Sunday, August 17, 2014


When I was a kid, we heard at church that we had 'lost China.' That meant the missionaries had been thrown out of the country. After a century of sacrificial work, there were maybe three million Chinese Christians. When missionaries were thrown out, the only thing we could think was that we had lost China.
Persecution in China Is Very Real
Image: Ng Han Guan / AP
Chinese police officers watch and prepare to detain worshipers near a 
building where Shouwang house church leaders told parishioners to 
meet in Beijing, China, Sunday, April 10, 2011.

During the Cultural Revolution, Mao Zedong burned the seminary libraries, expelled Christians from the country, and declared that the name of Jesus would never be pronounced on Chinese lips again. He tried to erase the Christian faith. The Chinese church is now perhaps the fastest growing church in the world.

According to a survey published in 2010, there are now approximately 52 million Christians in China and over 50,000 registered churches.  

Statistics published in: Katharina Wenzel-Teuber, David Strait. People’s Republic of China: Religions and Churches Statistical Overview 2011. Religions & Christianity in Today's China, Vol. II, 2012, No. 3, pp. 29-54, ISSN: 2192-9289.
Estimates vary widely above these baseline figures.  The fast-growing 'house church' movement is illegal and unregistered.

Two interesting elements; (1) growth came in the absence of Western support and encouragement, and (2) growth came when the price was highest for an individual.

Official and behind-the-scene abuse of citizens who choose to be Christians continue today. The ChinaAid annual report states that the number of incidents of persecution increased in 2012 from the previous years, including a number of arrests, sentencing to labor camps, short term detentions, rape and torture in police custody, destruction and confiscation of property, the loss of jobs or business licenses, fines and police intimidation, and beatings.  (See 2014 report) (See 2016 report, 2017 CNN update)

Iraqi refugees from ISIS insurgence

Displaced families from the minority Yazidi sect, fleeing the
 violence in the Iraqi town of Sinjarl west of  Mosul, arrive
at Dohuk province
Elsewhere in the world, religious intolerance is in the public eye.  ISIS is perhaps the most behaviorally irrational and difficult to understand.

Is there an appropriate response from us as individuals?  As a nation?
It's just news and numbers until you realize there are people involved.