Recent days have given me the opportunity to see some Chinese friends face to face. With the language barriers and the fact that China does not have freedom of the press, it’s not exactly easy to get information about what’s happening in China.
Beijing Shouwang Christian Church last met April 10, 2011. They had purchased almost a whole floor of an office building so the congregation numbering around 1,000 people could all meet together in one place. The government put pressure on the landlord, so the landlord could not finish the deal. Though their down payment was accepted, Shouwang Church was not allowed to move into the space where they hoped to worship. The landlord did not allow the church to move in, and the down payment money is frozen. It has not been returned to the church.
Since that time the congregation has not met. They have not taken the Lord’s Supper as a church body since April 10, 2011. The pastor and the four other elders of the church have all been under surveillance; they are basically under house arrest. The pastor and his fellow elders have not been tried, they have not been convicted, but they are under constant surveillance. The pastor was allowed to go to a funeral, but police followed him.
Let’s continue to pray for our Chinese brothers and sisters, those in Shouwang Church and those in other churches. They do not have the freedom to gather for worship. They do not live under a government accountable to law and justice. Their government does as it pleases, though it does not sit in the heavens.
Is there an enterprising young journalist out there somewhere that might pursue this story? Lovers of freedom—true liberals—everywhere should be interested in this, not just Christians. What will make it so that the people stop silently disappearing in China? What will make it so that a pastor cannot be placed under house arrest when there has been no crime, no trial, and no verdict?
Who will stand and speak truth to power?
Will the United States government object to policies like this in China? Or does Washington increasingly think that the Chinese government has the right idea in denying religious freedoms? Recent events do not provide encouraging indications.
God is just. God will vindicate his people. Those “who know their God will stand firm and take action” (Dan 11:32).