Despite ongoing threats, a house church in China’s central Henan province is rejecting an order from the government to stop all religious activities and remove all Christian signs from the building.
ChinaAid, has reported that, in September, government personnel informed the members of Emmanuel Church that they lacked the appropriate documents to meet legally and threatened to arrest anyone who continued to attend the church’s services.
Zhao, the woman in charge of the church, told China Aid the local religious affairs bureau then issued a notice commanding the church to move out of its building by September 25th, and requiring its attendees to destroy any “illegal structures” within three days or face penalties.
Government officials also urged members to join the Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM), China’s state-run church. Once churches join the TSPM, they must accept government supervision and obtain approval from the religious departments before holding any activities. In addition, the TSPM explicitly bans its members from bringing their children up in the Christian faith, stating that this is “brainwashing.”
Despite these ongoing threats, Zhao says that the church now meets daily, sometimes even gathering at night or going out into the desert to study the Bible and pray.
While the Communist Party says it protects freedom of religion, it keeps a tight grip on religious activities and allows only officially recognised religious institutions to operate.
- Give thanks for the growth of House Churches in China, and the commitment to meeting together of its members, even in the face of growing opposition.
- Pray for Chinese Christians, as they face threats and harassment, loss of jobs and ostracism from families. Pray for their faith to grow strong, and for continued opportunities to meet together and encourage each other.
- Pray for Chinese pastors in prison for their faith, Pray for protection for them and their families, for their release from prison and for charges against them to be dropped. Pray, too, that their guards and other prisoners will see Jesus Christ reflected through their lives and come to know Him for themselves.
- Pray for the Chinese Government to come to recognise the Church and Christianity as relevant to China and its people not just as a western threat to security.
Psalm 56 vs 11: “in God I trust and am not afraid. What can man do to me?”
Source: http://www.gospelherald.com/articles, http://www.persecution.org