I am sharing some information today that is not common knowledge here in America but I feel it is important for us to see the actual situation with the Church in China. I do not know what the actual number of believers there are in China and furthermore, I’m not sure that anyone knows. I hear reports of 40-60 million; another source says over 100 million and still another source says that the number may exceed 300 million. What ever the number it is great enough for the Chinese government to feel somewhat insecure because of the shear number. To put it in perspective, China‘s 2018 population is 1.42 billion, based on United Nations projections. If the number of Christians there is 100 million that means that one in 14 people in china is a Christian.
The church historically has flourished during persecution while it has grown apathetic during prosperous times. The hunger there for Bible knowledge is far beyond what it is in America. This example is common for the church there in China. Most churches do not own property or their own worship building and meet in homes. They do not have access to the outside church in that printed documents are not allowed. Christians are quizzed as to the content of their worship services. Outside speakers are forbidden and training is almost non-existent. Bibles have been available in most areas but even that is now being limited. A somewhat typical picture would be that an individual may have to travel up to two hours to meet with other Christians that they felt safe with. They would meet in a home, sit on a plastic stool for two or more hours, visit, share, eat and then travel up to two hours to get back home. They would arrive quite early, maybe a half hour or more and spend much of the time praying until it starts. They would stagger their times of arriving so that only one to three at a time would enter. They would take extensive notes as fast as they can, which they would study as they could. They may be interrogated about their activity at any time. Should the authorities find anything that they had deemed illegal then they could be imprisoned and their properties confiscated. Those not imprisoned would be “retrained” and forced to sign an affidavit saying they recant of their former profession and pledge allegiance to the government. It is not illegal to be a Christian but you are forbidden to evangelize or propagate your belief. Under this type of conditions the Church has grown to amazing proportions. Yet in America the ratio of Christians is somewhere between 1 in 50 to 1 in 100.
Within the actual worship the spirit is one of a shared love. There is an absence of greed but rather one of sharing and giving. The hunger is real and deep and sincere. They want the truth about God and are willing to pay the price for it. The leadership is mostly untrained and inexperienced, yet they possess the ability to recognize the truth where they find it. If you are real and have the truth of Christ, they will love you deeply, but if you are a fraud, they will not only recognize it but will also give you a wide birth. Never have I seen a greater hunger or a deeper need than in China. More later.