Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Ch*rch in Ch*na

It's Monday morning in Linyi, and we're getting ready to start our week of training with our second group. Please be pr*y*ng. (Note: If you're curious about my odd spelling, email me.)

Before I left on this trip, I got a lot of questions about the ch*rch in Ch*na. Questions such as:
  • How much persecution is there?
  • Is Chr*st*an*ty in Ch*na growing?
  • Are you worried about being arrested?
  • What kind of people will you be meeting with- registered or unregistered?

I'm FAR from being an expert of this topic- this is only my second trip. However, I've been learning a lot, and picking up some things from my teammates. I think I can safely make a few observations. Obviously, there are a million things that could be said here. If you want to hear more, let me know, and I'd be happy to talk after i get back to the US.

  1. Everything you've heard about Ch*na is true.
    If you've heard that there is increasing religious freedom, that's true. There are places (especially in the major cities) where ch*rches, both official and unofficial, are visible, dynamic forces in the community. If you've heard that there is a still persecution, that's true as well. There are still incidents where pastors and ch*rch leaders are jailed, held for a few days or weeks, and then arbitrarity released.
  2. Am I worried about being arrested?
    Short answer- No. The worst that could happen would be that they would simply send us home. Our US team would probably be on a plane to the States in less than 24 hours. Let's face it- we're not the courageous heroes in this situation.
  3. Is Chr*st*an*ty in Ch*na growing?
    It's difficult to put exact numbers on it, but everyone agrees that the Ch*rch in China continues to expand quickly- especially among the young people. It seems as if every university has dynamic, growing outreach happening among its' students.
  4. What are the major threats to the Ch*inese ch*rch?
    A few years ago, this was an easy question to answer- government persecution. However, I'm hearing two different answers to this question that are now vying for the position of "#1 threat": materialism and lack of leadership. As the economy expands, and the people enjoy the fruits of growth, many of the youth have become obsessed with material possessions. And the vast majority of the ch*rches are led by people with no real training- you'd be amazed to hear stories of the bizarre cults that have taken root in many parts of the country (even in the ch*rches).
  5. Who do we meet with?
    We meet with people who want to be trained and pass the training on to others. In most cases, we don't ask a lot of questions. We don't even know people's real names, for two reason: 1) We couldn't pronounce them anyway, and 2) If we're asked, "who are you meeting with?", our ignorance is a valuable commodity.

If you'd like to learn more, I suggest two books you might want to read: "J*s*s in Beijing" and "Kingdom Without Borders".

(Note: I've written this post very carefully. If you'd like me to send you a more extensive version, email me at I have a secure email line, so I can send it to you without concern.)

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