This could, and I believe eventually WILL come to the shores of America! For whom will you stand?

Pastor Kevin

End Times News Update
Sign: Believers Persecuted
Scripture: Matthew 24:8
News Source: Time Magazine
=========================================================

Why Do Christian Groups in China Put Authorities on Red Alert?

By Ursula Gauthier / LE NOUVEL OBSERVATEUR / Worldcrunch Thursday, June 02, 2011

(BEIJING) — Every Sunday at 8:30 a.m. sharp, you see them coming to
the unwelcoming square in the middle of the university neighborhood in
Beijing. Skinny young girls dressed in jeans and wearing ponytails,
elegant couples in their 40s, distinguished men who look like retired
teachers: they all gather here with a funny mix of hesitation and
bravery on their faces. Minutes later, antiriot police intervene and
arrest them without encountering any resistance. On the bus that takes
them to the police station, they open their prayer books and start
singing liturgical songs.

The people who so bravely defy the formidable security forces every
week belong to the Protestant Shouwang church, the biggest and
best-known “house” church in Beijing. Shouwang means “to keep watch”
in Mandarin. Notoriously independent, its attendees refuse to let
themselves be absorbed by the official “patriotic” church, which sits
entirely in the government’s fold. This autonomous group of worshipers
holds its services at one of its member’s homes or in a simple
conference room rented for the occasion.

The devotees elect their ministers — the members of the small
committee of elders charged with governing the church — and are deeply
dedicated to the life of their community.

“We have absolutely no political agenda, and we are not opposed to the
government,” a Shouwang official who is now under house arrest
recently said. “We only want one thing: to freely practice our
religion.”

So why are the Chinese authorities so dead set against the church?
Several dozen Shouwang devotees are detained every week. Since the
beginning of the civil-disobedience movement, more than 300 of them
have been questioned by police and pressured into signing a disavowal
of their spiritual guide before being freed. Six Shouwang members have
nevertheless been assigned to house arrest in recent months, with
rumors circulating that they’ll soon be thrown in jail.

According to Bob Fu of China Aid, an American NGO that focuses on the
life of China’s Christians, Beijing has always had a very bad opinion
of organized groups, whatever they might be.
(See pictures of China at 60.)

Founded in 1993 by the charismatic minister Jin Tianming, who was then
a young chemical-engineering graduate of the prestigious Tsinghua
University, Shouwang has seen its number of devotees grow from 10 to
1,000 over the past 15 years. This has attracted the ire of the
authorities, who have constantly harassed them and even forced them to
change headquarters more than 20 times.

“Two recent events explain the government’s attitude,” says Fu.
“First, there was the fact that in 2010, Shouwang was preparing to
send 200 delegates from around the country to the international
evangelical conference in South Africa.”
Alarmed by their capacity to coordinate and their desire to present
themselves as the legitimate representatives of Chinese Protestantism,
the government banned the delegates from leaving the country. “And
then the ‘jasmine revolutions’ started,” Fu continues. “Fearing [the
Arab world’s revolutionary spirit] would spread, Beijing decided to
break Shouwang down.”

In 2010, Shouwang worshipers managed to gather $6 million in
donations. The money would have bought them an entire floor of a
building in the university neighborhood. But the sale was canceled,
under pressure from authorities. The church had to settle instead for
a big conference room, rented from a posh restaurant. Several months
later, that contract was canceled as well, for the same reasons,
leaving the devotees without any roof over their heads.

“They would like to split us up or, even better, dissolve us
altogether,” says one of the Shouwang worshipers. “We will never allow
that to happen. We have not turned ourselves to the Savior to find
ourselves listening to so-called ministers who are bureaucrats in
reality and who follow the orders of the Communist Party’s atheists!”

With its 40 biblical reading groups, choir, catechism and faithful
(typically members of the new bourgeoisie — professors, doctors,
lawyers, students and even party members), Shouwang gains dozens of
new converts each month. For the regime, it is the strongest symbol of
the wave of religious conversion that has swept the country of late.
Urban, educated, disgusted by the “red” discourse served by the media
and fed up even with the cult of consumerism, the new,
Christ-conscious Chinese upper class is on a moral collision course
with a government that it perceives as soulless.

The numbers speak for themselves. A survey conducted in 2006 indicated
that about 300 million Chinese (31% of the population) practice a
religion. Government estimates put that number far lower. Among
Chinese religious practitioners, two-thirds declared themselves
Buddhists or Taoists. The remaining third (100 million people) are
Christians.

A leaked report dating from the same year suggested that the real
number of Chinese Christians is closer to 130 million — up from just 5
million in 1949, when Mao rose to power. Roughly four-fifths are
Protestants. In the past 60 years, in other words, the number of
Chinese Christians has multiplied by a factor of 25. They now make up
7% to 10% of the population, meaning that Christianity is quite
possibly the second religion in China.

The growth of Christianity is all the more remarkable considering it
occurred despite decades of bloody persecution under Mao, who viewed
the religion as a “foreign” doctrine used to serve the interests of
capitalist imperialism. Christianity has now adapted to the local
realities and is no longer seen as a strange faith imported from
elsewhere. Millions of new devotees are convinced that China will
become Christian in a matter of two or three decades.

Source: Time Magazine
URL:  http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2075386,00.html#ixzz1ONJpUOij


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