China is NOT Trying to Make Christianity More Chinese (Part 3)

Last week, on the outskirts of the city of Ningbo, a Chinese underground house church pastor that goes by the name Amos (not his real name), shared the details of Beijing’s Five Year Plan to change Christianity.

Pastor Amos is a pastor of an urban underground house church network with about 150,000 members. It is one of the largest urban networks in all of China. Unlike most pastors in the underground house church however, he is also a pastor in the government sanctioned Three-Self church.

Pastor Amos is taking a huge risk to share the information that he makes available in this article.

Pastor Amos is a known Christian. He’s a part of the local leadership for the government’s Three-Self church and in this FOUR PART SERIES reveals the Chinese government’s FIVE YEAR PLAN to Chinanize Christianity, but, unlike the name suggests, that effort is NOT to make it more Chinese, the plan is to make Christianity more Communist.

China might be a Communist nation, but Chinese and Communist are not the same thing.

The Chinese have a long rich history of language, poetry, culture and customs that stretches back several thousand years. Few nations on earth are as old as China. In contrast, Communism in China can only be traced back less than 100 years.

China has launched an aggressive policy, officially named Zhongguo Hua (中国化) against the house church that directly opposes past policies of “mutual adaptation” and “harmonious society.”

The English translation of “Zhongguo Hua” that is used by the Chinese government and repeated in Western media is “Sinicization,” or “Chinanization” but this is wildly inaccurate and purposefully misleading.

Sinicization means to make something more Chinese or to assimilate something (or someone) into Chinese culture, like language, customs, culture, etc. However, the primary goal of Zhongguo Hua is not cultural assimilation but political control—to ensure submission of Christianity to the Communist Party.

China’s five year plan is not to make Christianity more Chinese, but to make it more Communist.

The first phase of the FIVE YEAR PLAN has already taken place and is covered in PART 1 and 2 of this series.

The next part of China’s plan is to force all believers to swear credence to the One Church of China. It is called the One Church of China because the effort is to bring all of the five main religions including Buddhism, Daoism, Islam, Catholicism, and Protestant Christianity, under the structure of one entity that would all put state above faith.

New laws in China labeled as Regulations of Religious Affairs came into effect in 2018. Since then, massive raids against underground churches have been conducted all over China. The new laws demanded all churches to dissolve unless they register with the government and submit to the new rule of China’s One Church Policy. Christians who did not submit to the new policies were punished, fined, physically harassed, given travel restrictions, evicted from their homes, arrested and served prison terms.

“We are taught to pledge allegiance to country before Christ,” Pastor Amos points out. “Churches are told to take down the cross from their buildings and hoist the Chinese national flag, place Communist propaganda at the front of the sanctuary inside instead of the cross and official pastors are now coming from the ranks of the Communist Party (who swear an oath of atheism for membership).”

The attempt to make Christianity a tool of Communism is not new. When the Soviet Union was not gaining traction in South America, the strong roots of Christianity were to blame. After decades of defeat, the Soviets came to the same conclusion as the Chinese have come to now – ‘if you can’t beat them – join them.’

Liberation Theology was developed to bring the South American Christians under the power of Communist regimes. In simple terms, Liberation Theology is basically a Marxist attempt to completely overhaul Christian thought by reinterpreting the Bible, teachings, and understanding of the life of Christ.

Like China’s Zhongguo Hua initiative, Liberation Theology was sold as “shared efforts to abolish the current unjust situation and to build a different society, freer and more human.”

Liberation Theologians intergrated large portions of Marxism and even used the Chinese term “Cultural Revolution,” when writing, “To conceive of history as a process of human liberation is to consider freedom as a historical conquest; it is to understand that the step from an abstract to a real freedom is not taken without a struggle against all the forces that oppress humankind . . . The goal is not only better living conditions, a radical change of structures, a social revolution; it is much more: the continuous creation, never ending of a new way to be human, a permanent cultural revolution.

Liberation theology did exactly what it was supposed to do, which led to the radicalization of Marxist groups in South America which promoted Communism over Christianity. The long term efforts, however, failed.

According to the official written plan, found on the government website:

“The sinification of Christianity is not only an objective requirement for the Chinese church‘s own development, but also the expectation of the Party and government. In recent years, the Party and government repeatedly emphasized the importance of doing religious work well, and that the Party’s basic directives on religious work should be implements, persisting in orienting towards the Sinification of religions in China, and actively guiding the adaption of religion and socialist society. In this historic time when socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered a new era, advancing the Sinification of Christianity, continuously strengthening conscientious identification with contemporary China in terms of politics, conscientious integration in terms of culture, and conscientious adaptation in terms society; establishing deep bonds of kinship with the Chinese people, sharing in the joys and sorrows of the motherland, and feeling common cause with the people; and contributing to the achievement of the “Two Centenary Goals” and the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation and China dream; have already become the consensus of Chinese Christianity.”

Pastor Amos’ warns that these efforts will impact the church of China and more persecution is likely to follow for those who do not get on board.

Dr. Eugene Bach is a known trouble-maker with an active imagination and sinful past. He has a PhD, but is not a real doctor, so please do not call for him during a medical emergency on an airplane when someone is having a heart attack. Eugene started working for Back to Jerusalem in the year 2000 after a backroom deal involving Chinese spies, the NRA, Swiss bankers, and a small group of Apostolic Christians that only baptize in Jesus’ name. He spends most of his time in closed countries attempting to topple governments by proclaiming the name of Jesus and not taking showers. From time-to-time he pretends to be a writer. He is not good at it, but everyone around him tries to humor him.

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