Day 22 of 40 – Prayer and Fasting for Church (You and I) and Leadership: Praying for the Persecuted Churches in China, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Africa and the Western World – True Stories – Why are Christians the most persecuted of all Religions of the World?
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Friday, 7th of April 2023
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Day 22 of 40 – Prayer and Fasting for Church (You and I) and Leadership: Praying for the Persecuted Churches in China, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Africa and the Western World – True Stories – Why are Christians the most persecuted of all Religions of the World?
Brothers and Sisters, as we enter into the fourth week of our Fasting for Church ( You and I) and leadership beginning today, Friday, April 7th, 2023. We will be focusing our prayers on the persecuted churches with particular focus on China – The Largest Christian nation with approximately and over 300 million Christians, mostly in underground churches, some who don’t declare because of fear of persecution; Saudi Arabia – The birthplace of Islam, Israel – The birth place of Christianity, Africa and the Western World ( Europe, United Kingdom, Americas) spearheaded by America.
We would look at what it was, what shape it has taken with true life stories and the prayers to focus on as we call forth His kingdom, His will on earth as in heaven ( Matthew 6:10), Persecuted christians, and some of us outside the epicenter, making commitment to follow through whatever God is revealing ( Isaiah 6:8) And doing this in Unity and love ( John 17:20-24)
Jesus Prays for All Believers
20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.
Jesus said in
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
For they shall be called sons of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
We included the peacemakers in the beatitudes because we facilitate peace between God and Man
I ask you and I ask me this simple question. The question is this : Why are Christians the most persecuted of all Religions of the world?
It is not because of our character or the fruit of Christianity, although, that adds to the fuel of persecution.
It is not because we say we all go to heaven and others go to hell and that all are sinners and we are righteous. That also adds to the fuel of persecution.
It is not because we say, we will serve no other god but one God through Jesus Christ. Although, that also adds fuel to the intensity of persecution experienced
It is because, Jesus, being a man makes Himself equal to God, and to add injury to that claim, He said, “He is the only way to God. And we’ll serve Him ONLY!”
Other christians persecute even amongst christians because we differ in our understanding of Jesus Christ, The Holy Spirit and God Himself and how to go about worship and doctrines of the kingdom of God.
These are the key ingredients in the battle of all ages.
Let’s look several statements Jesus made that set Him up against the Jews in His earthly ministry, including His pre-trial before the high priest and also before Pilate, the accusation leveled against Him.
5 Thomas said to Him, Lord, we do not know where You are going, so how can we know the way?
6 Jesus said to him, I am the Way and the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father except by (through) Me.
7 If you had known Me [had learned to recognize Me], you would also have known My Father. From now on, you know Him and have seen Him.
8 Philip said to Him, Lord, show us the Father [cause us to see the Father—that is all we ask]; then we shall be satisfied.
9 Jesus replied, Have I been with all of you for so long a time, and do you not recognize and know Me yet, Philip? Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father. How can you say then, Show us the Father?
10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in Me? What I am telling you I do not say on My own authority and of My own accord; but the Father Who lives continually in Me does the ([a]His) works (His own miracles, deeds of power).
Jesus Faces the Sanhedrin
66 As soon as it was day, the elders of the people, both chief priests and scribes, came together and led Him into their council, saying, 67 “If You are the Christ, tell us.”
But He said to them, “If I tell you, you will by no means believe.68 And if I[a]also ask you, you will by no means answer Me or let Me go.69 Hereafter the Son of Man will sit on the right hand of the power of God.”
70 Then they all said, “Are You then the Son of God?”
So He said to them, “You rightly say that I am.”
71 And they said, “What further testimony do we need? For we have heard it ourselves from His own mouth.”
6 When the chief priests and attendants (guards) saw Him, they cried out, Crucify Him! Crucify Him! Pilate said to them, Take Him yourselves and crucify Him, for I find no fault (crime) in Him.
7 The Jews answered him, We have a law, and according to that law He should die, because He has claimed and made Himself out to be the Son of God.
8 So, when Pilate heard this said, he was more alarmed and awestricken and afraid than before.
Christian Persecution in China and Religious Freedom in China
Today, we will look at persecution in modern China and Religious Freedom, updated for 2019 and we will make other nations persecution available within the 7 days upto next week Thursday.
Christian Persecution In China by Wang Yi
The persecution of Christians in China by the Chinese Communist Party is rising sharply, and today’s big data and artificial intelligence-enabled Christian persecution in China (see update at the bottom and missions organizations) is far more sophisticated and comprehensive than any past Christian persecution in China.
Until the 1990s, when the Chinese government discovered an underground church, its members were beaten or fined while their leaders were arrested, tortured, sent to labor camps, killed, or simply disappeared. The government also restricted the availability of Bibles (see Amity printing and Project Pearl).
Under President Hu Jintao (2003-2013), the Chinese government softened its approach. Discovered underground churches were “invited” to join the government-controlled Three Self church network, where unbiblical teaching still abounds but pastors do not (official pastor training remains restricted to China’s sole heretical show seminary – Nanjing Union Theological Seminary – that annually produces only 100 graduates for China’s 1.4 billion people). If the pressure to join the Three Self church network was resisted, the underground church Christians in some regions of China were left alone, while those in other regions were threatened with job loss, placed under house arrest or fined.
Why were the Christians in some regions spared persecution?
While Western democracies have democratically-crafted laws that apply to everyone, Communist China has autocratically-imposed laws that are applied selectively based on the people and the relationships involved. Underground churches in regions governed by Party officials favorably-disposed to Christianity tended to operate relatively unhindered, especially if their leaders had good relationships with those officials, while the Christians in regions governed by less favorably-disposed Party officials suffered raids, especially if those officials wished to line their pockets with the fines to be extracted.
Size and timing also mattered: the smaller the underground church, the less likely it was to be persecuted, while clampdowns tended to accompany major events (e.g., 2008 Beijing Olympics) and international developments (e.g., Arab Spring). The presence of a foreigner in an underground church raised a red flag, while receiving foreign funding triggered an alarm if discovered.
And as China’s economy boomed and land values rose, real estate developers bribed and colluded with government officials to steal the prime real estate of old, city-center Three Self churches, and the the body of Christ faced the more insidious temptation of money and heresies, including Western imports (see Christianity in China, Four Spiritual Laws, Eastern Lightning and Shouters).
Under President Xi Jinping (2013- ), the Chinese government embarked on a 3-phase, 14-year plan to gain total control of Christianity in China (see underground church).
In 2014, its religious bureau chief made the following deceptive and ominous declaration:
“Over the past decades, the Protestant churches in China have developed very quickly with the implementation of the country’s religious policy. The construction of Chinese Christian theology should adapt to China’s national condition and integrate with Chinese culture.” – Wang Zuoan, Director of State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA), to China Daily on August 9, 2014.
Of course, the body of Christ in China grew by the work of the Holy Spirit despite – not due to – the Chinese government’s “religious policy,” and Christian theology that adapts to a nation’s “condition” and integrates its culture is no longer Christian.
Also 2014, a nine page internal Chinese Communist Party memo that was not supposed to be seen by the public instructed cracking down on the “overly popular” religion of Christianity and instructed:
“The priority is to remove crosses at religious activity sites on both sides of expressways, national highways and provincial highways. Over time and in batches, bring down the crosses from the rooftops to the facade of the buildings… Be particular about tactics, be careful about methods… Use the idea of ‘illegal construction.’ This is crucial to investigate and prosecute from the perspective of laws and regulations to avoid inviting heavy criticism.”
The mask has come off in the third phase of the 14-year plan (see underground church), now under way. Thousands of crosses already have been burned (top) or ripped down from church buildings, increasing numbers of which are being closed and/or demolished (below is the January 9, 2018 dynamiting of a church in Shanxi province’s Linfei city (front view).
Inside the church buildings that remain open for now, crosses are being taken down or flanked by portraits of Mao Zedong and Xi Jingping, and singing songs that praise the Chinese Communist Party is being required before singing hymns. Pastors are being required to sign statements pledging to obey instructions from the Chinese government. Thousands of pastors already have been arrested, beaten, tortured, sentenced to years in prison, or simply disappearing (see Wang Yi).
Taking a page out of its playbook from the days of Cultural Revolution (1966-76), the Chinese government is again teaching school children that Christianity is an evil cult that spreads spiritual opium that they must not take and also warn and protect their parents from taking. The veiled threat to their parents is that their children will soon be instructed to report parents who believe in Jesus, let alone tell their children to believe in Jesus.
The Chinese government is now using mass surveillance technology, artificial intelligence, and big data to surveil all of its citizens 24/7.
600,000,000 face recognition-enable CCTV cameras (right) – nearly one for every 2 Chinese – will soon record all public space in China. Every inch of every street in Beijing is already covered. These cameras also are being forcibly installed inside church buildings, including over their doors, offering boxes, and Bible-selling counters.
To counter people who cover their faces with face masks, sunglasses, motorcycle helmets, etc., these cameras are now being hooked up to gait-recognition software that can identify someone from 50 meters away by analyzing thousands of metrics on how he or she walks.
All communication and activity on mobile phones, social media, and the internet is being recorded. Anyone applying for a new mobile or internet subscription must have their face scanned, and other biometric data, including fingerprints, DNA and blood samples also are being collected. In certain regions of China, for example, a DNA swab of the mouth is required to check into a hotel room. The Chinese government is now tracking virtually every social movement and behavior of all of its citizens (watch the video below), including who attends church, buys Bibles, and where those Bibles are taken.
The Chinese government is coupling this Orwellian mass surveillance with a totalitarian “social credit system” that scores and controls the behavior and the speech of its citizens. Every Chinese citizen is assigned a social credit score that rises and falls with behaviors the government deems good and bad, respectively. For example, donating money to a charity the government has approved or donating blood raises the score, while spreading a rumor or jaywalking lowers it. People with high scores get lower interest rate bank loans and discounted utility bills, while those with low scores are forbidden from getting loans, getting train or flight tickets, and enrolling their children in certain schools.
In the (near) future, believing or spreading the “spiritual opium” of Christianity, attending “illegal” underground churches, and buying or owning a Bible other than the Communism-friendly “Bible” that the Communist Party is currently writing (see Chinese Bible and “Sinicization of Christianity“) are expected to be added as major score-lowering offenses to this system, whose penal code is also expected to expand to include prison terms.
Is Christianity in China doomed?
Persecuting Christianity is like throwing water on an oil fire; it spreads and expands the fire. The intensifying persecution will purify the church in China, cut the current crossover traffic between the Three Self church and the underground church, drive true Christians into the latter, reduce the freedom of foreign missionaries, and may provide renewed impetus for smuggling Bibles into and clandestine Bible printing inside China. The body of Christ must rise up again both inside and outside China to confront this new round of thrashing about by Satan, whom Jesus crushed on the cross of Calvary.
Sinicization of Christianity
On March 28, 2018, China’s Three Self Patriotic Movement and China Christian Council announced (below*) “Sinicization of Christianity” in a declaration entitled, “Principle for Promoting the Chinese Christianity in China for the Next Five Years.”
What is “Sinicization of Christianity”?
“Sinicization” means adapting to Chinese culture a non-Chinese entity. Sinicization of Christianity, however, means corrupting Christianity to submit to the will of the Chinese Communist Party. This is evident in the key elements of the declaration (blue below), which, unlike the white paper on the supposed religious freedom in China released by the Chinese Communist Party, was made by two organizations that purport to be Christian.
1. Sinicization of Christianity will be led by the Chinese Communist Party and guided by “socialism”:
“To drive forwards the process on the Sinicization of Christianity, the following principles must be observed: Embrace and support the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party. Be guided by the core values of socialism and endorse the system, ways, theories and culture of our country’s development.”
2. Sinicization of Christianity will “adapt” Christian theology:
“The core and soul of Sinicization of Christianity are the Sinicization of theological thought. Only by the realization of Sinicization of theological thought will there be Sinicization in the true sense. Otherwise, the Sinicization of Christianity will be empty slogans like trees without roots, water without a source. Through deepening the development of theological thought, the Chinese Church should be guided to find a development model that adapts to Chinese society and gradually establishes a theological system for the Protestant churches in China that can adapt to the socialist society. Deepening theoretical research on the development of theological thought will promote this transformation.”
3. Sinicization of Christianity will be implemented by personnel who will be trained by “pushing” more “patriotism” and “socialism” at China’s “colleges on theology”:
“Maintain the right direction for running schools by strengthening the regulation of management and strive to improve the teaching quality of schools and colleges on theology. Sinicization of Christianity needs to be integrated into teaching and research and play an important role in Sinicization of Christianity. Curriculums require a higher proportion of teaching on the core values of socialism, patriotism, Chinese history, literature, philosophy and arts along with other traditional culture. Pushing these subjects on campuses and in classrooms allows for the correct guiding of students.”
4. They and others are to be indoctrinated with “hermeneutics,” “books,” and Bibles with “annotations” that promote the “core values of socialism”:
“Contents of the Bible that are compatible with the core values of socialism should be deeply researched in order to write books that are popular and easy-to-understand. Such books can be provided to grass-roots church members, pastoral workers and believers in general to widely spread information among Protestant churches and expand their influence. Include the core values of socialism as important content for preachers in the development of theological thought… Bible study needs to be strengthened to establish a correct view of the Bible and the biblical hermeneutics in conformity with the situation in China as a foundation for deepening the development of theological thought. Be conscious of fostering research talent on the Bible and lay a solid foundation for reinterpreting the Bible and writing annotations for it.”
5. And rather peculiarly, the declaration bemoaned:
“the lack of a pool of talent with accomplishments in traditional culture and theology has led to a failure to effectively carry out basic work such as translations of Christian works…”
Which “traditional culture” are they referring to?
It isn’t the Chinese culture since China abounds with its experts. Neither is it a foreign culture either since the stated aim of the Three Self Patriotic Movement is to keep foreign cultures out of China.
Which “translations of Christian works” are they referring to?
Since “Sinicizing” Christianity includes keeping foreign influences out of China, this phrase does not refer to translating into Chinese foreign writings about Christianity.
In their respective context, the first phrase refers to the culture in which Christianity originated, and the latter phrase to the translation of the Bible. What is being bemoaned is China’s lack of experts in Greek and Hebrew who can translate the original texts of the Bible into a new Chinese Bible that twists God’s Word to fit the ideologies of the Chinese Communist Party.
Then why not explicitly say that?
That would create an uproar and make it more difficult to slip such a translation to the masses. Veiled and nuanced language such as the one above is common in China.
How should we respond?
A. Spread the word and invite Christians around the world to both pray for the body of Christ in China and press the Chinese Communist Party to back off its plans.
B. Contact your government leaders and urge them to pressure the Chinese Communist Party via economic sanctions, including tariffs and the removal of China from the World Trade Organization (WTO).
C. If the Chinese Communist Party still proceeds with its plans and commissions a mistranslation of the Bible, Bible smugglers and underground Bible printers inside China should dust off their warehouses and return to active duty.
D. Those with “talent” hired by the Chinese Communist Party to “translate” the original texts of the Bible to its liking are advised to start with its final paragraph:
“I For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” (Revelation 22:18-19)
Religious Freedom in China
On April 3, 2018, the Chinese Communist Party published a white paper titled, “China’s Policies and Practices on Protecting Freedom of Religious Beliefs” and posted its English translation at http://www.scio.gov.cn/zfbps/32832/Document/1626734/1626734.htm.
This is the first expression of the Chinese government’s vision and policy on religious “freedom” in more than 20 years. Its key clauses are quoted below in blue and analyzed to ascertain if they express the intent to protect China’s freedom of religious beliefs or to keep China free from religious beliefs.
“China adopts policies on freedom of religious belief, manages religious affairs in accordance with the law, adheres to the principle of independence and self-management, actively guides religions to adapt to the socialist society…”
Since the Chinese Communist Party defines socialism in China, actively guiding religions to adapt to the socialist society means religions will receive “active” guidance – i.e., orders – to “adapt” to the Chinese Communist Party’s ideologies and policies.
“Actively guiding religions in adapting to the socialist society means guiding religious believers to love their country and compatriots, safeguard national unity, ethnic solidarity, be subordinate to and serve the overall interests of the nation and the Chinese people. It also means guiding religious groups to support the leadership of the CPC and the socialist system; uphold and follow the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics; develop religions in the Chinese context; embrace core socialist values; carry forward China’s fine traditions; integrate religious teachings and rules with Chinese culture; abide by state laws and regulations, and accept state administration in accordance with the law.”
Since the Chinese Communist Party decides what is in the “overall interest of the nation,” being “subordinate to” and serving those interests means being subordinate to and serving the Chinese Communist Party, including its “leadership,” “the socialist system,” embracing “core socialist values” and upholding and following “the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics.”
“The General Provisions of the Civil Law states that a lawfully established place of worship qualifying as a legal person may register for the status of legal person to accept donations.”
In other words, only officially registered Three Self churches, which are blanketed with face recognition-enabling CCTV cameras, can take up offerings, which the unregistered underground churches cannot take up.
“The Regulations prescribe the rights and responsibilities of religious organizations, places of worship, and religious believers when establishing places for and holding religious activities, setting up and running religious institutions, applying for legal person status, publishing and distributing religious books and periodicals, receiving donations, managing religious property, conducting charity activities, and carrying out exchanges with other countries. The Regulations prohibit the commercialization of religions, and include additions concerning religious information services on the Internet.”
Since the underground churches do not have “legal person status,” they are precluded from renting property for church services (“establishing places for and holding religious activities”), distributing Bibles (“publishing and distributing religious books”), taking up offerings (“receiving donations”), and sharing the Gospel on the internet (“prohibit… additions concerning religious information services on the Internet.”)
“Foreigners may attend religious activities at temples, mosques, churches, and other sites for religious activities. They are also permitted to preach at places of worship when invited to do so by Chinese religious bodies at or above the provincial level.”
Chinese provinces have up to 100 million people. The only “foreigners” to be “invited” by someone at that “level” are very well-known pastors, who return home and cite their invitation to preach as evidence of religious freedom in China, thereby serving the propaganda interests of the Chinese Communist Party.
“Foreigners who conduct religious activities within China shall abide by Chinese laws and regulations. They shall not establish religious organizations, set up religious offices and sites for religious activities, run religious institutions, or recruit foreign students studying in China without authorization; nor shall they recruit followers, appoint clerical personnel from among Chinese citizens or engage in other missionary activities.”
“The State requires the registration of places of worship for group religious activities in accordance with the law, so as to provide legal protection and ensure that all activities are carried out in an orderly manner.”
All underground churches are in violation of this requirement.
“Chinese religious groups must conduct religious activities in the Chinese context, practice core socialist values, carry forward the fine traditions of the Chinese nation, and actively explore religious thought which conforms to the reality in China.”
“Core socialist values” includes atheism, which is diametrically opposed to the Gospel of Christianity. And since the Chinese Communist Party defines “the reality in China,” Christianity cannot “conform” to it.
“Throughout history, different religions in China have blended together and drawn lessons from one another to become an integral part of traditional Chinese culture. In modern times, different religions respect and learn from each other, and take part in exchanges and dialogues, and a new realm of ‘five religions (Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Catholicism and Protestantism) working together to achieve harmony’ has taken shape.”
If “throughout history, different religions in China have blended together,” why does China still have “five religions,” all of which are over a thousand years old?
“According to General Secretary Xi Jinping’s report at the 19th CPC National Congress held in 2017, China will fully implement the Party’s basic policy on religious affairs, uphold the principle that religions in China must be Chinese in orientation and provide active guidance to religions so that they can adapt themselves to the socialist society.”
In other words, religions that do not become “Chinese in orientation” and that do not “adapt themselves to the socialist society” will suffer the wrath of Xi Jinping, who needs to heed the Gospel just like any other mortal.
Prayer for Persecuted Christians in China.
Father, thank You for the persecuted christians in China. Thank for how far You have led them and kept them. Thank for the growth in underground churches that Your Spirit is facilitating.
Your Word says in
23 And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified and exalted. 24 I assure you and most solemnly say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone [just one grain, never more]. But if it dies, it produces much grain and yields a harvest. 25 The one who loves his life [eventually] loses it [through death], but the one who hates his life in this world [and is concerned with pleasing God] will keep it for life eternal.
As the Persecution in China intensifies, we ask that there will be numerical and exponential increase in the numbers being added to the kingdom.
Lord we ask that You grant them the grace to stand faithful to the end. We ask that You thwart every orchestration of the government to adulterate the bible, we declare, it shall not stand and it shall not prevail against the word in Jesus name, Amen.
Lord we ask that You keep them to the very end and they will never deny You despite the opposition as You grant them a staying power deep from within them by the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit.
We ask that Your kingdom, Your Will prevails in China, as they commit to be and do all that You reveal to them in unity and love in Jesus name, amen
This brings us to the end of Day 22 of 40 – Prayer and Fasting for Church (You and I) and Leadership: Praying for the Persecuted Churches in China, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Africa and the Western World – True Stories – Why are Christians the most persecuted of all Religions of the World?
Ambassador Monday Oreojo Ogwuojo Ogbe
Gods Eagle Ministries