Open Doors Hails Persistence of China's Persecuted House Churches
by Allie Martin
April 10, 2006
(AgapePress) - - President George W. Bush has promised to talk about the need for greater religious freedom in China when that country's president visits the White House later this month. But despite the restrictions imposed by the Communist regime, government authorities have not been able to stop a revival that is taking place in China's house churches.
For more than half a century, Communists have ruled China, outlawing Christian churches that refuse to register with the government. Nevertheless, millions of Chinese Christians have formed "house churches" where believers meet and pastors preach without government restrictions.
Dr. Carl Moeller of Open Doors USA, a ministry to the persecuted Church, says although house church members risk arrest and imprisonment, a revival continues to spread among unregistered congregations. "It's been called the greatest revival in the history of Christianity," he notes, "and we're not talking about the Welsh Revival or the Chicago Revival, or even the Great Awakening in the United States."
This phenomenal Christian revival about which so many believers are talking "is the Church in China from 1948 to 2006," Moeller says. "The tens of millions of individuals who've come to personal faith in Jesus Christ despite 50-plus years of Communist oppression is remarkable."
As president of Open Doors USA, Moeller works to spotlight the plight of persecuted Christians worldwide and to encourage prayer and advocacy on their behalf. He points out that a massive crackdown on house churches throughout China has resulted in the arrests of thousands of believers lately, yet the underground church persists and continues to show an exciting rate of growth.
"We're excited because God is building His church," the ministry spokesman explains. "He's building His church in a paradoxical way, using persecution to spread the faith in prisons, in places where people's lifestyle can be witnessed by those who oppress them. And we're seeing a revolution happen."
Still, Moeller points out that China ranks in the top ten among the world's worst religious persecutors, according to Open Doors 2006 "World Watch List." He says recent remarks by President Bush regarding his commitment to raising the issue of religious freedom in China are encouraging. China's president is scheduled to visit the White House on April 20.
Allie Martin, a regular contributor to AgapePress, is a reporter for American Family Radio News, which can be heard online.