by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) - Five Christians were arrested Sunday morning during a police raid on a house church in China’s Chengdu, International Christian Concern reports. The Spring of Life Church (East Hall) was in the middle of a service when authorities arrived and took away the elder Cha Changping, who leads the church, his wife, and three others.
A possible reason for the harassment against the church is that Elder Cha Changping is one of the Christian leaders who signed “A Joint Statement by Pastors: A Declaration for the Sake of the Christian Faith” in 2018. The statement is part of an initiative launched by imprisoned pastor Wang Yi from Early Rain Covenant Church, and calls for religious freedom in China.
“Authorities often target the churches of these signatories and threaten to shut them down if they do not join the state-sanctioned Three-self churches,” ICC said in its report.
The five Christians arrested Sunday were interrogated and released later in the day, after being told their church is illegal, ICC said.
China ranks 17th on the Open Doors 2021 Watch List of countries where it is most difficult to be Christian. Nevertheless, despite regulations that severely limit religious freedom, the church is reportedly thriving and growing.