, Bibles are being confiscated, meeting locations renovated, and pastors with some members are immediately sent to prison, in a government attempt to remove the Gospel message from the Gospel.
Christians in the U.S. are beginning to feel a tinge of persecution. They are being brought to court for remaining firm in their beliefs, being told to stop praying in school, ridiculed for their faith, and some churches are being targeted for violence.
But it is not what the Christians in China face—they are facing the real thing because they simply want to attend a Bible-based church. May we learn to pray with greater awareness for our brethren being persecuted in China.
Feature image source: istockphoto.com pamela_d_mcadams
Image source: istockphoto.com xijian