This week on October 1st the Chinese celebrate their national holiday marking the day Mao Tse-Tung officially established Communist rule in China. As his followers drove Christian Missionaries out of China and persecuted the 1 million Chinese Christians, no one expected Christianity to survive.
To many Chinese the Church had become associated with the Western powers which had humiliated China over the previous century. The traditional religionists who had seen their deified emperor overthrown in 1912 blamed the Church for their decline, while the Secular Communists painted the Christians as enemies of the state. Many Christians died or were sent to prison as Mao tried to crush Christianity.
Like the ancient Caesars, however, Mao did not understand that the Kingdom of God was on the inside of Believers, giving them strength to endure under persecution. The removal of the Missionaries did not end Christianity, but simply made the Church into a Chinese enterprise. When its property was confiscated it moved into the homes. And when its Chinese leaders were imprisoned, the Holy Spirit provided new leaders.
As it had done during the Roman persecution, the Church provided hope in a brutal society and continued to grow. Instead of fading away, the Chinese Church has 115 million Believers today.
We thank God that Mao is dead and that the Church is alive. We pray for continued strength in the Chinese Church as it faces intermittent persecution and a new threat of Godless materialism arising from China’s adoption of a capitalist economic system.
And may we in America learn to be as faithful as God’s Church in China.