by Jordan Hilger, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) - A handful of new house churches have become casualties of the Chinese government’s “sinicization” campaign since April, as the communist regime seeks to stamp out all remnants of unofficial Christianity.
Xunsiding Church, an independent Protestant church founded in 1950, Enzhu Church, Ronggui Lane Church, House of David Church, and an unnamed Sole Fide Church—a house church movement in China based in the doctrine of justification by faith—were declared illegal and shut down for not belonging to the Communist-sponsored Three-Self Patriotic Movement.
Chinese President Xi Jingping’s campaign of “sinicization,” or tailoring Christianity to socialist values, began in earnest in February 2018, when 10,000 Protestant Churches—even many registered with the TSPM—were shut down, 1 million believers harassed or persecuted in some measure, and 5,000 Christians arrested, according to the Wall Street Journal.
“Some of these violent actions are unprecedented since the end of the Cultural Revolution,” a group of prominent Chinese pastors wrote in an open letter to the Chinese government released in September, among them Yang Xibo, whose almost 70-year-old Xunsiding Church was shut down on May 31st.
“If the will of any political party, the laws of any government, or the commands of any man directly violate the teachings of the Bible, harming men’s souls and opposing the gospel proclaimed by the church, we are obligated to obey God rather than men, and we are obligated to teach all members of the church to do the same,” the pastors wrote.
It is estimated that 64 million Chinese Christians practice some form of unofficial Christianity, with projections that nearly 250 million believers could populate the communist superpower by 2030, outstripping a communist party of 90 million people, according to the Wall Street Journal.