Grant Swank
January 31, 2011
Lifting up Christ in China
By Grant Swank

More and more, Christ is becoming popular and acceptable throughout China. Even the political powers are recognizing that religious faith bolsters a culture's good.

Most believers are still worshiping Christ in underground churches. However, more and more Christians are surfacing, some even without that much concern about reprimand.

While Christ is being ignored by negligence in Britain and apostasy in North America, Christ is prayed to as God by increasing numbers inside China's borders. Christianity's "Made in China" is daily growing.

Why?

Many have become disenchanted with atheism, agnosticism and the empty promises of Communism. They find in Christian faith a hope in this life and the next as well as a well-grounded ethic for decency in everyday living.

Per Chicago Tribune's Evan Osnos, "Christianity — repressed, marginalized and, in many cases, illegal in China for more than half a century — is sweeping the country."

That is startling, particularly when recognizing the oft-told stories of persecution against Jesus followers. Human rights agencies have detailed for decades the bloody trail of the Christian disciples of the cross. Many have preceded present-tense believers by laying down their lives for Christ's commission to go into all the world with the gospel.

"By some estimates, Christian churches, most of them underground, now have roughly 70 million members, as many as the Communist Party itself. A growing number of those Christians are in fact party members.

"Christianity is spreading from poor villages to urban power centers with often tacit approval from the regime. Intellectuals disillusioned by the 1989 crackdown at Tiananmen Square are placing their loyalty in faith, not politics; tycoons fed up with corruption are seeking an ethical code; and Communist Party members are arguing that their faith does not put them at odds with the government."

Those researching biblical prophecy concerning the Church Age's End Times point to Scripture predicting a "great falling away.' That is seen in North America with the "falling away" from the Judeo-Christian heritage that constructed the Republic. Same-gender "marriages" and liberalism's situation ethics as espoused by B. Hussein Obama replace the once-honored Christian base.

However, likewise those into scriptural prophecy hope and pray for a Holy Spirit revival that will in fact sweep across the globe. Some suggest that it may begin in Africa and now in China.

Africa already reveals a large contingent of brave disciples fighting off tribal warfare and Islamic inroads. Now China is emerging as another revival center for the Spirit's convicting presence. Awakened souls are testifying freely of their newfound personal tie to Christ as Savior.

"The government is permitting churches to be more open and active than ever before, signaling a new tolerance of faith in public life. President Hu Jintao even held an unprecedented Politburo 'study session' on religion last year, in which he said 'the knowledge and strength of religious people must be mustered to build a prosperous society.'"

Evangelical leaders in the United States are surprised at the China awakening. Yet when becoming aware of the facts, they are urging their fellow believers to be brave in prayerful intercession for these brothers and sisters in Christ halfway around the globe.

"Today the Chinese government counts 21 million Catholics and Protestants — a 50 percent increase in less than 10 years — though the underground population is far larger.

"Christianity offered an alternative to China's political orthodoxy. To those in search of something new in which to believe, the church promised salvation, moral absolutes and a sense of being part of an enterprise larger than China."

Salvation.

Moral absolutes.

Believers worldwide hold to both in thanking God for the gifts of the soul.

© Grant Swank

 

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Grant Swank

Joseph Grant Swank, Jr., is a pastor at New Hope Church in Windham, Maine... (more)

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