Monday, January 18, 2016

Jesus Freaks: Zhang, Shen, Xianfeng, and Zhen of Mainland China, Placing Themselves as Targets for Chirst

A student is proudly holding a Chine Bible. 
1999

Zhang Rongliang, Shen Xianfeng, Zhen Xianqi, and other house church leaders, representing roughly fifteen million underground believers, signed and published the “House Church Confession of Faith” that called on the Communist government to stop treating the members of house churches in China as criminals. Officially, to give the appearance of freedom of religion in China, the government there recognizes its state-controlled church, the Three-Self Patriotic Church, as a freely worshiping assembly but allow no other Christian gatherings this protection. At the same time, the state makes sure that little within the meetings of the sanctioned Three-Self Patriotic Church is Christian or free. According to official state documents, house churches are identified with the Chinese word that means “evil religion,” a word that has occult connotations for the people of China. The “House Church Confession of Faith” called for changes to this reference as well as real religious freedoms within the nation.
            Only months after making the document public, several of the signers, including Zhang, were arrested and placed in prison. In December of 1999, Zhang was sentenced to three years but was released on a seven-year probation providing that he “behaved” himself.
            Shen Xianfeng, who was arrested around the same time as Zhang, suffers from rheumatoid arthritis. This condition has forced him to walk with the aid of crutches. During his arrest, the officers used his own crutches to beat him. Zhen Xianqi also suffered arrest and harassment.
            By signing the document and meeting with Western journalists, Zhang and the others knew that they were placing targets on their back, yet this didn’t concern them. They felt called of God to make a statement of faith to the world and to use any means of their disposal to proclaim Jesus Christ to their fellow countrymen and women.
            Pastor Zhang still travels by car and train to minister to his various flocks, but he never sleeps in the same bed more than four nights in a row to avoid arrest.

………………………………….
China continues its “hard strike” policy, which is supposed to be a crackdown on organized crime and petty criminals, but it has put more Christians behind bars than are presently in prison in any other nation on the earth today. Any Bible found by a Public Security Bureau (PSB) Officer is immediately confiscated, even if it is a version authorized and printed by the Chinese government.
            Recent statistics have revealed that from 1983 to 2001 there have been at least 23,686 Christian arrests in China for religious reasons, and of these, 208 have been beaten to the point of being crippled for life. Because of such things, world leaders are starting to speak up.
            Despite this, an estimated 1,200 Chinese come to Christ every hour.
            Political pressure, though it is constantly needed in such cases, has had little effect on counties such as China in recent decades. What is needed are equipped Christians to fight the same spiritual fight that brought down the Berlin Wall and crumbled the Soviet Union.
            Pray for these believers in China. Pray for their protection and that God will sanctify the Word in their hearts for their encouragement and strength.
[Taken from Jesus Freaks: Revolutionaries (2002) by dc Talk. Title mine]

We don’t obey people. We obey God” (Peter’s declaration in Acts 5:29)

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