I heard a short extract on the ABC radio news this morning. This is yet another reminder to pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ who do not have the freedom to follow Jesus in the way that we do in Australia. There is no shortage of spiritual passion for Christ in this pastor’s life. Please pray for him. An extract,
In the city of Wenzhou despite secret police looking on, a 70 year old pastor agrees to be interviewed, conscious of the very real risks.
“Now we have nothing to be afraid of …. because God is with us.” – Pastor Zheng Datong
He’s been imprisoned before for his beliefs – but that hasn’t made him waver in his convictions. But it is enough for him to protect his congregation from being exposed. Filming is out of the question.
And he’s right to be concerned. The Chinese government has become increasingly worried about any threat to the ‘social harmony’ – and the revolutions and unrest in the Middle East have kicked those concerns into high gear. Lawyers, bloggers, artists, anyone with the potential to challenge the central authority, have all been targeted – harassed, arrested or even disappeared.
It’s not so surprising, then, that in such a climate the unofficial evangelical churches, with their millions of adherents, are being singled out. And little wonder that reporting on those churches would attract the attention of the secret police.
It was only by avoiding normal phone or email contact that Stephen McDonell managed to meet the doyen of China’s growing evangelist movement, Samuel Lamb. Pastor Lamb has already spent much of his life in strife over his beliefs – but he relishes the heavy hand of authority.
“Oppression, then more believers. Oppression then more believers. We aren’t afraid because we know oppression simply leads to more believers.” – Pastor Samuel Lamb
The question is, can the State accept the idea that many of their citizens follow the word of their gods above the word of the Party?
Foreign Correspondent, 8pm tonight ABC1, China – True Believers.