I need to tell you my strange fear of why our President Xi Jinping may be a chosen one…
If Christianity is the story we are in, it is possible God the Great Storyteller chose our President Xi Jinping to do something very unexpected.
As I said in the Introduction, when my Uncle gave me this crazy assignment, he wrote the following to me…
And because you are my loyal Nephew, I have assigned you to come to understand the Christian version of the story – because the Party recognizes that the Christians in China may ultimately become the greatest domestic threat to our power.
But you should also know why some of our key players are rather uncomfortable with even giving you this assignment. They wonder at times if some of your team – or perhaps even you – will be tempted in a very personal way to consider entertaining the possibility Christianity might really be the story we are in. They fear if you let yourselves go too far down that road, you may begin to fall for those fairy tales and betray the Party.
So, I’d be very careful if I were you, Nephew! It would be easy to make a misstep in this delicate situation. But to help guard you from their criticism, I also want you, as you go forward with this assignment, to see if you can learn anything which may help us to stop the spread of Christianity in China.
It’s clear what we’ve been doing for the past few decades has been an utter failure.
By 2030, China’s total Christian population, including Catholics, would exceed 247 million, placing it above Mexico, Brazil and the United States as the largest Christian congregation in the world, he predicted.
“Mao thought he could eliminate religion. He thought he had accomplished this,” Prof Yang said. “It’s ironic – they didn’t. They actually failed completely.“China on course to become ‘world’s most Christian nation’ within 15 years, By Tom Phillips, The Telegraph, April 9, 2014
No matter how hard we bring the hammer and sickle down on them, they just keep multiplying!
So, if you can figure out how to stifle their growth, you’ll be a hero instead of a suspect!
So, remember when Paula Wong showed us this, from one of her favorite basketball players?
Just seven games into the season, LeBron James is starting to run out of patience with the mistakes of his young Los Angeles Lakers teammates.
“We talk about patience but you can’t have reoccurrence of the same thing,” James told reporters after the loss to the Timberwolves. “If you are doing the same things over and over and over and expecting the same result then that’s insanity.
“So we have to get better. We can’t keep having the same mistakes over and over.”Inexperienced Lakers starting to wear on LeBron, Reuters, October 30, 2018
We are doing the same thing over and over — expecting the same results…
Xi Jinping will not be as restrained as Rongcheng’s officials. He evidently believes the Party must have absolute control over society and he must have absolute control over the Party. It is simply inconceivable that he will not include in the national social credit system, when it is stitched together, political criteria. Already Chinese officials are trying to use artificial intelligence to predict anti-Party behavior.
Xi Jinping is not merely an authoritarian leader, as it is often said. He is taking China back to totalitarianism as he seeks Mao-like control over all aspects of society.China’s ‘Digital’ Totalitarian Experiment, by Gordon G. Chang, Gatestone Institute, September 12, 2018
See that? Xi Jinping is taking us back to our troubling time under Mao…
The People’s Republic of China is run by a Leninist party, whose chief concern is perpetuating its own hold on power and developing national power. The opening up of China following the death of Mao Zedong and the destruction of radical elements led by his wife came to an end in 1989 with the crushing of demonstrations on Tiananmen Square at the cost of several thousand lives. From that time it became apparent that the Communist Party would tolerate no challenges to its authority, no questioning of its rule, no alternative bases of power, no political or civil rights secured by an independent judiciary and no free expression of opinion.Eliot A. Cohen, The Big Stick
“Xi is a closet Maoist — he is very anxious about thought control,” said Willy Lam, a Chinese politics expert at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. “He definitely does not want people to be faithful members of the church, because then people would profess their allegiance to the church rather than to the party, or more exactly, to Xi himself.”
Various state and local officials declined repeated requests to comment. But in 2016, Xi explicitly warned against the perceived foreign threats tied to faith, telling a religion conference: “We must resolutely guard against overseas infiltrations via religious means.”Christian heartland opens window into fight for China’s soul, By YANAN WANG, Associated Press, Miami Herald, August 07, 2018
Yes, my American friends — we are heading back to the past, even when it comes to our effort to stamp out religion.
Yang Fenggang, an expert on religion at Purdue University in Indiana, predicts that at current rates China could be home to the world’s largest number of Christians by 2030 — with 247 million believers. Considering the CCP currently has only 88 million members, it is easy to see why the party top brass might be wary. Certainly, Xi thought it was necessary to emphasize in his weekend speech that CCP cadres must act as “unyielding Marxist atheists … and bear in mind the party’s tenets.” Deploying an oddly religious phrase, he also told them to “consolidate their faith.”
According to William Nee, China researcher for Amnesty International, obligatory Marxist atheism has been conspicuously absent from party decrees over the past two or three decades. No longer. “It’s not a change per se, but it’s significant when that message is being reinforced by the highest levels,” Nee says.China’s Leader Xi Jinping Reminds Party Members to Be ‘Unyielding Marxist Atheists’, By CHARLIE CAMPBELL, Time Magazine, April 25, 2016
China’s government is ratcheting up a crackdown on Christian congregations in Beijing and several provinces, destroying crosses, burning bibles, shutting churches and ordering followers to sign papers renouncing their faith, according to pastors and a group that monitors religion in China.
The campaign corresponds with a drive to “Sinicize” religion by demanding loyalty to the officially atheist Communist Party and eliminating any challenge to its power over people’s lives.Group: Officials destroying crosses, burning bibles in China, By CHRISTOPHER BODEEN, AP News, September 10, 2018
We are putting Chinese Christians, your brothers and sisters in Christ, back onto desperate ground.
Without warning, Guo and his neighbors in China’s Christian heartland province of Henan had found themselves on the front lines of an ambitious new effort by the officially atheist ruling Communist Party to dictate — and in some cases displace — the practice of faith in the country.
Under President Xi Jinping, China’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong, believers are seeing their freedoms shrink dramatically even as the country undergoes a religious revival. Experts and activists say that as he consolidates his power, Xi is waging the most severe systematic suppression of Christianity in the country since religious freedom was written into the Chinese constitution in 1982.Christian heartland opens window into fight for China’s soul, By YANAN WANG, Associated Press, Miami Herald, August 07, 2018
As a result, a close watch is still kept on churchgoers, and preachers are routinely monitored to ensure their sermons do not diverge from what the Party considers acceptable.
In Liushi church a closed circuit television camera hangs from the ceiling, directly in front of the lectern.
“They want the pastor to preach in a Communist way. They want to train people to practice in a Communist way,” said the house-church preacher, who said state churches often shunned potentially subversive sections of the Bible. The Old Testament book in which the exiled Daniel refuses to obey orders to worship the king rather than his own god is seen as “very dangerous”, the preacher added.China on course to become ‘world’s most Christian nation’ within 15 years, By Tom Phillips, The Telegraph, April 9, 2014
According to William Nee, China researcher for Amnesty International, obligatory Marxist atheism has been conspicuously absent from party decrees over the past two or three decades. No longer. “It’s not a change per se, but it’s significant when that message is being reinforced by the highest levels,” Nee says.
Essentially, the government wants to ensure any religion in China is sinicized and complements the CCP. Last year, for example, the CCP even insisted that the party would chose who the next reincarnation of the Dalai Lama would be. “They want to find a merger between these religious faiths and ‘Chinese civilization,’” says Nee. “And for religious believers to unite with the party.”
If the alternative is burial by bulldozer, many might be inclined to comply.China’s Leader Xi Jinping Reminds Party Members to Be ‘Unyielding Marxist Atheists’, By CHARLIE CAMPBELL, Time Magazine, April 25, 2016
So, given how we are doing the same thing we were before, my flood of insight came as I remembered this quote, from that famous Christian apologist of yours. It’s a stunning concept, if Christianity is the story we are in…
But one of the most amazing stories is China. When missionaries were forced out of China in 1948, they left with a feeling of failure and defeat. It was long thought thereafter that the repressive communist regime had all but exterminated Christianity in China. But then during the 1970s news began to leak out of China that though the church had been forced underground, she had flourished and grown. Since the end of Mao Tse-tung’s Cultural Revolution in 1976, during which some 20 million people were killed, the growth of the church in China has been without parallel in history, until today she numbers somewhere over 90 million believers. In the words of Patrick Johnstone, Mao Tse-tung unwittingly became the greatest evangelist in history!
Listen, God is on the move in the world today!On Being a World Christian, By William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith
The greatest evangelist in history. Wow.
So, Paula and I want you to consider–what if your God has chosen our President Xi Jinping to play a similar role?
God practices a kind of judo, turning the opponent’s own strongest force and momentum against him.Peter Kreeft, Love Is Stronger Than Death
Let us enter more deeply into this incredible divine judo. (Belief is not required, just imagination-another little thought experiment.) Let us imagine the Devil’s fiendish joy at the folly of the Incarnation. How foolish, smirks Satan, is God’s love! it leads Him into the great tactical mistake of leaving His impregnable Heaven. In order to redeem the mankind God loves, He must become a man, enter enemy-occupied territory, become subject to the conditions of “the ruler of this world.” The ruler inspires a few of his key agents and He is crucified. Imagine the delicious taste in Satan’s mouth as he savors the unthinkable pain of the death of God, a death not only in body but in spirit, a death that is hell. Imagine how Satan relishes forever those unthinkably terrible words: “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?” Victory! Satan has killed God, split the eternal Trinity, introduced the separation of death into ultimate reality, and proved the utter folly and defeat of God’s love for Man. And precisely this is Satan’s ultimate defeat and God’s victory; precisely this death is the instrument of man’s salvation from death and from Satan! Imagine Satan’s utter consternation, astonishment, terror, and resentment at being used by the divine judo!’
And look how this fits with Kreeft’s insight…
His going into Death was His final conflict with Satan for man, and on his behalf. By submitting to it He took away the power of Death; He disarmed Death by burying his shaft in His own Heart.Alfred Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah
If that is mysteriously in play now in China, then it is no wonder the Party is nervous…
Xi has just orchestrated a colossal exercise of centralizing power in the Communist Party and in his own hands—he is now the Chairman of Everything for Life. He is trying to project China’s influence throughout the world through the multi-trillion dollar One Belt-One Road Initiative, the expansion of its military and Sharp Power tools of manipulation and control, its bullying tactics against anyone who believes that Tibetans have rights, and the declaration issued at the 19th Party Congress that China is not just a rising economic power but also an ideological rival to liberal democracy, “a new option for other countries,” as dictator for life Xi puts it.
And yet, the Xi regime fears the peaceful house-church movement and a non-violent lawyer like Li Baiguang–because he knows that with all his power, there is a higher power that the party cannot touch, a power that excites the imagination and the spirit of ordinary people in China who continue to hear and be drawn to its still, small voice.
Li Baiguang heard that voice. When he received the Courage Award from China Aid last year, he cited a sentence from Romans 13 that captured his sense of the deepening crisis in China: “The night is nearly over, the day is almost here.” That chapter opens with a message that resonates today with unusual power in China and that I’m sure gave Li the hope to carry on: “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers,” it reads, and “whosoever therefore resisteth the power…shall receive themselves damnation.”
Li is now dead, but his spirit and belief in a higher power live on within the hearts of countless Chinese citizens, who will carry on his struggle for a more decent and lawful society. That struggle for the realization of a different Chinese dream deserves our unwavering support.A Religious Awakening in China that Seems Uncontrollable, Carl Gershman, World Affairs Journal
As Paula taught me to say: This hit me ‘like a ton of bricks.’
We don’t have to take this type of power approach.
What if we ‘take a play from your playbook?’
I realized in that moment, gazing into Paula’s face, that you Christians in America have shown us how we can stifle the growth of Christianity in China.
By luring China’s Christians into the minimalist corner.
Your migration into that fog has shown us the way forward. What if, I asked Paula, we took China’s Christians off desperate ground?
After seeing the sleepy lethargy of so many of you American Christians, she could see it too. “That could work!” she cried.