In China, some 30,000 people a day are turning to Christ. Is this historic move of the Holy Spirit changing how the communist state treats Christians?
Dorothy Sun was attending a house church meeting in China last spring when four police officers started to pound on the door and shout for those inside to open up. Upon entering, they immediately demanded to see everyone’s identification cards. A female church leader quickly stepped forward and rebuffed the order—telling the policemen that everyone in the room lived in the building, had forgotten their IDs and were gathered to celebrate the nation’s Labor Day. After back-and-forth shouting with the leader over her dubious answer, the officers left.
Such exchanges are what many outside China’s borders believe is the norm for the Chinese church—and what Sun says is part of the ongoing secreted crackdown on Christians that Chinese authorities have practiced for decades. A native of China, Sun has personally felt the sting of government persecution, having spent six years in prison and 14 more working in a forced-labor factory as penalties for her faith. She has since become a U.S. citizen but returns to China annually with her husband, Freddie, who also has been jailed there for his faith, to work with house churches that refuse to register with the government. These indigenous believers, the Suns say, are spiritually alive and spreading the gospel despite the government’s opposition.
“China is thriving,” says Freddie Sun of the nation’s faithful. He estimates there are 150 million Protestants and Catholics, compared with 60 million communist party members. “Every day, 30,000 people believe in Jesus—even communist party members. It’s the greatest revival in church history.”
By all accounts, the Holy Spirit is moving in unprecedented ways in the world’s most populous nation. But not everyone agrees that this move comes in the face of government opposition. In fact, American missionaries who have lived in China for decades believe the Chinese government has drastically shifted in recent years, which has ushered in an era of greater religious freedom today that’s contributed to this remarkable revival.
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon