Somebody stop China.
I’ve known something was up in China for decades now. In all my years vigorously trying to stop the spread of the gospel worldwide, I’ve enjoyed some of my best successes in China. Of course, I’m not minimizing my efforts in Europe and the United States where I let the Christians freely go to church each week preaching to one another, rarely within earshot of any of my captives. No need to beat them, I’ve already beat them!
But China! What is going on in China? I had my hands full in 1865 with that Hudson Taylor dude, but I slammed that door shut in the 1950s, with the last of Taylor’s troublemakers leaving in 1953. Things were quiet for a while, but in the last ten years or so we in Hell have been called more and more into the heavenlies over China battling in intense warfare to keep the souls of our deceived. Before long I began to realize that maybe it was I who was once again outwitted–I may have let my zeal for persecution lead to a flourishing of God’s church.
When will I learn? Persecution is a tricky thing, my servants. Many times trouble or persecution comes because of God’s word, and so-called “believers” quickly fall away. If they don’t fall away immediately, I bring on the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth, which works to neutralize most Christians, rendering them entirely unfruitful.
But sometimes, and I never really know until it’s too late, persecution works to scatter Christians abroad in a passion for the gospel that takes generations to stamp out. And I’m afraid that might have happened in China.
Years ago I tasked a special demon detachment to infiltrate deeply into the Chinese culture, looking for any evidence of missionaries, any trace of church buildings, or any trappings of the modern Western church, like rummage sales, youth jamborees, television evangelists, big new buildings with padded pews, large parking lots, and fancy sound equipment.
Nothing? I screeched. Then where is all the prayer traffic coming from?
I sent the detachment back in, house to house this time. And then we found it.
Those Chinese were taking God seriously, risking their lives, and the lives of their families by meeting privately in small groups to worship and pray.
What to do? What to do? We knew from history that the best way for any country to stop such Christians was to embrace them. Welcome them, open up society to them. Maybe even make Christianity a state religion!
I know, my servants, I know! It sounds crazy, but you must trust me on this one. I saw it work in Rome under Constantine. Look at Europe today! Look at the United States! They are neither hot nor cold, but perfectly, deliciously lukewarm!
But China, my servants, failed to follow my advice. And for this I’m issuing a Level 3 devilbloggger Alert. A Level 3 Alert is issued for clear and present dangers to my kingdom, dangers for which I wish my servants to mobilize on my behalf.
Why the Level 3 Alert? Because, as reported Friday on the Religion News Blog, the Chinese government recently launched a major crackdown on house churches. According to this article, the Chinese Communist Party launched on December 1st “Operation Deterrence,” an operation scheduled to continue into 2011.
Now I fully agree with reasons the Chinese government gave for their efforts to persecute, bully, and blacklist Christians:
The Politburo directive gave four reasons for labeling the house churches a “cult.” ChinaAid said the reasons were that house churches advocate and promote the Christianization of China; they seek the unity of all churches in China; they promote the unity of the Chinese church with churches worldwide and they want to have dialogue with the government.
Yes, Christianization of China would be a terrible thing. I realize, as reported, that:
The growth of Christianity in China, overwhelmingly in the house churches, has been so startling in recent years that even secular observers and the mainstream international media are predicting China could soon become the world’s largest Christian nation.
The numbers are staggering–anywhere from 40 million to 130 million Christians in China. But China, please, my friends. Have a little mercy on me!
My servants, please do what you can to let Chinese government officials know that, while their purposes are noble, their methods will backfire. They shouldn’t beat them, they should beat them.
That is, they shouldn’t beat them as in physically pummel them; they should beat them as in win!
And the way to win this game, my servants, is to embrace them with open arms.
Because often Christians don’t seem to know the difference between my open arms, and God’s.