Most Western Christians try to live out their faith in the midst of world that subconsciously and consciously communicates that the world is “progressing” to a better and brighter future. At the same time, many Western Christians live with an incompatible narrative that the world is getting worse and worse as we tumble toward Armageddon and the return of Christ. But a wider angle lens of the world might challenge both of these assumptions. You may have heard that Communist China persecutes Christians. You may have also heard that the “new” China no longer persecutes Christians. Todd Nettleton from the Voice of the Martyrs says, “Whatever you have heard about China, it is true somewhere.” China is an enormous country encapsulating many different cultures and peoples and there is no one blanket statement that covers accurately the description of modern day China. But here is some general truth about China: Communists have brutalized Christians in the past and into the present. The persecution of the Chinese Church has resulted in the incredible growth of the Church. Some have estimated that at times there have been more than 30,000 new Christian converts in China every day. It is also true that in more recent years the Communist government has eased it’s persecution of the Church though it could not be said that it ever “stopped.” Fewer arrests were made, fewer Churches harassed, lighter sentences were given, etc. But in the most recent years, the persecution has increased once more with Church buildings forcibly having their crosses removed and multiple church buildings being bulldozed. Whatever we think of the idea of “progress” in the Western world, let us remember that there is a Church in China that knows the meaning of suffering, relief, and renewed suffering. And while we look at the news and try to comprehend it according to our Western narratives and according to the way it effects how we live, there is a faithful Church in China that is serving the Lord when there is want, when there is plenty and when there is want again. Can we try to look at the world through their eyes and share a little in their suffering as well as their fruitfulness?
Here are some brothers you can pray for in China. (From the Asia Harvest newsletter #143) Brother Chee: Arrested four times, most recently 2013, and brutally tortured on each occasion. Brother Xin: Arrested and jailed three times (2004, 2009, and 2014), and nearly beaten to death. Brother Zhou: A pastor for more than twenty years, arrested and tortured in 2008 and 2014. Part of his torture included having unknown liquid poured down his throat which ruined his health and has caused severe stomach diseases. Let us not speculate on how bad the world “might” get, and let us work with and pray with those who are looking to God to change it. You can learn more about the Church in China through www.asiaharvest.org