China bombs megachurch in drive to silence Christianity: “With 20 centuries of church history behind us, we can now assure the communist authorities in China that if they thought they could extinguish the Gospel of Jesus Christ by blowing up a building, they’ve deluded themselves,” said Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. “But we should also note that if the Chinese party in China thought that it was making a statement of its power by excluding this church, it was actually demonstrating its weakness and its paranoia.”
I was in the middle of writing about Chapter 2 of China’s new Religious Affairs Regulations when I came across an article about the Chinese government bombing a megachurch to demolish it. It’s from the Western Recorder.
It may sound shocking. In the U.S., we read about hate groups shooting up / setting fire to / bombing churches. In other parts of the world, churches get destroyed from groups fighting with each other. But this is in China – a country not at war. At least, not in a declared war. But there’s clearly a “war” going on against religion.
The article starts off with, The bombing demolition of a megachurch in China is indicative of a rush to silence Christianity under new laws that will heighten religious persecution, according to human rights group ChinaAid. Those new laws are exactly what’s being written about in the series Chinese Religious Regulations.
It’s examining both the laws and their intended consequences, as well as the futility of any government trying to fight against God. Yes, there will be times when it looks like the government is winning. And yet – ultimately, it will fail. There’s a short book in the Old Testament – Habakkuk – that has a similar scenario. Habakkuk asks God when He is going to intervene and put an end to all the evil around him. Certainly, what the communist government is doing qualifies as evil. And God does respond. The third, and final, chapter begins with this verse.
Hab 3:1 A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet. On shigionoth.
Hab 3:2 LORD, I have heard of your fame;
I stand in awe of your deeds, O LORD.
Renew them in our day,
in our time make them known;
in wrath remember mercy.
I have a series called God! Where Are You? that goes into the question, specifically looking at Habakkuk’s “complaint” and God’s answer. I invite you to check it out for a more detailed look at what the Bible has to say about God and His apparent tolerance for evil.
As I said, China blowing up a megachurch certainly qualifies as evil. Was it literally a bomb, as the headline says? To answer that – let me pose a different, and better, question. Does it matter? The church was blown up. Visual evidence is at the top of the page.
And here’s more on what happened.
China bombs megachurch in drive to silence Christianity
The Golden Lampstand Church in Linfen, Shanxi, was home to some 50,000 worshippers before the Chinese government bombed and demolished the church Jan. 9, according to news reports.
Religious persecution is at its harshest in communist China in perhaps 50 years, ChinaAid President Bob Fu told BBC News Jan. 11.
The bombing shows “the increasingly deteriorating situation of religious freedom and rule of law in China” under President Xi Jinping, “which many suggest is the worst since the end of the cultural revolution,” Fu told the BBC Jan. 11. “I mean, all the leaders of this church were arrested since this church was built in 2009, and they were sentenced from one to seven years’ imprisonment for building this church, and many of them were even tortured.
“And China is now imprisoning more prisoners of conscience than the number combined by the rest of the world,” Fu told the BBC.
Military police directed by the highest government officials detonated explosives in underground worship halls beneath the church and proceeded to demolished the above-ground building, ChinaAid said.
And why did the Chinese government destroy this church?
The Golden Lampstand Church is among many Protestant congregations not registered under the state-sanctioned Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM) that places congregations under total government control. Among the new guidelines, all churches or religious groups must register “their establishment, modification, or deregistration … in accordance with the relevant State provisions on the management of social groups,” according to a translation of the law provided by ChinaAid.
As I said, I was literally in the middle of writing about this very regulation when I came across the article on the bombing. Coincidence? I don’t think so. I included Psalm 14 in that article – to be published soon, as part of the series referenced above. Here’s an excerpt from that Psalm.
Ps 14:4 Will evildoers never learn—
those who devour my people as men eat bread
and who do not call on the LORD?
Ps 14:5 There they are, overwhelmed with dread,
for God is present in the company of the righteous.
Ps 14:6 You evildoers frustrate the plans of the poor,
but the LORD is their refuge.
Put that together with the passage from Habakkuk. Now, you can begin to see how someone can say,
…if they [the communist Chinese Government] thought they could extinguish the Gospel of Jesus Christ by blowing up a building, they’ve deluded themselves…
I will take vengeance on my adversaries
I don’t normally include passages like the one below. They can falsely lead people to believe that God is mean, or worse. And yet, there are things that must be done by a God who is just. There is a price to be paid for the things we say and do. That price can be paid by Jesus. In fact, it has been paid by Jesus. But we have to accept Him as our Lord and Savior – as the Christians in China have – and will continue to do so. For those who refuse, they must pay the price themselves. And for those people, God has spoken to them.
Dt 32:39 “See now that I myself am He!
There is no god besides me.
I put to death and I bring to life,
I have wounded and I will heal,
and no one can deliver out of my hand.
Dt 32:40 I lift my hand to heaven and declare:
As surely as I live forever,
Dt 32:41 when I sharpen my flashing sword
and my hand grasps it in judgment,
I will take vengeance on my adversaries
and repay those who hate me.
Dt 32:42 I will make my arrows drunk with blood,
while my sword devours flesh:
the blood of the slain and the captives,
the heads of the enemy leaders.”
Dt 32:43 Rejoice, O nations, with his people,
for he will avenge the blood of his servants;
he will take vengeance on his enemies
and make atonement for his land and people.”
It’s not unjust. It’s not unfair.
Nor is it just empty words. It has happened. And it will happen to those people in the Chinese government who are perpetrating evil on God’s people in that country as well.
The Christians in China – they know this. They continue to follow Jesus. They know the risks – and still they will not turn away from Him.
For those of us in the rest of the world – we need to know what’s happening there. We need to support them. We also need to realize something from Deuteronomy – just before the previous passage.
Dt 32:35 It is mine to avenge; I will repay.
In due time their foot will slip;
their day of disaster is near
and their doom rushes upon them.”
The Roman government wasn’t overthrown and forced to become Christian. The emperor converted. No wars. No battles.
Remember, Jesus didn’t come to be an earthly king.
We don’t think like that anymore. We want to use military power to overthrow governments. God is left out of the picture.
Support can come in many ways. But whatever those ways are – fighting with weapons of war is not the way.
Remember what Paul said about weapons.
The Armor of God
Eph 6:10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
Eph 6:19 Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.
These are the “weapons” of a Christian. And please – don’t forget about that last paragraph.
And don’t forget that many, many people don’t have the luxury of being able to follow Jesus without literal, life-threatening, danger.