Growing Pains, Great Gains
ICC Note: Despite the well-documented persecution faced by the Christian church in China, its growth continues at a great pace. This article points out some of the growing pains faced by the church in China, and the need for solid teaching and discipleship for many of its new believers.
By June Cheng
05/15/2015 China (World magazine)
Christians are not only worshipping on Sunday but making their presence known throughout the week in ways large and small: In a Christian-owned, Hebei province restaurant known for its dumplings, each private dining room has a different Bible verse taped to the back of the door.
Yet this ever-expanding group of first-generation Christians is facing the growing pains of maturing in a society that has erased God from the public sphere for more than half a century. After professing Christ, many young believers don’t know how to discern between truth and lies. Deep-seated attitudes developed by a lifetime of Communist propaganda and atheist education are difficult to shake. The legal illegitimacy of house churches slows down discipleship: In some, pastors abort their babies, marriages split, children leave the church, and cults cajole the gullible.
And yet, the good news about the Good News is that creative believers are finding ways to fight sinful tendencies. I traveled in many parts of China during April and saw where the church is heading in three crucial areas: theology, sanctity of life, and education. (China’s government has often imprisoned Christians and critics of rampant abortion. We have changed the names of persons in this story to protect their security.)