I Stand With Christ Zhang Rongliang was the only person in his rural mountain village in China who possessed a bible and it was more precious to him than gold. At a time in China when Bibles were being confiscated and burned, Zhang managed to hide his Bible from the authorities and even hold secret Bible-study meetings in his village. But Zhang was actually a high level official in the Communist party. In the early days, Zhang had been a strong advocate for the Communist movement’s idealism. Zhang did not yet realize that his devotion to Christ and his devotion to the Communist party were in conflict until a fateful day when Zhang was supposed to be promoted to a prestigious position in the Communist Party while simultaneously being asked to help perform secret water baptisms by the Church. Zhang had reached a cross-roads. A small voice said to him “Jesus comes first” and he chose to go to the baptism. The authorities had gotten wind of the midnight baptism and ambushed the congregation, arresting many. Zhang was among those arrested by his own
officers! Once Zhang was recognized, the authorities were furious that one of their own, not only still believed in this “superstition”, but even propagated it in defiance of the government! When given the chance to renounce his faith and return to the comfortable lifestyle of a high ranking Communist officer, Zhang chose to stand with Christ. The result was that Zhang’s poor village home was turned inside out in order to try to find Zhang’s Bible and Zhang himself was beaten, tortured and imprisoned in order to get him to break his loyalty to Christ and to betray other members of the secret Church. But Zhang never broke, to the glory of God. The Apostle Paul said of his own imprisonment: “I want you to know, brethren that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel…. most of the brethren, trusting in the Lord because of my imprisonment, have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear.” Philippians 1:12-14. Pastor Zhang lost everything to follow Christ, even his Church congregation. When Pastor Zhang was finally released from prison years later, he expected to find a beleaguered Church, but instead he found a Church that had grown exponentially! We are not called to do anything fancy. We are simply called to stand with Christ. Remember to pray for your persecuted family in China.
(You can hear more about Zhang Rongliang’s amazing story in his book “I Stand with Christ” available through Back To Jerusalem)