The Underground Church

The Chinese government is attempting to increase their control over religious freedom in the country, and their most recent attacks have been on Christianity. In Henan, China, churches have been raided, demolished, and even burnt down. Bibles and other holy books have also been destroyed, and new laws have been put into place to further stop Christians from gathering and sharing their faith. The intensity of these attacks have continued to increase over the past several months.

The Chinese government is claiming that the crackdown on religion is in the interest of national security. How could Christianity be a threat to national security?

The goal of the Communist Party of China, led by President Xi Jinping, is to maintain its power through national unity – including the control of all religions. Since the Communist Party took over the implementation of the regulations on religion, the treatment of religious groups has become much harsher. Christians are a particular focus because they are the largest social force in China that isn’t controlled by the state.

Christians from Muslim or Tibetan Buddhist backgrounds also face rejection and attack by their communities, as leaving their traditional religions is seen as a betrayal.

So religous groups in China have to meet in secret.

More here

Meanwhile in the Phillipines they have been holding secret baptism services. They couldn’t be baptised openly without fear of being persecuted. So they had to have a secret ceremony with local church leaders. The way they did it, without raising suspicions, was by diving into the water. It’s a pretty unusual way to get baptised, but it was still a really special moment for them More here

Meanwhile in the UK, Christians are meeting in barns on remote farms. They are also meeting secretly in cafe’s and bookshops.  Just like in China, invitations to these meetings are passed by word of mouth to trusted people with minimal information, the time and place is quietly given. At these meetings the persecuted church does pray, read from the scriptures, sing hymns and listen to a sermon. At other secret gatherings the sacrament is given.

While some are moving to different premises, others are meeting covertly in regular church buildings.

Last Sunday police intervened at the Angel evangelical church in Clerkenwell, north London, after its pastor publicly announced his intention to hold a service. In Gedling, Nottinghamshire, two arrests were made at the Mustard Seed Christian bookshop and cafe after a gathering of up to 50 people last weekend.

“I never thought I’d say this in Britain, but churches are going underground. These are not isolated cases – and the longer it goes on, more churches will join the movement,”

Andrea Williams, chief executive of Christian Concern, a conservative evangelical group, and a member of the C of E general synod.

 “We’ve carried on as normal [during the current lockdown]. We’re holding a couple of services each Sunday, with about 160 people attending in total.Advertisement

“We’ve asked people to be discreet. This is not a stunt we’re pulling, we’re not seeking publicity. It was a big decision – I’ve never practised civil disobedience before.”

The government had overreached itself, he added. “I don’t believe the government has the authority to tell the church of Jesus Christ that it can’t gather for worship. They have provided no evidence, they just classed us as non-essential. But we believe worship is the most essential thing in life.

“We answer to a higher authority. When there is a contradiction between the laws of the country and God’s command, the Bible is very clear that God’s command must win out.”

A minister at a London church

The ban on communal worship in England has been challenged by the leaders of the Church of England, the Catholic church and Orthodox Judaism, along with Muslim, Hindu, Sikh and Pentecostal representatives.

More here.

The church in the UK is the biggest provider of social services in the voluntary sector. Even just dealing with things like Salvation Army, Christian run night shelters, church based pre-schools and food banks and do these things better than any government could.. Yet Christians, with a Christian monarch and a church established in law are beginning to find themselves on the wrong side of the law for simply practicing their faith. They don;t mind the Church doing nice things but object to the Church having meetings where such initiatives tend to be born.  You can’t have one with out the other. 

As people of faith are the most likely to vote in every election, it’s not a sensible decision. Just the church alone amounts to about 3.5 million church goers on the basis of 5% of the population. That alone could decide the outcome of a General Election. Maybe they’re not planning on having anymore elections like authoritarian regimes don;t. So both main parties are indulging in idiocy. When local churches get together and pray for the police force or something, it boosts the moral of the people being prayed for if they believe or not. Doesn’t the government want any encouragement?

First they stopped Christains celebrating the most important day of the year, Easter Sunday and now they are not allowing Christians to celebrate Advent Sunday to ‘save Christmas’. Banning Advent Sunday to save Christmas? Yeah right!

Meanwhile in the Sudan the persecutors of Christ (Acts 9:4) are loosening their grip. First of all the transitional government in Sudan removed the death penalty for leaving Islam, then later committed to the total removal of Islamic law. Now  Sudanese Christian and Muslim leaders have signed a declaration to work together on promoting religious freedom in a country. More here.

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