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Posts Tagged ‘China’

1 Missionaries, as such, are not welcome in China. Yet China’s desire to improve trading relations with the world makes it possible for many Chinese and foreign Christians to enter as:

a) Tourists — over 30m visited China in 1995 and spent $US9 billion. Many Christians were among them. Pray for their ministry of bringing literature, aid, comfort and, in some cases, teaching. Pray also for safety for them and their baggage, tact and wisdom in their contacts, and guidance for travel.

b) Students — usually for language or cultural studies in various universities. In 2000 there were over 10,000 from 120 countries. Living conditions are often spartan and uncensored friendships with Chinese hard to maintain. Pray for Christians among them to be used of God to share Christ with those who are genuinely seeking the Lord.

c) Foreign experts and businessmen. China aims to recruit about 30,000 experts annually to teach English, Japanese and German as well as other subjects, and also to build up China’s technology and industry. Pray that many may be radiant Christians able to impart their faith while on the job.

d) Chinese family members who visit their ancestral homes. These have flocked to China in their millions. Christians among them have sometimes seen astonishing results when staying with relatives.

2 Provision of Bibles is still inadequate, despite the large increase in the number of copies available. By 1999 it was reckoned that there were 36m Bibles in China. The famine of the Scriptures is most acute in provinces far from the 60 legal distribution points and for the house churches. Amity Foundation, founded in 1986 and sponsored by the TSPM and the UBS, set up a large printing operation in China, and over 22m Bibles and New Testaments had been printed by 1999 — nearly all going to TSPM congregations. House churches have now commenced their own Bible printing presses. A further 12m Bibles and NTs are estimated to have been brought in by visitors. Pray that this flow might increase and that Christians might have access to a copy of God’s Word. There is a great need for study and children’s Bibles. Importation of Bibles is not illegal but prevented for ideological reasons. The Bible League and OD are two of the largest suppliers of Bibles to the house churches.

3 Video and audio tapes. The increasing availability of play-back machines is making foreign-produced Scripture, song, evangelism and teaching tapes a useful means for disseminating the Truth. Pray for all involved in preparing and distributing these tapes.

a) The JESUS film is being widely seen on home video in 20 completed language versions (including eight Chinese dialects, Mongolian, Uygur and Zhuang). Many other language editions are in production or planned. Pray that the film may receive official recognition for public showing.

b) Teaching tapes that deal with the moral and ethical devastation left by Marxist thought and provide solid biblical teaching are a great need to help the many intellectuals who are coming to faith. Pray for the production of reading materials and tapes to fill this need.

c) GRN has produced gospel messages or tapes in 160 languages and dialects; much being done during 1999, but recordings are needed in many more.

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OPERATION WORLD: China – The Church

The unregistered or house church networks are the heart of the true Church in China. Intense persecution has indigenized and purified it. Prayer, revival, simple living and a christocentric theology characterize it. Twenty or more larger networks are known to exist, but their numbers are a matter of conjecture. Reasonable estimates range between 30 and 80 million, or 50% to 80% of the total Christian population. There are many challenges to pray over:

 

a)      Persecution is a present reality. Increasing pressure since 1989 is a measure of the fear of the Communists of such a large movement they do not control. Their aim is subjugation or elimination of this threat. Since 1996 the level of persecution has increased on house churches not willing to register with the TSPM. Arrests (hundreds in 1999), heavy fines, forcible closures and destruction of church buildings (200 in 1997) have increased in some key areas. Pray for the continued commitment of believers to preach Christ and Him crucified whatever the cost and without compromise.

 

b)      Ongoing evangelistic outreach. Witnessing Christians and itinerant preachers, though violently opposed by the authorities, have spread far and wide, but many provinces, districts and towns are still unreached. Pray that Christians may continue to be bold for Jesus and implement their missionary strategy for reaching China.

 

c)       Challenges to face:

i) Isolation and lack of teaching can lead to extremes in legalism, theological emphases and use of spiritual gifts.

ii) How to handle increased contacts and communications with evangelical Christians around the world — finance is a major component for good and bad. The new quarterly magazine Voice of China is compiled by leaders of house church networks for distribution worldwide.

iii) How to make what has long been a strong rural movement impact those who are urban and intellectuals. The lack of formal education of many leaders, many of which are women, hampers this. Pray that more men may be converted and that an impact for God might be made on the cities. The authorities are better able to control and restrict any Christian activity in cities, so house churches tend to be smaller and more secretive.

 

d)      The intellectual elite is largely urban. Only since 1989 have large numbers of students and professionals come to Christ, yet the proportion that believe is far lower than in the rural areas. Networks of small, often secret, groups have emerged. Pray for the multiplication of such, for this is of inestimable importance for the future of the gospel in China.

 

e)      Leadership for the churches. The widespread lack of Bibles, teaching materials and Bible-literate leaders has stimulated many innovative discipleship ministries in different house church networks during the 1990s. Pray for many godly men and women to be raised up.

 

f)       The multiplication of heretical sects and doctrinal extremist groups. The lack of Bible knowledge and of mature leadership has opened the way for many exotic messianic, syncretistic and divisive groups, some of which have spread over much of China. In some areas they now constitute 5% or more of the unregistered church population. Many have exotic names such as Lightning in the East, Lingling, Shouters, Established King, Cold Water, etc. Pray that this growth might be slowed by the loving proclamation of the truth of God’s Word through radio, literature and preaching.

 

g)      Spiritual unity has been furthered by recent persecution. Leaders of various house church networks are increasingly standing together in both affirming their common biblical faith and making public statements to the authorities. Pray for continued development of trust and fellowship between different house church networks and between Bible-believing leaders of the house churches and the TSPM.

 

h)      Missions vision. Some house church networks have long cherished and supported missions outreach to other provinces and to ethnic minorities. There is growing vision for foreign missions and some Mainland Chinese have become missionaries in other lands. Some predict China could become the greatest sending nation in the 21st Century!

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About 7% of Chinas population is Christian today, but their distribution is not even. In this section are given some of the nationally significant but less evangelized sections of the population.

1 The nearly 60 million Communist Party members are, by definition, atheists, but ideology is a facade to cover self-seeking opportunism. Disillusionment and defection to Christianity has led to many resignations. Pray that the Holy Spirit may convict many more of their sin and need. Among them are also many secret believers.

 

2 The armed forces, who are the protectors of the Marxist state, and who jealously guard their privileged position and network of industries. There are 2.8m in uniform, but very few Christians among them.

 

3 The ‘lost generation’, the young people mobilized as the Cultural Revolution Red Guards. The millions involved were morally warped and exploited, losing their youth, education prospects and hopes of betterment in the madness of those years. Pray that they may find hope in Christ.

 

4 Those still bound by the idolatrous superstitions of Daoism, Buddhism and the legalism of Confucianism. These customs and philosophies are being revived, but young people are not so attracted to them. A new religion, Falun Gong, gained world publicity and shocked the authorities in 1999 with a quiet protest in Beijing — they claim 70m followers in China. Pray for the millions still bound and needing the freedom only the gospel can give.

 

5 Children and young people under 18 number over 500m. It is illegal to teach them religious ‘superstitions’. The TSPM churches are not allowed to run Sunday Schools or youth groups — most have forgotten how or are afraid to minister to children and young people, but some are quietly doing more to disciple them. One of the great needs of China today is for teaching materials and the know-how of Christian ministry to this group.

 

6 University students (3m) are the key for the future. The shock of the events of 1989 have brought many to Christ, but most students are still unreached. Pray for:

a) Christians among them to be built up in their faith and to be fervent witnesses.

b) The establishment of Bible study groups on every one of the 1,054 campuses.

c) Those who study abroad. About 100,000 go overseas annually for study, but only about 25% return. Most go to Japan, USA, Europe and Australia. Their numbers in 1996 globally were 600,000. Among them is an unprecedented openness and a good proportion have come to the Lord.

 

7 Muslims number 25m, and are almost entirely linked to specific ethnic groups — the indigenous Uygur, Kazak, Uzbek, Kyrgyz, Tajik, Tatar of Xinjiang, the Salar of Qinghai, Dongxiang of Gansu and the Chinese Hui of Ningxia and scattered all over China. (See under the provinces below.) Islam is a sensitive issue in China because of a past history of Hui revolts and unrest in Xinjiang. Few ministries are targeting the Muslim peoples, and few Chinese believers feel adequately prepared for such outreach. Pray for the evangelization of these peoples and for the calling of committed workers to them.

 

8 Ethnic Minorities comprise 8.7% of the population, 100m people in 464 distinct non-Han ethno-linguistic groups.

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2 Leadership training is woefully deficient, and a crisis need. It is reckoned that there is but one ordained pastor for every 7,000 TSPM members. By 1999 there were 18 official seminaries with 1,200 residential and 3,000 distance-learning students. Pray for:

 

a)  Faculty — often selected for their political correctness rather than for their walk with God. Pray for those teaching who are Evangelical despite the prevailing liberal theology and textbooks. Pray that biblical teaching and holiness of life might be central in their lives. In 2000 the anti-Evangelical stance was strengthened.

 

b)  Students. Many apply, but few are selected; nevertheless most are Evangelical but face a constant battle against the erosion of their faith. The number of students and ordinations has been deliberately restricted, but during 1999 a considerable expansion in facilities and enrolment was reported. Only 800 pastors were ordained 1992-95, and most of these were over 45 years of age.

 

c)   Protection from interference. During 1999 a severe purge of evangelical faculty, textbooks and students was carried out at the national seminary in Nanjing. Support from congregations for Nanjing, the five regional and 12 provincial seminaries is very low because of the political manipulation. Libraries are usually poorly stocked.

 

3 The Catholics were divided when the Marxists set up the Catholic Patriotic Association in 1957 with its own structure and hierarchy independent of the Vatican. The majority of Catholics demurred and went ‘underground’, with their own bishops and illegal seminaries. The loyalist Catholics have suffered severe persecution because of their commitment to a foreign leader. More recently there has been a growing rapprochement between the two. There are over 12m Catholics in the two bodies, and over 60,000 are converted annually. Many Catholics are charismatic and ardent in their faith.

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1 The Three Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM) was instituted by ‘patriotic’ and often theologically liberal Christians with the strong encouragement of the Communist Party as the interface between the government and Church. After 13 years of oblivion it was reconstituted in 1979 to wrest the initiative from the burgeoning house church movement, and enable the government to control and manipulate the Church. The China Christian Council is the governing body for all official church-related activities. Pray for:

a) The neutralization of all measures to impose unbiblical doctrines on the churches, limit evangelism, and force conformity to the dictates of the atheist government. Pray also for an end to the enforced compromises in the state-controlled TSPM-related churches.

b) Leaders who have compromised the faith and bowed to government pressure. The restrictions laid down are: no childrens’ or youth work, avoid preaching on the Lord’s return and on creation, a ban on healing or exorcism, and limited evangelism. Praise God for many who quietly ignore the rules of men.

c) The continued growth of the registered churches. Many godly leaders quietly continue to serve the Lord in TSPM churches. The growth in congregations and members is downplayed by the authorities but is dramatic. There were 1,000 open church buildings in 1983; 7,000 churches and 20,000 official meeting points in 1988, becoming 13,000 and 35,000, respectively, by 1997. Six churches a day are being registered. There are estimated to be 500,000 baptisms in the TSPM churches every year, and adult membership in 1997 was estimated at 17 million.

d) Relationships between the TSPM churches and house churches. Most house churches regard with distaste government manipulation and control and see separation as fundamental to the survival of a spiritual Church. Some house church leaders reject all contact, others have succumbed to the increased pressures and outright persecution since 1989 to register. In 1995, an estimated 30% of Protestant Christians were linked with TSPM churches. This has probably risen to 40% in 2000. Increasingly there is overlap with many attending and ministering in both. There is also a steady drift away to house churches by new converts disillusioned with the level of compromise.

e) The future of the TSPM. Growth, despite its major flaws and weaknesses, has been astonishing. This is likely to slow as the TSPM leadership becomes entrenched in bureaucratic, corrupt ways and fails to address either the spiritual needs of ordinary Christians or the serious social problems of China. The result is likely to be fragmentation, regionalization, renewed denominationalism and massive defections to house church networks. Pray for revival and renewal to purify the TSPM and its associated churches.

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Ministry a laser beam of light in dark corner

 

North Korea (ODM/MNN) ― Do you ever wonder if anyone is making a difference in the darkness of North Korea? Open Doors is. They’re planting seeds of hope in a country that is widely recognized as the world’s worst persecutor of Christians.

This is happening not only in North Korea but with persecuted believers around the world.

About 40 North Korean women regularly receive Bible study training, child education fees, and living expenses in one Open Doors project.

“Our greatest reward is to see their lives change through a stronger faith in our Lord and to see them become devoted mothers and wives,” says an Open Doors co-worker.

One North Korean believer wrote: “We will do our very best to spread God’s Gospel in North Korea. Thank you so much for your continuous support and care.”

According to Open Doors ministry statistics for 2008 released today, training in North Korea increased more than in any other country. Training Christians in the Word increased from 440 in 2007 to 4,212 in 2008 in the country ranked No. 1 on Open Doors’ World Watch List of 50 countries where Christians suffer the most severe persecution.

North Korea also had more people receiving social-economic assistance than any of the 45 countries where Open Doors ministers to the persecuted. According to Open Doors statistics, 54,330 North Koreans were helped in 2008, which was a 42 percent increase over 2007.

“We give thanks to our Lord for enabling Open Doors to increase the number of pastors and church leaders trained in the Word in 2008, and also the increase in the number of people helped through our social-economic programs,” says Open Doors USA President/CEO Dr. Carl Moeller. “Also, Open Doors continued its delivery of Bibles and Christian materials — almost 4 million — to believers around the world. Open Doors is truly making an impact for His kingdom. All this would not be possible without the support and partnership of thousands of individuals and churches who share our passion for the persecuted.”

Worldwide, 3.9 million pieces of literature were delivered in 2008. They included Bibles, children’s Bibles and materials, study Bibles, New Testaments, Gospels, training materials and other types of literature to strengthen Christians. Literature deliveries increased by 74 percent in Central Asia, 51 percent in Vietnam, 28 percent in the Middle East, 25 percent in sub-Saharan Africa and 22 percent in Egypt.

After receiving a children’s Bible, Daniel Abba, 13, of Nigeria, said: “This is the greatest gift of my life. It contains life; it has an answer to all my needs. It will teach me how to be free from sin. I can use it to help others who are walking toward destruction.”

More than 114,400 Christian leaders were trained in programs that varied from intensive, on-going theological training courses to shorter seminars designed to teach and encourage persecuted Christians. Worldwide, Open Doors training increased six percent. In addition to North Korea, training increased significantly in India (79 percent) as persecution there increased.

Open Doors sponsors many Standing Strong Through The Storm (SSTS) seminars in India each year as well as in many other countries. At SSTS seminars, participants learn about what the Bibles says about persecution. Also, the participants are encouraged in the faith, and trainers let them know believers in the West are praying for them.

Mary Patmajhi, 17, attended an Open Doors-sponsored SSTS seminar for women in Gopalpur, Orissa, after the August 2008 violence. She is a student who wants to study but is unable to do so because of aftermath of the violence. “I really want to study and be something for the Lord. The Open Doors seminar that I have attended has given me hope and encouragement. The exhortation that we as young people received during the seminar,  to give ourselves to the Lord and the community, makes me want to serve the Lord by becoming a person of influence for Him,” she said.

More than 206,500 individuals around the world benefited from Open Doors’ social-economic development programs in 2008, a 37 percent increase from 2007. In addition to North Korea, there were large increases in aid in the Middle East (465 percent), sub-Saharan Africa (136 percent) and Southeast Asia (40 percent). Also, social-economic support increased in India from 35 persecuted Christians helped in 2007 to 23,464 in 2008; mostly due to the violence against Christians in the state of Orissa.

In China, there was almost no social-economic outreach in 2007. But after the Sichuan earthquake last May, Open Doors partnered with churches to help more than 3,860 individuals.

One example of Christian community development outreach is a center in Iraq which provides the Christian community with vocational training (in English and computers), a bookshop and library. Due to violence in the country, some of the other centers established were forced to close.

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Persecuted ChurchUZBEKISTAN – Government Cracks Down on Religious Literature

The Uzbekistan government is continuing its persecution of Christians and Baptists, punishing them for distributing free literature. In one case Christians were questioned for seven hours without food or water, according to Forum 18 News. A Baptist believer was fired from his job as an electrician after the secret police confiscated his religious literature. Pray for believers living under intense pressure in Uzbekistan. Ask God to give them courage and endurance.

View article…

 

In Other News

Muslims attack Christian community in Punjab

       One woman has been killed, and 28 people have been injured at the Presbyterian church in Songo. Violence is on the rise in the Swat Valley and in the northern regions. Thousands of people are fleeing after the introduction of sharia, including many teachers and entire families. In Takhtbhai, in the district of Mardan, there have been bomb attacks on 16 music stores.   

This post was published on 05 March 2009

To read the entire entry please click on the link below:

http://mychristianblood.blogspirit.com/archive/2009/03/05/muslims-attack-christian-community-in-punjab.html

CHINA – Elderly House Church Leader Arrested

On Dec. 31, Yuan Shenlun, a coal miner in his 70s, was arrested when he went to pick up books and CDs at a storage center, according to China Aid Association. On Jan. 20, he was formally arrested, placed in criminal detention and accused of “using an evil cult organization to obstruct justice.” Shenlun was arrested after receiving a phone call from an anonymous person requesting he pick up 100 sets of “Watchman Nee’s Collective Works” and six sermon videotapes. When he went to the storage center to pick up the materials, Public Security Bureau (PSB) officers were waiting for him. Yuan was previously arrested in 1983 and served 14 years in prison, accused of being part of the Christian “Shouter” sect in the first Chinese government “Strike Hard” campaign. After his release, he continued in his evangelical faith in the house church movement. Yuan Shenlun’s wife is ill and his imprisonment prevents him from caring for her. Pray Shenlun is released from prison. Ask God to heal his wife and provide for her needs. Praise God for Shenlun’s faithfulness. View article…

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