Real Christianity’s ongoing forty-year surge in China is due in part to the incessant attempts by the Communist government to control and eliminate it.
This attempt failed in Rome two thousand years ago. The Roman Empire at first made little issue of real Christianity. Yet, while the Lord’s Community was in its early formative stages, the Romans began getting somewhat concerned as the burgeoning Ekklesia began exploding in growth. Its impact began being seen and felt all over the empire and its presence soon threatened the established ideologies and cults, especially the emperor cult.
In Rome the emperor was god, and all Roman citizens and subjects were forced to honor this credo whether they wanted to or not. The idea of religious freedom and a personal conscience was a joke. Forced faith was the order of the day. Those countries where religious freedom exists at present should know this but many don’t (or do and don’t care). Legal religious freedom is not only seldom appreciated, those who paid the price to gain it are often slandered by later generations.
Constitutional religious freedom in America has been under attack for so long that many American Christians have apparently decided to throw in the towel, get dumbed-down to the fact, made numb by their lack of actually obeying the Lord Jesus, and weakly succumb to largely ineffective and vapid forms of “church life.”
Many if not most church leaders in America continue to fudge it and censor themselves, and refuse to do what the Lord has commanded we do, namely preach the real Word as He preached it so people can actually get delivered from sin, be born again, and gain spiritual power over the enemy. Real Christians are doing this in China on a massive scale and the government there will never be able to control it now. It is too late for them but they certainly keep trying.
CENSORED “LEGAL” CHRISTIANITY IN CHINA
They only allow two “Christian” entities and both are government controlled: The National Committee of Three-Self Patriotic Movement, the official umbrella group for Chinese Protestants, and the Chinese Catholic Church. These two account for about a third of the practicing Christians in China, but the overwhelming majority of Christians there, conservatively estimated at perhaps 100 million, reject both of these government-sanctioned legal bodies and are essentially practicing their faith outside the law. And no matter how much the government tries to control them through authoritative, dictatorial practices they continue to flourish. Sound familiar?
When Christianity was illegal in the Roman Empire it flourished the same way. The real Christians, though, were not anti-government, were not radicals, and were not trying to overthrow anything. They simply honored the Lord Jesus as God and not the emperor, and they obeyed the Lord’s directives and refused to practice the idolatrous religions of Rome. Their impact was staggering. It is presently the same in China.
The illegal Christians in China now outnumber the members of the Communist Party.
What do you think will happen next? Will the Communists surrender or clamp down harder? It is now merely a matter of survival and only one of these can win. Here’s a clue which one that will be:
COMPROMISE THROUGH ECONOMIC PROSPERITY
The enemy is presently attempting to tempt the real Chinese Christians with the increasing economic prosperity of that nation without understanding that it was the real Chinese Christians who brought it about through spiritual means in the first place. The Lord always brings prosperity to His people but it must be put in perspective and handled with proper discipline. We must understand that blessings can never be allowed to circumvent or detract from our spiritual duty.
This has mainly failed in America. Christian bodies have given in to being dictated to by money and economic success and eschew any attempts toward reining in that which has caused millions of Christians to become compromised and spiritually lazy. It took place gradually over time but has happened nonetheless and this becomes clear when attempts at proper and corrective reform are made. The reformers sent by God often eventually get shown the door because the nature of such closed-minded congregations and groups borders on the cultish with the usual domineering leader asserting primarily a vaunted rightness and secondly, an imposed inferiority upon those unlike them which must result in the aforesaid rejection. You can see, then, how it makes perfect sense for the Chinese government to make life very hard for those Christians who won’t go along with their program.
We know this sinister paradigm quite well if only from the reams of data regarding centuries of church history. Some people have a tendency to go nuts when they gain illegitimate authority and will do anything to keep control. This is the main reason why there has been so much Christian-on-Christian bloodshed and why millions of Christians have been taken advantage of and ripped off.
One of the clues regarding the real infilling of the Lord’s Spirit is that one will act as the Lord Jesus acted. One will do as He did. One will have His nature. Developing the mind and nature of the Lord and gaining spiritual maturity must obviously take place over time. Some never get there. Most are never filled with His Spirit to begin with and can therefore hardly be expected to act in His stead according to His nature and purpose. As a case in point, why do so many big time preachers insist on special privileges (such as body guards)? The Lord never did this. The apostles never did. We can certainly see by the things that happened to them that they were men of faith who subjected themselves to whatever may happen in spiritual warfare. They simply did not see themselves as special or as members of a higher caste which deserved superior benefits.
How many real Christians have been murdered for their faith in China? How many have been sent to prison where they often died, languishing away from loved ones? How many have suffered in so many ways and still suffer today simply because they have given their lives to the Lord and faithfully serve Him? And how many have suffered because they were betrayed by other Christians? The numbers are likely in the millions.
When one considers the fact that the underground “illegal” Christians in China are equivalent to one-fourth or even one-third of the United States population, it should make us all reconsider just exactly what it is that we are attempting for the Lord.
They are getting so much more done with so much less while American Christian pastors censor themselves to make sure they remain in compliance with whatever will keep the money and prestige flowing in. Many Christian leaders do not see themselves as compromisers and that’s the problem. Though a decided minority, there is always an ongoing dynamic of stronger and more mature Christians wanting us to go deeper in following the Lord, more correctly appropriate what He called us to do, and achieve that which really matters rather than play around in the shallows.
What a sad occurrence it is to have complete religious liberty in America guaranteed by the Constitution and so much blessing only to squander it all in order to save face and look “respectable” as a means to stave off inevitable persecution. How should the Lord Jesus respond to such an attitude? I have said long ago (and you can find it documented in my book) that a time of great Christian persecution would arise in America. The Lord revealed it during a time of great prosperity in this nation when so many Christians were going the opposite direction and didn’t care. The idea that Christian persecution would arise here was seen then as ridiculous and that remains the case for many. They will get a wake-up call, because when persecution arises there will be no outward distinction regarding who the recipients will be. All Christians will be subjected to it and all will be forced to make a choice. The compromisers will quickly succumb and surrender since that is their adaptive nature.
The strong and mature Christians, however, will fare best and continue to be productive since they had already been tested and strengthened, having been previously persecuted for years by their own brethren.
© 2017 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
For those who want further education and insight into the powerful Worldwide Pentecostal/Charismatic Movement, especially in the Far East and China, the following review of John MacArthur’s book Strange Fire is a must read for all believers.
The review, or rather the strong critique, is written by Dennis Balcombe, a minister of 45 years in China, who recounts ample evidence of the miraculous work of the Spirit of the Lord used to counteract MacArthur’s perspective.
I am certainly not defending Pentecostal/Charismatic excess, fake revivals, nor the shenanigans of some ministers in that field, but I stand with Balcombe in standing up for the obvious truth of the work of God in the world in these last days.
And remember, though spiritual growth in North America has lagged behind, The Lord has used believers here to sponsor and kick off many of the movements elsewhere, and a national Great Awakening is now beginning to come forth on these shores as well.
The review is comprehensive, well-written, and informative. Settle in and enjoy, and consider the price others have paid that we must also pay in order to receive the same powerful outpouring in America. © 2014 by RJ Dawson.
© Copyright The Pneuma Review 2014. All rights reserved.