Christian Persecution in China: Removing the Cross

On July 24, 2014, The New York Times published an article in which it detailed the removal of crosses from Christian churches in China.

Below is an excerpt from the article:

In another sign of the authorities’ efforts to contain one of China’s fastest-growing religions, a government demolition campaign against public symbols of the Christian faith has toppled crosses at two more churches in the coastal province of Zhejiang, according to residents there.

On Monday, public security officials in the city of Wenzhou used a crane and blowtorch to cut loose the red, 10-foot crucifix that had adorned the Longgang Township Gratitude Church, witnesses said. Unlike in previous confrontations between the police and parishioners that have unfolded in recent months, the congregants did not offer resistance.

“We didn’t want to get in a fight with them, but obviously what they did was illegal,” said the Rev. Qu Linuo, a pastor from a nearby church, who was among the crowd of believers who held an overnight vigil before the police arrived.

One of the two crosses that were removed was the cross from the Wenling Church in Taizhou in Zhejiang Province, China. Another cross that was forcibly removed was the cross of the Yahui Church in Pingyang County. In a video of the event, hundreds of Christians are seen singing hymns as the riot police surrounded the church.

Watch the video below and see the cross being removed. In the background you will hear the believers crying and singing a hymn, “Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross.” In their singing, they sing the refrain over and over again:

In the cross, in the cross,
Be my glory ever
Till my raptur’d soul shall find
Rest beyond the river.

The Chinese government hates Christianity because it poses a threat to the communist system in China. Chinese officials can remove the cross from the top of a church, but they cannot remove Christ from the heart of a believer. They can destroy a cross, the symbol of the believer’s faith, but they can never destroy the faith of the believer.

Pray for our Chinese brothers and sisters in Christ. The more than 50 million believers who live in China need the love and encouragement of other believers around the world. I hope you will encourage other believers to watch this video so that they may have a full understanding of the struggle Christians in China face as they live for Christ.

Claude Mariottini
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary

 

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