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Chinese Pastors Trained

House Churches Illegal in China

A couple of weeks ago my son, David, and I went to China to train pastors of house churches. House churches are still illegal, and Chinese authorities consider unregistered congregations political subversives. Protestant churches are allowed to register only through the China Christian Council and its related 'Three-Self Patriotic Movement." Most house churches balk at registering through the Council and TSPM because of their close cooperation with the government.

80 Million Christians

The Communist regime forbids worship outside state-backed "patriotic" religious bodies. Evangelism outside church buildings also is forbidden, though both officially recognized and unregistered churches are growing rapidly. It is believed that there are approximately 80 million Christians in China, with a large majority being members of house churches.

Risking Imprisonment, Loss,&Torture

Dave and I were never in any real danger (probably the worst that would happen to us if we were caught would be that we would be interrogated, detained and sent home with our passports stamped "persona non grata"), but the pastors who attended the training were risking imprisonment, loss of almost everything and possible torture.

The Summer Palace

We were picked up at the airport in Beijing and taken to our hostel where we spent the night. The next day we went with an American lady to see the "Summer Palace."

(Thanks to co-operative projects between Western missions and official, state-approved organizations, thousands of Christian teachers have taught English and other subjects in the universities, and kindergartens, orphanages and many charities have been established).

Early the next morning we were briefed by the husband as to what we were to expect and do and were taken to the train.

Indiana Jones Ride

We arrived at our target city at night time and were whisked away by car. The drive through the streets and alleyways of that city was something that could have been straight out of "Indiana Jones." The last half block was made with lights out until we parked in the middle of a dark intersection where we were told to be quiet, and the man and the driver listened carefully and looked in all directions to make sure we were alone. We were told to leave our luggage and run behind the man to an apartment building where we ran up a couple of flights of stairs. Our luggage was brought up later. That began our week of being locked down in the apartments. The curtains were pulled and we were told not to go near the windows.

Facilities

The organization we were working with had rented two three-bedroom apartments across a stair landing from each other. Dave and I, along with several others, slept in the bedrooms of the one apartment and the pastors slept in the other. We all took our meals in the large room in our apartment and did the training across the landing in a large room in the other apartment.

We Taught Morning until Night

David and I team-taught a book on Methodical Bible study and Bible Study Methods. We taught each day from early morning until night, breaking only for meals and a short siesta after lunch. We worked through two interpreters - a young man and a young woman, both about 23 years old. Both they and the pastors had the book (in Chinese) that we were teaching. Each pastor also had his own Chinese Bible. The interpreters had a Bible with the English (NIV) translation in one column and the Chinese in another.

The pastors were exceptionally sharp and knew their Bibles quite well. It was a delight to teach them.

After the training we again left at night, retracing the same pattern that we had followed coming in. We were able to sleep on the train (in bunks) most of the night.

20 Million Orphans in China

Arriving the next morning in Beijing, we were debriefed, given an interpreter and a car with a driver, and allowed to be tourists for a day. We saw Tiananmen Square, "The Forbidden City" (ancient palace of emperors), the Great Wall, and one of the orphanages that the organization operates. They told us that there are some 20 million orphans in China! Some of the stories they told of the children were truly heartbreaking.

1/2 of the Christians do not have Bibles

In the rural areas, where 80 percent of house-church Christians live, there are still considerable shortages of Scriptures. Often village Christians are unable to travel to the cities to buy Bibles and could not afford to buy them anyway. It may be that half of all Christians in China still do not have a personal Bible.

The Chinese government has so far refused to allow more than 3.5 million Bibles to be printed in any single year, and the average is nearer 2.3 million. Given the growth of the Chinese church at roughly 3-5 million per year, it is clear the need for Chinese Bibles will continue.
________________________



Source:

Countdown! Golden Minutes Ministries,
"China Adventure,"
July 2007
P.O. Box 8399
Long Beach, CA 90808
(562) 425-3796


Editor's note: The pastor who authored this article is my spiritual father in the Lord. We are proud of him and are certain that he will hear these words from our Lord:

"Well done, good servant!" (Luke 19:17).








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