The Chinese government claims there are 28.6 million Christians in the country (only counting registered churches). But this number is dwarfed by the more realistic figure of between 110 and 130 million, including the myriad of unregistered house churches. According to China Aid, the number of Christians in China has increased 100-fold since Mao’s Communists came to power in 1949. One Chinese Christian businessman predicts that number doubling or even tripling in the next generation.
Tim Gardam, Principal of St Anne’s College, Oxford, in a BBC interview, said: “The new converts can be found from peasants in the remote rural villages to the sophisticated young middle class in the booming cities.” He continues, “On Easter morning, in downtown Beijing, I watched five services; each packed with over 1,500 worshippers. Sunday school was spilling on to the street. However, these numbers are dwarfed by the unofficial ‘house churches’, spreading across the country.” China Aid’s Bob Fu says Christianity experienced a spurt in growth after the Tiananmen Square conflict. Six of the 30 student leaders who were arrested became Christians.
Gardam continues, “An educated young Christian described her church to me: ‘We have 50 young professionals in this church.’” The government is even trying to learn from the churches, and there has been official interest in the Alpha Marriage Course, because of alarm at the escalating divorce rate among young Chinese. The impact of the growth of the Church was illustrated in August last year at the funeral of Pastor “Samuel Lamb” in Guangzhou. Some 30,000 people blocked the streets, not to honour a high-ranking government official, but for a humble man of God – many times imprisoned – who had seen some 300-400 baptisms take place each year at his house church. He once said: “Praise God! The more we are persecuted, the more people come to our church.”
Source: Revival Media; BBC News; OMF Prayer Letter
BIBLE STUDY: Acts 4:23-31
PRAISE: God for the growth of a persecuted Church and for its impact on all sectors of Chinese society. Pray it will remain faithful to Christ’s mission.