The White Horse rides today in Beijing, China. The Gospel spreads. Persecution, famine, and death follow soon thereafter. Such events, while not physically occurring with great frequency here in the United States of America, do happen today in such seemingly faraway places as the mist-enshrouded Orient. Come, let us turn now to the Red Dragon of the East, the land of Geisha girls, yin & yang, Communism, and Buddhism.
While in the East, let us penetrate the cool, morning fog, and travel to Beijing, China. Here a little rest is required whilst a brief consideration of its size takes place. This bustling city has a population of 14,560,000 living in an area of 6,490 mi2. By way of contrast the city proper of Grand Rapids, MI (USA) has a population of 197,800 and these people are spread over an area of 47.3 mi2. (not counting the suburbs). Beijing is, then, not small at all.
But, enough of geography, there are schools for such things. Let us analyze the spiritual nature of affairs in China. In the January 31, 2005 edition of National Review Magazine (a semi-monthly), Jason Lee Steorts, a free-lance writer, reports on the persecution currently being experienced by the 80 million Chinese Christians. The four-column article serves to remind the Christian of the blessings he experiences here in the USA.
Steorts begins by meeting two Chinese women, Qiu Yue and Yang Jie, at an unremarkable diner in Beijing. The restaurant was mundane, the names are pseudonyms, and they e-mailed in code: ‘B’ for Bible and ‘C’ for Christian for the reason that if careless, both Qiu and Yang could be caught, persecuted, and killed. Turning to their religion, Steorts notes that they are members of house churches, which are Protestant Christian assemblies that have refused to register with the government and join the Communist Party’s Umbrella Protestant Organization, the Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM). There is also the Communist Party’s Roman Catholic organization, the Patriotic Catholic Organization, which does not recognize the Pope’s authority. Who knew the Communists could actually do something right?
Turning to the doctrines of the TSPM, Qiu explains that TSPM denies the Virgin Birth, the Deity of Christ (he had an earthly father), and the Second Coming. TSPM also lionizes Lei Feng, a Chinese peasant made into a national hero by Mao Tse Tung. Lei Feng, a legend now believed to be a lie, did no great deeds by which he was remembered, but taught the people how to be happy with what they had, obey the Communist Party, and let the Central Committee, or better still, Mao himself, do their thinking for them.
Mao is China’s equivalent of George Washington, the difference being that from the Glorious Revolution of 1949, the year the Communists took power and swept out Chiang Kai Shek, unto Mao’s death, the Chinese Communist Party killed some 30 million citizens. These people, murdered at Mao’s behest, were killed for disagreeing with him about political philosophy and religious doctrines. Mao’s ‘moderate’ successor, Deng Xiaoping, murdered a piddling 8–9 million. Mao’s gospel is that, like Feng, the Chinese will go to heaven only by serving the government or die.
What does happen to those Chinese Christians who believe in salvation by Christ-crucified alone? The response varies, but finds its best description in Moses’ burning bush. The Chinese Christians are injured but not consumed. While Qiu reports that she has witnessed about her beliefs to the public school children that she teaches, she counsels against preaching out loudly in Tiananmen Square. Then, the governmental policy of benign neglect will become a raging inferno of oppression.
However, not all are so physically well off. Yang’s house preacher Cai Zhuohua (his real name), his family, and some other printing-press associates were arrested by China’s Security Bureau for distributing Bibles and tracts. The government has charged them with being “counter-revolutionaries.” Contact with any of them since their arrest is nil.
This persecution is but the tip of the iceberg since the government carries out many more arrests, persecutions, and deaths. Yang’s response to the whole oppression is “That we are able to continue under the circumstances shows that God is with us.” Qiu adds “At my work, they told me, ‘Don’t speak about Christian ideas to the students; it will be dangerous.’ …But God has given me courage to speak.” The other response is that 3–4 new members per week receive the Baptismal Sacrament. Steorts concludes that “Christianity’s history demonstrates that it is able to flourish even under the most extreme forms of persecution.”
What ought your response to be, in addition to praying for those persecuted? Spread the truth. Help distribute and garner new subscriptions for this magazine and the Standard Bearer. Currently the Beacon Lights has less than 1000 paid subscribers and it makes for an excellent birthday, graduation, or confession-of-faith gift. The price is very reasonable and the material, timeless. Subscribe also to the Voice of Martyr’s (VOM) magazine for another at www.persecution.com. It is free and is a 21st Century version of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. It is a magazine dedicated to showing the persecution of saints with pictures more than words.
Finally, be aware that the Jesus is coming and rapidly at that. While it is still day let us pray and be earnest in our work, ere night fall…