Once again, the news web-sites have stories of the oppression of Christianity in China. These appear fairly regularly, and in secular sources, not religious ones. The latest is here- https://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/christmas/chinas-communist-party-in-brutal-crackdown-on-christianity/news-story/f3d9475480d3d79db0a93279bae9cd7f
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is determined to ensure that there are no competing ways of thinking or existing, no competition for people’s affections and loyalty, no belief in anyone or anything that they do not control. And so they are determined to either control or destroy religion. Not just Christianity, but also Falun Gong, Islam, and anything else which does not reinforce the CCP’s vision.
Early it banned the sales of Bibles (unless they were modified to support the CCP and its ideology), detained up to a million Muslims in ‘re-education’ camps, and closed churches. Now it is ramping up that last one, breaking up Sunday schools, arresting pastors and banning Christmas gatherings and celebrations.
The only ‘churches’ that are untouched by this are the ones under CCP control and oversight, which now includes (thanks to a bizarre deal with the current Pope) the Roman Catholic Churches.
While the CCP might be taking control to higher and higher levels as it seeks to remove God from the world they control, they are merely following in the footsteps of various powers before. Whether the Soviet Union, Pol Pot’s Cambodia, Nazi Germany, or even the Roman Empire at the start of the early church, the script is almost always the same: bring church practice, doctrine and authority under the authority of the state to support and expand the control of the state, or be destroyed.
If we take a step back from this, the question that needs to be asked of many ‘progressive’ Christians is whether they are already heading this way? Conforming their practice and teaching to what is politically acceptable (caring for the poor, asylum seekers, refugees and care for the environment) while changing doctrine when it doesn’t conform to what present opinion deems acceptable (sex, marriage, homosexuality, education). Instead of the state, it seems that some churches and Christians in the west want to conform to public and media control. And it is public opinion and media storms which drive both the actions of the state and the beliefs of ‘progressive’ Christians.
We must pray for our brothers and sisters in China, that they will stand firm in their faith, keep their eyes on the hope that they have in Jesus, and that God will preserve his Church there. We must also be aware that we face a less brutal form of pressure here in Australia, although it pushes in the same direction. We too must stand firm in our faith, keep our eyes on the hope with have in Jesus, and pray that God will preserve his church here too.