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MINISTRY//Opinions on churches vary

MINISTRY//Opinions on churches vary

One of our Bible institute teachers shares an observation about the way Chinese Christians view the official Protestant churches and those churches that are not part of the government approved network of churches. This network is also call the Three Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM).

Johanna and Fred have both attended home churches because the closest state-registered church is at least an hour away from their residences. They both spoke freely with me about attending a home church.

They were my first students, so I thought all of my students would have the same attitude about home churches. That is, they are illegal, but many people do it. Besides the authorities usually look the other way.

However, my next group of students — Mona, Jess, and Maybelle — were adamant when I asked them about home churches. “No one is allowed to attend any church other than those approved by the government,” they insisted. “Attending a Christian church approved by the state is legal, but home churches are not.”

Soon after this classroom conversation, Johanna and Fred were absent from our studies most Saturdays. Now it has been months since they attended.

As Confessional Lutherans, we would find errors in the theology of both China’s house churches and Three Self churches. But we mourn that the differences between at least these Chinese Christains are keeping them from discovering sound Christian truth from our Bible institute.

What you can do: Satan works every angle to attempt to destroy Christ’s Church. He raises up false teaching within churches that claim Christ’s name. He tempts governments to try to shape the Bible’s message. He unnecessarily divides Christians. Pray Jesus’ prayer for his disciples, “Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one” (John 17:11).