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.
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary
Even though there seems to be more religious freedom now in China than in the past the political leaders still are fearful of any large movements that could pose a threat to their rule. (I mean an armed threat.) They don’t understand the difference between spiritual and literal talk. When Christians speak of opposing spiritual enemies, they (the Chinese leadership) only hear this in terms of literal opposition to the state.
It was very moving to hear the singing of a familiar hymn while the universal symbol of Christianity was removed from a building. I pray that the Christians there will stand firm in their faith.
In the US we don’t really know what persecution is and I wonder how faithful many Christians would be if confronted with it. Of course, I’m asking myself the same question.
I agree with your statement. It is difficult for many people in our country to think about the problems Christians in China face as they seek to be faithful to Christ. Their singing of a familiar hymn was moving, but very sad. I just could feel the pain in their hearts as they watched the cross being removed from their church.
We must pray for our brothers and sister in China.
Thank you for your comment.
May God strengthen his church and may he use his church in China as a witness to the unbelievers, both in China and around the world. The gates of hell shall not prevail against his church (Matthew 16:18). It is especially moving in the video to realize that the believers were singing the hymn “Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross” by Fanny Crosby.
Christians in China have a very strong faith. They persevere in the midst of persecution.
Thank you for your comment.
China has a special place in my heart. Hudson Taylor is my spiritual hero and I had the opportunity to teach for a summer in China in the early 90’s.
I have never been to China, but I sympathize with Christians in China. I have written several posts dealing with persecution in China and I will continue to follow the situation there.
Thank you for this information.
You might be interested in this article on the Chinese Christian school movement:
Thank you for the article. Here is a quote that highly impressed me:
At Su’s school, teachers use material from Veritas Press in the three grades they’ve started last year. The school follows the classical Christian education model—based on grammar, logic, and rhetoric—because Su believes “if what the Bible says is true, then the only way to change and grow and find truth is through Christ. Then Christian education is the real education.” From a young age, students learn not only Chinese and English, but also biblical Hebrew and Greek so they can better understand the Bible and one day become leaders in seminaries and house churches
Students in the USA are afraid to study Hebrew and Greek. In China they begin early. This is great news.