World Evangelical Leader and House Church Perspectives Diverge on Status of Religious Freedom in China
December 22, 2009
BEIJING, (christiansunite.com) -- Just before Thanksgiving, the World Evangelical Alliance issued a report on their visit with Three-self and state church leaders in China, calling the meetings "historic" and casting a positive light on the health of religion in China. After much prayer and consultation with fellow evangelical organizations, ChinaAid felt compelled to share the truth about the complex situation, calling out the WEA for "misleading" the international community, in a CAA statement released on December 18, 2009:
"While we affirm WEA's sincere intentions to serve the Church in China.. and it is certainly the WEA's prerogative to only meet with national, state- sanctioned and Three-Self church leaders, their failure to mention the 80 million faithful Christians who.. meet in house churches and rented offices, has compromised the cause of the suffering church in China."
ChinaAid sought not to dismiss believers who attend state churches, but speak up for those who were forgotten: "We are simply calling into question the very misleading signal ..sent by what the WEA statement chose not to say in their statement. Believers around the world were misinformed by WEA not mentioning the reality of brutal persecution of house church Christians still pervasive throughout China."
In their own testimony issued on December 12th, the evangelical Chinese House Church Alliance (CHCA), based in Beijing, reviewed persecution cases in the year 2009. CHCA leaders expressed gratitude to God for His faithfulness, and listed the major cases of persecution experienced by members and leaders of the CHCA and their affiliates.
The Christmas season especially, as a distinctly Christian holiday, is one of the most dangerous times for believers in China, as unsanctioned gatherings can be disrupted with officials detaining and beating participants. During Advent, ChinaAid and CHCA leaders urge the international evangelical community not to forget the millions of independent house church believers who face persecution for their faith, and to continue praying for true religious freedom in China.
See the articles posted by the WEA about their China visit on their website: www.ChinaAid.org