Christianity in China – August 2014 Update

China’s new leader, Xi Jinping, has chosen to follow more closely in the paths of Chairman Mao. Hopefully he will no go to those same extremes – genocidal extremes – but now a political policy of retribution against foes and a collateral cleaning up of nationwide bribes and corruption. I keep up with Gordon Chang for my news.

The purge includes religion. China is trying to invent a new “Christianity.” They have tried this before with poor results. Religions that are invented generally collapse. Recently there has been destruction of church buildings and imprisonment of Christian leaders.

But as usual the church under pressure goes underground. There is a 3-Self Church which tries to endorse communist policy. Believers have their ways of handling this: (1) Ignoring it while practicing privately the true faith (2) Actually following it with meager attendance, or attendance that makes a public show for public purposes and (3) Disappearing completely underground. I made no attempt to visit underground churches while living in China lest I bring the wrath of the state down upon them.

Bibles have been confiscated in greater numbers than just a few years ago. However, both Protestant and Roman Catholic churches have increased their membership and attendance. And some leaders of the latter have openly endorsed the new Pope Francis which is also “illegal.”

Since religion is always personal it is almost impossible to make it anything else. Considering that government pressure against private disagreement has always backfired, one wonders why they continue it? Communist leaders have long recognized that Christian Chinese families are better citizens, pay their taxes and cause fewer ills. So it may actually be harder to make a public spectacle of them on a local level.

When I was in China and followed day and night for 5 weeks, it got to the point of being amusing. I was living a clean life. Eventually I received something of a public “apology” right before I left town. Anything like an apology is difficult for the Chinese because their government tells them they know everything and due to the communist system, they can’t possibly make a mistake.

It is true. Your life may be the only Bible some people can ever read. Meanwhile, Chinese Christians throughout the land are the real Bible of that country and there are millions of them, perhaps as many as 100 million. Pray for them.


2008 Mongolian Bibles Confiscated

In 2008 several of us received a fairly large number of Mongolian Bibles (New Testaments.) I did not know it at the time but it was an old language. When the Russians took over Mongolia, or so I was told, they insisted on a version of Mongolian that the natives did not particularly like. A more modern Mongolian script was introduced after the Russians left. Consequently there were 3 Mongolian scripts which none of us could understand. Fortunately our Mongolian friends could sort it out.

The Mongolian Bibles we left at the church in Daban were confiscated by the police. I had a devil of a time getting translation done in Daban – badly, most of the time or not at all. I wanted to talk to the police and tell them that the Bibles were legal, purchased by Chinese for Chinese, printed in China, and that we were only the delivery people. That is the only caveat the government has laid down for the distribution of Bibles.

I discussed with American teachers our tracking down who took the Bibles and asked the police to return them since I was leaving for the USA in July 2008 before the Olympics and didn’t want this hanging over my head. So I paid Sam my translator to come to Daban.

As it turned out the idea was a great success. We learned from the church that ONLY the green Mongolian Bibles had been taken, and not by the police but by the Religion Bureau, who, it turns out are all Mongolians. But they could not read them!!

Someone who apparently could read that script decided that there was something damaging or in opposition to the PLA and all the Bibles were then put somewhere. This was in line with what we were told about the dissidents and separatists in Tibet and Taiwan who were expected to cause trouble at the games, and they were looking at the Mongolians too so I came under suspicion. The officials routinely tell me the Mongolians are all Buddhists which we know is not true – it is just another

This Daban Church was not for Mongolians even thoough some attended briefly.


Sam talked to several different officials, and they said that a number of people had the books, finally ending with the name and phone number of one man who was out of town.

This explains to me why the police were watching my house and following me for 6 weeks, a fact which the church people did not know and were surprised to learn. They seemed to be very relieved over the whole thing and we had a good laugh over the fact that some of those people will now be reading God’s word and may be saved. The confusion primarily was over the fact that they thought this was some seditious book, not realizing that the Bible is the same the world over except for the language of the native readers.

Since no one in this particular church is Mongolian it was not a great issue with these members, but they did say their pastor was going to go back to the Religion Bureau and ask for them back after she returned from Beijing.

We discussed the recent fact too that the Gospel of John will be distributed by Amity at the games free.

This follows the pattern of many people who report that confiscated Bibles often end up getting people saved and developing church groups, which, after all, is the goal of God’s word in any event. Me and my friends had to leave China, but the Word of God remains.

A Shanghai Man has a Dream about China – and the Interpretation

The dream:

This morning, about 2:30, I suddenly woke up, and a dream could be clearly remembered.
There is a very large house, where the cooked rice is full of house, and the whole house is full of cooked rice, and a man at the top are working to make the rice down and seems
to have the rice loaded, inside the house there is a long arm- rest elevator from the top to the floor, and you are getting downstair from the top and i am so happy to meet you again,
i try to hug you, however you seem very shy but finally seem to hugged.

My fried in Shanghai speaks and reads English well but his writing may need work. Here is the interpretation I sent him.

Let me suggest the possible interpretation. The house clearly is the House of God, as in

“I Peter 2:5 Ye also as living stones are built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.”

The house is the people of God in China, of course, because that is where you are. Rice is the absolute necessity to the people of Asia in general and to China in particular. The rice then is God’s food for His people. It is already cooked which means it is ready to eat, and since it fills the house, everyone gets enough. It looks like God is planning a massive teaching for His people in China.

I am happy to see myself there. Perhaps God will let me feed the meal to my Chinese friends.

Now I do not remember any Chinese ever hugging me – that is an American thing – but it sounds OK to me if it now happens in China too. Blessings!

A student in my Bible Class suggested that the elevator with the arm is an escalator. I hope so. I want nothing more than to return to China to teach.

Readers, God is doing something in China. Be ready.

What Words are in the Deep Mind

What we memorize stays forever in our deep mind. I recall a man who fell off a horse. He was not particularly Christian or religious but in the panic of the moment he repeated….now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep.

This was all the religion he could muster in a crisis from the deep mind. He did not repeat his alphabet or the multiplication tables, but an appropriate prayer.
These things came to me when I heard the Chinese proudly recite their memorizations. Many times they would repeat the Gettysburg Address, ending with the “government of the people, by the people, and for the people will not perish from the earth.” I also heard the Declaration of Independence recited, although as a teacher in the US I never heard either of these recited.

These major declarations of American civic theology are deep in their mind. If this happens to enough Chinese, you will find a generation of educated leaders espousing all the other human rights and freedoms issues from the West. The middle aged people, hoever, recited for me the sayings of Mao. They rattled them off in unison and I realized that even though these people were Christians, albeit weak, inside the deep mind they were still Marxists.

No wonder the Bible says, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” We need a mind transplant to live correctly and a freedom mind to bring about the release of the Chinese from their self-imposed prison.