In a recent survey, 82.1 percent of the respondents said they believe there is much lying and little truth as a whole in China today. They listed the worst liars in this order: government officials, businessmen, and their bosses at work. When they were asked if they themselves told lies, only 30 percent of them said they rarely or never lie. Chinese Christians, just like the non-believers, commonly do not tell the truth and are not transparent in their lives. Even leaders in the church feel it is not necessary to tell the whole truth or volunteer all of the facts. May the Lord change us believers so we can be truly genuine and sincerely pray for each other rather than withholding the truth because of "face" or false spirituality.
In the past it has been the general policy of the government to shut down all house churches or meeting points. If they could not stop the churches from meeting, their policy was to limit the growth by forcing churches to register with the authorities. In many ways these practices have now been relaxed to some extent. Although the decision to register or not to register is no longer debated so much, let us pray for those house churches that have registered and are planning to purchase places for worship or to expand their ministries. May the Lord give them vision and boldness and greatly bless them in all they do.
Chinese Christians who are interested in national and social issues can be categorized into the following groups: Submissive, Low-key, Constructive, and Prophetic. Let us pray for all believers as they follow their consciences and convictions in serving Jesus. Let us not judge one another but pray earnestly that the name of Jesus will be glorified by all Chinese believers.
The Submissive type of Chinese Christian basically accepts the reality of the government's restrictive religious policies and the admonition in the Bible to "submit to those over you". They prefer to be the salt and light under the official rulings. We do not know whether the legal policy toward Christian churches will change in the near future but we need to pray for them as even more Chinese move from atheism to secularism and back to the traditional Buddhism and Taoism.
Some of the Chinese Christians who are Low-key type are from the Three-self government churches and they believe that the hearts of people can be changed by spreading the gospel and that this then will change the nation. Some say that due to prosperity and the weakening of rural churches, the passion for evangelism has waned significantly in China. We pray for the refining fire to go through all of the churches and that the Spirit of God will revive all believers in open and house churches alike.
The Constructive type of Chinese Christians are found mostly in urban churches. They tend to be intellectuals who identify themselves as Western evangelicals who feel that evangelism and social work are equally important. Christianity has long been marginalized in Chinese society. It is our prayer that Christians will know that believers in Jesus care not only about heaven but about the welfare of the people in their communities and live that way.
Most of the Prophetic type of Chinese Christians believes that social problems cannot be corrected by changed hearts but that the value and political systems of the nation must be changed.We have great faith that God has a big plan for China and her churches. We pray that God will continue to grant favor to Christians in the eyes of the officials so the work of the gospel can grow in China.