08/12/2021 China (International Christian Concern) – Since 2009, the Golden Lampstand Church, a megachurch in Shanxi province’s Linfen city, has faced persecution from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). According to Bitter Winter, Golden Lampstand Church belongs to a network of house churches with more than 50,000 members called Sola Fide. Sola Fide is Latin for “by faith only,” and these churches refuse to affiliate with the CCP-vetted Protestant church denomination.
In 2009, pastors and other members of the Golden Lampstand Church were arrested and received prison sentences from the CCP. IN 2018, the church building, which cost an estimated 2.6 million USD to construct, was destroyed by dynamite by the CCP since the local authorities were eyeing for the property’s commercial value. Since then, the church congregation has continued to meet outdoors or in private homes and is facing ongoing persecution.
This past Saturday, August 7, nine leaders from the church were arrested in a “well-prepared and coordinated Public Security operation,” according to Bitter Winter. Among those detained were Pastor Wang Xiaoguang and his wife, Evangelist Yang Rongli, who had both previously been arrested in 2009.
Pastor Wang spent three years in jail for his faith and his wife, Evangelist Yang, spent seven years behind bars after their 2009 arrests. Members of other house churches associated with the Golden Lampstand network were also arrested this past week and taken to police stations for interrogation.
This latest string of arrests is part of a broader attack on house churches taking place in the Shanxi province. Ever since the CCP announced new religious regulations and increased control over churches late last year, China has seen an uptick in crackdowns on Christian leaders and places of worship that refuse to join the state-approved church.
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