Should Christianity in China come Out of the Closet?


Chinese Christians
Originally uploaded by smh00a.

On Sunday, President George W. Bush attended a church service at one of four state-sponsored Christian congregations in the People’s Republic of China, Gangwashi Church in Beijing. He had this to say after the service was over:

THE PRESIDENT: Pastor, Laura and I thank you very much for your hospitality. Our friend, Luis Palau, from America, is here, as well. You gave a great sermon. The spirit of the Lord is very strong inside your church. We thank you for carrying a message of love, like you did.

You know, it wasn’t all that long ago that people were not allowed to worship openly in this society. My hope is that the government of China will not fear Christians who gather to worship openly.
A healthy society is a society that welcomes all faiths and gives people a chance to express themselves through worship with the Almighty. So we welcome — we really thank you for letting us come by, and we ask for God’s blessing.

Thank you all.

I have to ask this question: Would it really be a good thing for China to declare that all forms of Christianity are allowed to meet openly and freely, without fear of persecution or the requirement of registering with the government? Would one of the greatest movements of God — I am talking about the millions of underground, “house church” Christians in China right now — be stifled by such legislation? Would some Christians still choose to meet in secret, reproducing communities of faith quickly and organically and not bowing to the strong-armed Chinese government?

The reality of the coming of the kingdom of God is spreading the fastest within the most “closed” countries to Christianity — China, India, and many African countries. Small, reproduceable communities that embrace fully the working of the Holy Spirit in their midst are spreading across these “closed” countries like wildfire, and one must ask if supporting the founding of more “state-run” churches in China (or any of these countries, for that matter) is the best thing for the kingdom of God. It seems to me that where Christians are on the margins, there they are the most fervent and the most obedient disciples.

We have friends headed to China to study Mandarin and eventually settle down there. Friends, do you have anything to add on this subject? Am I completely off-base?

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