The online Bible institute that 316NOW provides Christian leaders in China is about to become even more illegal. We are left with the question: will the doors to China's 1.4 billion souls be closed soon?
According to Christianity Today (October 3, 2016) China released a draft of new religious restrictions in September, including the prohibition of online religious services, running religious events in schools, and organizing people to leave the country to attend religious training or conferences.
One anonymous Chinese religious policy expert summed up some of what the restrictions include. The new restrictions forbid:
- Religious activities that are not approved by the State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA).
- Providing a venue for religious services that are not approved by SARA.
- Using one's home for religious practices that are not approved by SARA (including home or family Bible studies).
- Publishing religious materials without approval from SARA.
- Donations from foreign or domestic organizations to any religious organization that hasn’t been approved by SARA.
- Claiming the title pastor without the approval of SARA.
- International religious exchanges may happen without the approval of SARA.
- People from studying theology at school without the approval of SARA.
“As you can imagine, these amendments to the administration of religion in China by SARA would in effect leave no space for the house or unregistered church in China, and will significantly curtail many of the activities of the TSPM [Three-Self Patriotic Movement] as well,” the expert told ChinaSource.
If the government doesn’t perceive any major problems with the regulations, they could take effect early next year, ChinaSource president Brent Fulton told Christianity Today.
Source: Christianity Today