Here’s an interesting article about what is taking place in China: “The Debate about Shouwang Church.”
I have a proposition, then a question prompted by the article, then brief thoughts on Paul’s response to such situations:
Proposition: The Chinese government is wickedly persecuting Christians and opposing God and his gospel. May God break the teeth of the wicked (Ps 3:7).
Question: Did the Shouwang Church need to force this issue? Maybe so. I really don’t know. From the article linked above, it appears that the church could have continued to worship had they been content to do so in smaller numbers in private venues.
Thoughts on Paul: On the one hand I can imagine Paul saying that the public confrontation will result in more people hearing the gospel (Phil 1:12–21). On the other hand, there were times when he did not take on the confrontation with the overpowering government, fleeing from King Aretas (2 Cor 11:32–33), and though he wanted to take on the crowd in Ephesus the other believers wouldn’t let him (Acts 19:30).
No doubt more information about the situation in China would be helpful.
What do you think? Should the Shouwang Church have forced the issue or stayed underground?
Disclaimer: I haven’t read the article in full, only skimmed it.
Here’s one thought: Paul was willing to “force the issue” when he found it politically expedient to the advance of the Gospel (appealing to Roman citizenship, instead of accepting freedom).
In our age, with instant globalization of all and any news through blogs, etc., word of their persecution spreads rapidly and in ways that the Chinese government cannot stop. Persecution of a large group makes it more obvious than that of individuals from underground churches, which can be denied and classified as “allegations.”
Perhaps their pressing of the issue will put it in the global eye, prompting greater political pressure on China, resulting in freedom to worship in peace.
These are such hard issues. Let’s pray for the Lord to bring glory to his name!
This is a tough issue……kind of like the issues in the Boyd and Eddy “Across the Spectrum” book. When I read through some of those issues (that are outside the pale of orthodoxy), I can often see both arguments of those issues. I just finished reading the story of Eric Liddel to my children. When the Japanese took over China while Eric was a missionary in China. Just before being sent away to an internment camp, they were forbidden to meet in groups of ~10 or more people. Eric would preach the weekly sermon to a group of 8 or 9 note takers who would each in turn meet with another 8-9 people to share the sermon.
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