November Thoughts from Greg

 

But they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb
and by the word of their testimony,
for they did not cling to life even in the face of death.Revelation 12:11
 
What if you arrived at Saint John’s for worship on Sunday and the place was closed down? What if the government didn’t like what your leaders were preaching and placed them jail? What if all religious materials were banned and even online content was policed?
 
It sounds like some awful dystopian movie, but there are Christians living under conditions like these right now. We’ve been hearing awful stories of persecution from our friends in the Chinese church. Hundreds of churches are being closed. Crosses are being removed. Sunday school is illegal as children under 18 are not allowed to attend worship or classes.
 
In the state approved churches, pastors must submit their sermons in advance to make sure that their doctrine is in line with the Communist Party. Pastors must be younger than 65 and are not allowed to make a living wage.
 
In the underground church, no public gatherings are allowed. In the northwest part of China (near Russia), Muslims and Christians both face an immediate 8 years sentence for religious activity.
 
In universities, students are encouraged to spy on their Christian friends and professors by reporting their activities to the government. Christian gatherings are outlawed on campus.
American missionaries are being expelled at a record rate and not many visas are being approved. Of course, we have missionaries we support in this increasingly hostile environment. God is opening new doors of opportunity that we can use to continue discipling Chinese followers of Jesus.
 
This month, let us give thanks for the perseverance of the saints under persecution. On All Saints Sunday, November 4th, we will remember the suffering saints around the world and all those who have gone on to heaven before us. We have so much to be thankful for here in the states. I’m particularly grateful for our freedom to worship and live out our faith.
Thankful for you,
 

God’s Peace,

Greg