In the deep of the night in Nanjing, Christians wailed as authorities demolished their church.
The building hosted services for more than 1,000 Christians in the area. Some of them were inside the church when the authorities arrived, and the officials dragged them out. Government agents beat some of them and then blocked off the church.
The Christians knelt next to the demolition, crying and screaming. Many of them said that they did not know where else to practise their faith. Ignoring them, the authorities tore the church down.
This is just the latest in a series of Chinese church demolitions. An anonymous Nanjing pastor said he believes the government’s motive is to destroy Christianity.
Since President Xi Jinping assumed power in 2013, he has instituted “religion with Chinese characteristics”, a scheme to bring theology under government control. The Chinese government fears the spread of religion will undermine their power. This prompted officials to enact new regulations regarding religion and clamp down on churches.
- Ask the Lord to comfort the church leaders and members affected by the demolition. Pray they will encourage one another in the faith.
- Pray they will be provided with opportunities to gather at new premises.
- Pray for those in authority who oppose the Gospel, that they will experience the new-found hope and joy found through a relationship with Christ.
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At the beginning of the month, the government forcibly demolished a nursing home established by the Baishitang Church in Luhe County, Shanwei, Guangdong province. Before it was levelled, more than 100 Christians used the nursing home as a gathering point.
On 14 May, a person from the area revealed that a local Christian nursing home was bulldozed by the government a week ago. “In early May, the government razed the nursing home to [the] ground, which the church spent hundreds of thousands to build. The government of Shanwei planned the demolition of the nursing home, which was also used as a gathering place.”
The city government dispatched 200-300 people to knock down the nursing home. According to Shanwei Christians, the government used the excuse that the church was constructed illegally, without government permission. Chinese policies dictate that Christians be required to apply for permission at the county religious affairs bureau and wait for permission from the city government before setting up a religious venue.
The church members emphasized that they built a nursing home, not a church. Members of the Baishitang Church planned to hire a lawyer, but the government officials prevented them from doing so through coercion.
A church member named Chen said, “[Another Christian] wanted to help them find a lawyer, but the officials threatened that the government would arrest the church members if they hired lawyers or petitioned at superior governments. They no longer dare to search for lawyers. The case is hopeless.”
The church members raised more than 600,000 yuan (approximately $124,115) and renovated the church in November of 2009. The leader of the church was Pastor Han, who kept a low profile.
- Commit to the Lord the pastor and his church members. Pray for strength of faith and wisdom for when dealing with the authorities.
- Ask the Lord to provide them with a new place to meet so they can continue to encourage one another in the Lord.
- Thank God for the continued growth of the Chinese church. Pray for those who oppose the Gospel.