Communist China and The Christian Church: A Glimpse Into The Future

Chine Creating “system of persecution for the future”, Open Doors warn.

WASHINGTON — China is creating a “blueprint” “system of persecution for the future” that could be sold to persecute people across the globe, head of the prominent Christian persecution watchdog agency Open Doors USA has warned. 

Open Doors CEO David Curry, joined by pastors from China, issued the dire warning about how China could be shaping the future of international religious minority oppression through its use of surveillance technologies to monitor Christians and other religious adherents. 

Open Doors, which operates in 60 countries, released its influential annual World Watch List data report Wednesday at an event attended by representatives of the Trump administration, Congress and human rights activists. The annual report ranks the top 50 countries where Christians are most persecuted.

During a briefing, Curry warned that the “greatest threat,” in his opinion, to human rights worldwide is China, which rose in the rankings from No. 27 to No. 23 in the 2020 report. 

Although the communist nation is not ranked as highly as other violators on the list, Curry stressed that the implications lie in China’s development of surveillance to control its people. 

“Its implications are not just for Christians within China but for every country and for religious freedom generally,” Curry said. “Let me put it together. It is like a puzzle. The pieces are there but it is not until you put it together that you see it clearly. When you see it clearly, it is frightening.”

David Curry, president and CEO of Open Doors USA, addresses the rise of global Christian persecution at the 2020 Open Doors’ World Watch List press conference in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 15, 2020. | Open Doors USA

The pieces of this puzzle, Curry said, involve China’s use of a social score system that grades its citizens based on their actions and the government’s creation of a network of surveillance cameras that have been put on street corners and in churches. 

“Imagine a system where citizens are given 2,000 points and every time you do something they government disagrees with, you are marked down for it,” Curry detailed. “Eventually, your travel is restricted, your children won’t get into the best schools. You lose points for taking your children to Sunday School. That is what the experience is like for many Christians in China.”

Curry traveled to China just a few weeks ago. 

“I saw with my own eyes the surveillance on the street but also in the churches, watching their congregation,” he said. “Facial scans when you come in and then tracking you and generating reports [with] assumptions built into their artificial intelligence system that is tracking Christian behavior.”

Curry said that the more often a person is seen going to church, the more often they are to be labeled a “radical.”

“They are shutting down house churches at a massive rate — 5,596 churches shut down, many because they refuse to put surveillance cameras up to watch their congregation.”

Pastor Jian Zhu, who was raised in China but now is the director of the China Institute at Lincoln Christian University in Illinois, told those in attendance that China’s persecution against house churches is now the worst he has seen since 1979. 

“The Chinese government now has placed severe restrictions and policies on the house churches, asking neighbors to spy on one another, pressures school teachers and college professors to betray and sign a statement to denounce their faith as well as to do the same to the students,” Zhu said. 

Zhu explained that many churches are asked to take down crosses inside and outside their buildings and put up pictures of President Xi Jinping at the center of their worship stages. Underground churches are also accused of illegally fundraising because they collect offerings from congregants. 

Zhu said he has heard of cases where some cities have shut down all house churches.

“Now, they are trying to eliminate Christianity from public life,” he said. “Cameras are all over to watch church and Christians go to Sunday service. Families are threatened to not go to church or they will be punished or their relatives could be in trouble.” 

One Christian from China who attended the Open Doors event told The Christian Post that he and his family fled from China after the house church he attended was shut down.

Curry stressed that the data “seems to point to the fact that China seems to be resurrecting the god-as-government state.”

“We are all threatened by this: atheists, Jews, Muslims, everyone,” Curry said. 

“They are using this artificial intelligence and surveillance to a whole new level,” he added. “All indications show that in 2020 — and this is why we are highlighting this — they are bringing these two systems together. They are merging the social scoring system and surveillance and artificial intelligence to give them the tools and the power to oppress the people.”

Curry said that the indications are not “just fear” or “unfounded.” 

“It is already happening in a very grave way: not to Christians but to Uighur Muslims,” he said, noting that hundreds of thousands if not millions of Uighur Muslims have been sent to “re-education centers” in Western China. 

“Muslims are forced to give up their faith and their culture. It’s only a matter of time before the world is going to jump on this technology because China is selling it to Iran, they’re looking to sell it to Egypt and other countries as well.”

When asked why China was not ranked lower on the World Watch List, Curry told CP that the World Watch List scores across measurements of private life, national life, violence, and others. 

“So while China is No. 23, we are highlighting it because of what I think is this blueprint,” Curry contended. “They are creating a system of persecution for the future and we have to call it out now. Otherwise, it will be too late. Otherwise, they will sell it to Iran and others to oppress their religious minorities. That is why it needs to be really highlighted. Within five years, it would be almost too late to stop them.

Curry said that Open Doors has asked the White House and others to support proposed legislation that he says would provide steps to “control the use of artificial intelligence and facial recognition around the world.”

“What assumptions are being built into this that we need to know?” Curry asked. “Does going to church make you a terrorist in China? These are things we need to know.”  

From The Christian Post

The Insanity of Sacrifice

“Coming out of an environment of debilitating persecution and death in the Horn of Africa, we set out to visit other believers in similar settings to discover for ourselves if Jesus was trustworthy. Is Jesus able to accomplish in the Somalias, the Afghanistans, and the Syrias (and in every other place!) of today what He did among the Roman Empire of His day? Was His resurrection simply an isolated historical event –or is that same resurrection power available to those who walk with this Living Jesus today?

Within a brief time, we were given the opportunity to travel the world and learn from brother and sisters in Christ who had survived —and who were continuing to survive—in settings of severe persecution. Over the next decade, we visited more than seventy-two countries, and interviewed more than six hundred followers of Jesus who live in environments of persecution and the possibility of imminent death. Much to our amazement, we discovered that these fellow followers of Jesus were not merely surviving —they were thriving in their faith. And God was blessing them in remarkable and startling ways.

What we learned were life lessons from believers living in persecution, who are living out the resurrection —even today. Our search through countries revealed dramatic testimonies of believers who have come to know God intimately as a faithful friend —a friend who calls us to a life of sacrifice modeled after His own.

This matter of sacrifice is a challenge for all of us. And we will be wise to approach any conversation about it with a spirit of humility and prayer. It is our sincere hope that, through the stories contained in these devotions, God will change all of us. It is our prayer that God will give you a heart for the world. It is our desire that you will embrace the privilege of sacrificing for His glory.

God, we are so thankful for Your sacrifice that allows us to know You as Father, Savior, and Lord. God, we recognize that You have sacrificed Your Son for us. And we wonder if maybe that sacrifice should be the end of the story.

But You invite us to join You in sacrifice.

Why is our sacrifice still needed? Following You is so much harder than simply studying about You. Please give us courage as You call us forward.”

Excerpt from The Insanity of Sacrifice, A 90 Day Devotional by Nik Ripken with Barry Stricker, p. 6 – 7

Other recommended books by Nik Ripken:

The Insanity of God

The Insanity of Obedience

Please pray for an abundance of God’s grace and the comfort of the Holy Spirit to be with those suffering persecution and the possibility of imminent death, in many nations today, for the cause of Christ. Do not forget them. May God fulfill every desire for good works that are in your heart and the desire for resurrection power.

Carl

The Importance of Kindness

To him who is about to faint and despair, kindness is due from his friend, lest he forsake the fear of the Almighty.

Job 6:14 Amplified Bible

Though I have read the Book of Job several times, I did not remember this verse until I heard a sermon on kindness.

Job is addressing one of his friends who came to “comfort” him. Job was faint and in despair from the trial he was undergoing and he needed “kindness” from his friends instead of judgementalism. Satan’s goal in Job’s trials was to have him curse God to his face which would amount to forsaking the “fear” or “reverence” of the Almighty. He would cease to conduct himself in the healthy, wholesome, overwhelming, profound, adoring, awed respect (reverential fear) which manifested itself in obedience.

After hearing this sermon, I couldn’t help but wonder how many times I had walked right by another Christian who was “faint and despair” and did not stop to offer a word of encouragement or to tell them that God had not forsaken them, but would see them through the deep waters they were going through. I wondered if a brother or sister in Christ had turned their back on the Lord due to my lack of sensitivity and just common kindness.

God put several Christian hospital workers in my wife’s path when she was receiving treatment for breast cancer. They were an unbelievable encouragement to her and me during this time of spiritual fainting and despair. Just to know that the Lord had not forgotten us, was such a blessing.

Do you know anyone that is fainting and in despair due to some trial they are undergoing? If you do, show them kindness. Encourage them to not let their trial deter them from continuing to offer the Father the profound, adoring awed respect that He alone is worthy of. Remind them that He chose them in Christ Jesus before the foundation of the world, to spend eternity with Him as His adopted child. And how He has lavished His grace upon them by sending the Lord Jesus to die on the Cross for their sins while they were yet sinners.

In closing, remember our brothers and sisters in foreign lands that are being persecuted and murdered for their faith in Christ. One way to express our kindness is to ask the Father to strengthen their faith, give them an abundance of grace and the comfort of the Holy Spirit.

Let us heed the Holy Spirit through the writer of Hebrews:

[Therefore beware] brethren, take care, lest there be in any one of you a wicked, unbelieving heart [which refuses to cleave to, trust in, and rely on Him], leading you to turn away and desert or stand aloof from the living God.

But instead warn (admonish, urge, and encourage) one another every day, as long as it is called Today, that none of you may be hardened [into settled rebellion] by the deceitfulness of sin [by the fraudulence, the stratagem, the trickery which the delusive glamor of his sin may play on him]. Hebrew 3:12-13 Amplified

Carl

Encouragement for the Persecuted Christians

“But God is never defeated. Though He may be opposed, attacked, resisted, still the ultimate outcome can never be in doubt. Every day we see fresh proof that indeed all things—-even evil ones—-work together for those who are called by His name.” Brother Andrew – God’s Smuggler

Brother Andrew wrote this statement in 1966 or 1967 after he and his partners had successfully smuggled tens of thousands of Bibles into the communist countries of Eastern Europe.

May his statement be an encouragement to our brothers and sisters in Christ who are suffering for their faith in China, Nigeria, North Korea, the Muslim nations, Vietnam, etc.

May God’s abundant grace be upon you and the comfort of the Holy Spirit be with you.

We have not forgotten you.

Carl

Reformation Day 2019

“It was on October 31, 1517 that Martin Luther, a Roman Catholic priest and professor of theology, nailed his thesis protesting the Catholic Churches sale of indulgences. It was a single day and single act of bravery that forever changed the history of the world. The celebration of Reformation Day has been the yearly practice of Bible Christians starting as early as 1567. Today this great Christian celebration has been completely overshadowed by the overtly pagan Roman Catholic practice of All Saints Day or better known as Halloween.”

From Berean Beacon – a ministry of former Catholic priests “whose sole purpose is the promotion of biblical Christianity.”

When Martin Luther nailed his thesis to the Wittenberg church door, he had no idea what these questions would precipitate. The resultant Reformation changed the western world for the better. As Luther and the other Reformation leaders read the Bible in the original languages in which it was written and put aside the traditions of men, the Light of the true gospel enlightened their understanding of God and His ways. As they communicated what they learned from the Bible, multitudes of people were set free from the bondage of the dominant church of their day.

May the Reformation continue for another 501 years or until Christ returns.

May the Light of the Bible continue to light your path!

God bless,

Carl

Communist China Church Update

As you are probably aware, the communist government is ravaging the Christian church in China. Many pastors have been beaten and imprisoned, church buildings destroyed or converted to secular use, church members beaten and some imprisoned, a rewrite of the Holy Bible to make it “pro-communist”, youth forbidden to attend church, and other suppressing tactics.

Yesterday at church I spoke with a sister-in-Christ who had done much gospel work in Communist China over the years. I asked her what her contacts were saying about the current outbreak of persecution. She said that some are saying it is really bad.

Others said they had been praying for persecution to return because the Christian church in Communist China was becoming too much like the church in America and it needed persecution to purify it.

Think about that for a moment.

Please pray that the Chinese Church will go “on in the fear of the Lord and the comfort of the Holy Spirit (Acts: 9:31). That the true believers would be “…all filled with the Holy Spirit and ” begin “to speak the word of God with boldness (Acts 4:31)”.

“Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them, and those who are ill-treated, since you yourselves also are in the body. “. Hebrew 13:3

Carl

Islamic Imam Beaten and Hunted By Father For Becoming A Christian

NAIROBI, Kenya (Morning Star News) – Sheikh Hassan Podo, a 28-year-old imam in Kerekerene village in eastern Uganda, missed mosque prayers for three consecutive weeks and was seen entering a church building around noon on March 16.

He had kept his faith in Christ a secret for three weeks. The young Muslim who saw Podo enter the church building in Katira Sub-County, Budaka District, went straight to Podo’s parents and brothers to report him.

When Podo arrived at the house that evening, his family interrogated him about where he had spent the better part of the day.

“Without my completing answering them, my brothers immediately began surrounding me, with sticks,” Podo told Morning Star News. “It was difficult to escape. They began shouting, beating and insulting me as an ‘infidel’ and enemy of the Islamic religion.”

His wife and two children managed to escape to the home of a nearby Christian neighbor, he said.

With sticks and other blunt objects, Podo’s relatives injured his left arm from the shoulder to his fingers, said one of the area residents who found him unconscious. He also sustained a head injury.

“There was a loud cry emanating from Podo’s homestead, raising a big concern from the neighbors who arrived at the scene of attack and helped Podo to escape,” the source said. “He bled as he fled for his life. Later he was found in a pool of blood a kilometer away from the homestead, unconscious.”

They rushed him to a clinic in Katira, and he was discharged after two days and taken to a pastor whose name is withheld for security reasons. His wife and two children later joined him at an undisclosed location.

The pastor said Podo’s father, Mwanamwoiza Juma, has since mobilized a group of Muslims from different mosques “to hunt for the life of his son, declaring a fatwa and disowning him, and giving his land to the brothers for bringing blasphemy into the family. Sheikh Twale and Galami Abdulmutwalibi have been carrying out a series of prayers to curse Podo’s family. But we know the blood of Jesus will protect the family.”

The pastor has been giving Podo discipleship lessons to strengthen the family’s faith in the midst of the ordeal, he said.

Podo put his faith in Christ on Feb. 24 after hearing the message of His saving death and resurrection from another pastor. His wife became a Christian one week later, he said.

Before his conversion, Podo was part of a Muslim extremist group that had attacked the Church of Uganda’s Katira congregation.

“Please family of Christ, our humble request is that we covet prayers for Podo and his young family for God’s healing, medication, protection, provision and to get to a safe haven for the young family,” the pastor said.

The attacks were the latest of many cases of persecution of Christians in eastern Uganda that Morning Star News has documented.

Uganda’s constitution and other laws provide for religious freedom, including the right to propagate one’s faith and convert from one faith to another.

Muslims make up no more than 12 percent of Uganda’s population, but with high concentrations in eastern areas of the country.

If you would like to help persecuted Christians, visit https://morningstarnews.org/resources/aid-agencies/ for a list of organizations that can orient you on how to get involved.