Christianity Today’s Tim Morgan interviews pastor/activist Bob Fu, founder of ChinaAid, regarding Chen Guangcheng and the increasing resentment and criticism of China’s one-child policy, the state of the Chinese Church, and how American Christians can respond. The whole interview is well worth reading, but I wanted to highlight just one part regarding the growing Chinese Church, and America’s response to its persecution.
Are American Christians doing anything in China that you believe is unhelpful and should be discouraged?
We are one body in Christ. The thing that really troubles me most is the evangelical organizations or major evangelical leaders who choose not to know there are brothers and sisters still in jail for their faith — persecuted for Jesus’ name. They choose to be either silent purposely or try to ignore it.
I tried every way to stand outraged before these leaders. Two years ago, some major evangelical institutions took a high-profile visit to China, but only talked about good news, good development. Yes, there is good news. But you can’t just say good things by forgetting your brothers and sisters still in jail. That’s most discouraging. These leaders in house churches can in no way be called radical. Some take two years to register the church with the government without joining the Three-Self Movement. The leaders are well-educated and some are lawyers. They’re very rational leaders. At Shouwang Church in Beijing, all six church leaders have been under house arrest for over a year, since April last year.
Should American Christians make the church in China one of their top priorities?
I think so. After all, China is becoming inseparable from America economically, let alone spiritually. China is becoming the largest Christian nation. Journalist David Aikman’s prediction is right: By the next decade or so, China will have maybe 200 million Christians. It will happen.
Fu’s comments ought to challenge American Christians. The Church does not begin and end with America’s borders, and indeed, I suspect that the most vital and energetic parts of the Church body are not found in this country. It will be exciting to see how the global Church is affected as Christianity grows in other countries, especially countries like China that have been so hostile to the faith.
His comments ought to also convict us with regards to our claims of persecution. American Christians are certainly not immune to persecution, but I fear we lack a sense of perspective concerning our “plight” — especially when we compare it to that of Christians living in China, Iran, Iraq, and so on.