As China clamps down on religious minorities, church leadership is growing by Staff writer for Christian Today
GNN Note – While this is great news, let’s not forget that China is on the other hand hunting Christians like animals with a bounty on their head as high as $1,500 U.S. / 10,500 yuan.
China’s tightening grip on religious minorities has had an unexpected consequence: the growth of church leadership.
As China celebrates the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic, Open Doors’ contacts in the country say that the government has been increasing its control of religious activities.
They report the release of a draft paper recommending new regulations on the financial accounting of day-to-day operations.
The document, called ‘Measures for the Administration of Religious Groups’, also proposes raising the bar even higher for the formation of new religious groups.
If implemented, the paper will add to the existing body of Regulations for Religious Affairs introduced in February 2018 that set out detailed criteria for the registration of churches and meeting places.
Julie, an Open Doors contact whose name has been changed for security reasons, said that the government has scaled up efforts to stymie church growth for the last two years.
“Control of the church has long been high on the political agenda. Since 2017 the government has been closing some large churches, monitoring and putting pressure on pastors to limit church growth,” she said.
“There was, of course, an initial push-back against the new religious regulations, restrictions on how, where and when believers can meet, and the warnings of severe consequences for civil servants, doctors, teachers and Communist Party members who attend church.
“However, over time, pastors have become more optimistic because they were left with a core group of Christians who have counted the cost.”
Contacts on the ground in China told Open Doors that the increased control by the government has resulted in churches having to meet in smaller groups, with one surprising offshoot of this being that more people have had to take on church leadership roles.