How would you like to drive on a road like this? In many ways this road represents the slippery path that the Chinese church is currently traveling. As I mentioned in past blog posts that we would eventually get around to posting about our big trip to China I would like to start mentioning some things now.
Things have changed rapidly. This could have been a good thing but it is not. We got into some lively debates with some local brothers and sisters we have never met before while we were there. We were speaking to a group of some brothers and sisters we knew and some we have never met before who were also in some ways considered ‘leaders’ in some context. We were speaking about the importance of getting out and sharing the gospel to the lost and how we especially need to be supporting those brothers and sisters that are out sharing the gospel on a daily basis. Whether the response was in anger perhaps because they were convicted in Spirit is not something new, we have faced similar situations like this before in China.
I remember years ago I was doing a training with a group of local leaders and teaching some evangelism and outreach strategy and methods for them to try that we had found great success with along with other Chinese churches as well. We were able to see new churches start as a result of these efforts. Soon after we had one guy who continued to challenge us. “You don’t understand us, these things are foreign and can’t work in China.” I responded, “That’s funny because the method we are teaching you was developed by a local Chinese in China” however some of the outreach strategy was some that we had come up with over the years based on our own experience. I then responded with a challenge “If our method is not suitable for China like you say then would you please share a better method? Please share with us the better method because we are ready to listen and learn. Could you please tell us who is using this method currently and the results they have seen as a result of these efforts?” He said there was none. It was then that I told the brother in love that we should be like Daniel did when he issued a challenge. “Give me a chance to prove my diet and if it is not proven I will eat the king’s food” The same way we challenged this brother to not be so rash in his outright rejection just because we are foreigners, even though the method we were using is Chinese, however because of his instant bias he didn’t know this.
This group of people we didn’t know began to get upset with us saying “We should only be sharing the word of God and that is all” Meaning that if you go out and share the gospel that you should only use the scripture and the Bible and nothing else. As we continued in fierce debate that any conversation that is leading in the direction of a gospel message even if it is paraphrased is a good thing. They didn’t not agree and began to insult us about how we are cheating people. This was also in front of brothers and sisters who knew and respected us. So it was time to take things to the next level because we saw that this was not merely a spirited debate rooted in love but actual men who have crept in unaware. “For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.” Jude 1:4 We then proceeded to challenge them based on what were we cheating people? They continued with the accusation that we should only be using scripture alone. I then called them out as religious pharisees who were seeking to create extra biblical rules for others to follow and to create a religious following after themselves and their own ways. They continued to accuse us in the group meeting. Needless to say we were shocked.
We brought this situation up because there is a danger in the Chinese church. The house church in China is under immense pressure to register with the government and come under it’s control or suffer persecution in many different forms (not necessarily physical) As more Christians in China are pressured to join the Three Self Government Church we have seen a great increase in this type of activity. It is quickly becoming a type of state run religion where you have a group of ‘religious leaders’ in control and they just seek to create an environment of blind obedience to following them. This is the same thing that happened in the times of the Pharisees. It was later that we found out that these “religious leaders” we did not know were indeed from the three self church and were either intentionally planted to attack anyone who opposes the state run church or their own religious following.
We will continue to follow up with additional posts about dangerous issues faces the Chinese church in future posts. Please continue to pray for us and if you feel led to support us in some way. https://missionhog.com/donate/
In the Father’s grace,