Date: March 26, 2019
China (International Christian Concern) – The Chinese government has increasingly included the state-backed Three Self Patriotic churches in its crackdown on Christianity.
Bitter Winter magazine reports on March 25 that the preaching permits of 57 Three-Self Church preachers from Henan Province’s Sanmenxia City, were revoked by the government, which means that they will no longer be able to preach.
In addition, the authorities have also manipulated the qualification exams each preacher has to take in order to oust “disobedient” preachers. Those who “listen to the government,” even if they lack biblical knowledge, are able to pass the exam, while those who have disagreed with the authorities would somehow fail the exam.
A woman who had her permit revoked in Sanmenxia shares how her disobedience made her lose the right to preach on the podium – she was against the government’s request to remove the cross and all religious images at her church. She also did not want a flag pole to be installed, since her congregation would be subject to flying the national flag and singing national anthem regularly. She became problematic in the eyes of the authorities, and her permit was subsequently revoked and canceled.
To instill more control in its state-sanctioned churches, Beijing now wants to ensure that all the TSPM churches are operating in parallel to the Chinese Communist Party’s agenda and ideology. In order to survive, many official churches are becoming more and more like propaganda organs for the Party, drifting away from Christian theology.
HOW TO PRAY: Pray for the government to recognize the rights of pastors to preach. Pray for these pastors to continue sharing the Gospel. Pray for greater religious freedom in China.