According to the 2018 Chinese census, there are 40 million professing Christians living in mainland China. Some informed individuals believe the number of Christians is actually closer to 100 million. Given the rising repression of Christianity under the administration of President Xi Jinping, it is reasonable to assume that many did not publicly acknowledge their Christian faith on census documents.
A great wall separating Christians from the rest of the population has been under construction since President Xi took control in 2013. Yet, the number of Christians has continued to grow. Some estimate that, allowed to continue to grow at the same rate, the Christian population in China will become the largest in the world by 2030.
That poses a threat in the mind of the communist leadership, stimulating efforts for officials to limit the unregistered church population.
Click this link to read previously published Missions Box News articles about how the Chinese government is, rather quietly, making it impossible for Christians to own Bibles or to worship together. Yet, the persecution goes largely ignored as the world focuses on a U.S./China trade war.
Many, therefore, are unaware of the latest initiative of the Xi administration. The project is dubbed “Return to Zero.” Its objective is to completely eliminate Christianity from “the public sphere.”
Leaders from the “religious bureaus” of each Chinese state will convene at a conference in June to formulate a workable plan to eliminate any public display of Christianity within the next two years.
We can expect a continuing campaign of house church closures using municipal governments and resources to enforce the nationwide campaign. Officials have no inclination for negotiation. Informed sources at International Christian Concern believe that the Chinese
“will not use violent measures this time, since their primary goal is to shut down gathering places or merge house churches into Three-Self churches.”
On the other hand, we cannot forget that the government will do whatever is ultimately necessary to close Christian churches, even if it determines that it is necessary to “strike and destroy them.”
The only alternatives open to pastors and churches is to become a Three-Self church or to be closed. Three Self churches are required to teach a profane, Sinocized version of the Bible which, according to the Apostle Paul “is no gospel at all.” Three Self pastors must have all sermons pre-approved by government officials.
Pray for the true believers in China. Should the Lord tarry, the repression they are facing will certainly digress to outright oppression and unabated persecution. On the other hand, should He return soon, President Xi will have his wish come true. The Chinese believers will be gone, but they will be at home in Heaven, safe from all harm.