Communism or Christ - what would your choice be?
If you haven’t already figured it out, the Chinese Communist Party is an enemy of all things we hold dear – God and liberty the chief amongst them. China has not only committed enormous time and money in the area of political and military expansion, but also persecution of minorities and Christians.
Recently, Chinese authorities had removed crosses from more than 250 state-sanctioned churches in Anhui province. “All Christian symbols are ordered to be removed as part of the government’s crackdown campaign,” a provincial employee from Ma’anshan city was quoted as saying. Furthermore, they have also banned youth aged 18 and younger from participating in religious services and demanded that churches remove pictures of Jesus and the Virgin Mary, instead replacing them with President Xi Jinping.
The CCP have also warned elderly Christians that they will lose basic benefits if they don’t stop practicing their faith. According to Bitter Winter, the online magazine which chronicles persecution in China, the CCP is threatening to take away the last means of survival from elderly believers including the government benefits of housing, food, clothing, medical care and funeral expenses. A Catholic from Fuzhou city in the southeastern province of Jiangxi has been receiving roughly $35 per month from the government since 2018 (the year her husband died). However, at the end of 2019, local government officials threatened the woman with the withdrawal of the subsidy unless she removed images of Jesus from her home. It was reported that they said, “Because the Communist Party feeds you, you must only believe in it, not God.” Two months later, the pension was cancelled because she refused to remove the symbols. The woman told Bitter Winter that, “It has become difficult to maintain belief in God because of religious persecution.”
The authorities reportedly ridiculed the woman by saying, “The Chinese Government gives you 160 RMB (about $23). How much money does Jesus Christ give you?” Another man said, “The officials said that I am supposed to believe in the Communist Party since it feeds me, or else all my social benefits would be cancelled. I won’t give up my faith no matter how the government pursues me. If it cancels my benefits, I will meet God earlier.”
Interestingly, the actions of the CCP mirror many of the actions taken by Antiochus IV during his persecution of the Jews (175 to 164BC). The Maccabean record tells us some very interesting things:-
· The Jews were forced to worship Antiochus as a god: And in the day of the king’s birth every month they were brought by bitter constraint to eat of the sacrifices; and when the fast of Bacchus was kept, the Jews were compelled to go in procession to Bacchus (2 Macc 6:7).
· He attempted to stamp out the Jewish faith: And whoso would not conform themselves to the manners of the Gentiles should be put to death (2 Macc 6:9).
· Any Jews who defied the decrees and continued to worship God paid a heavy price: For there were two women brought, who had circumcised their children; whom when they had openly led round about the city, the babes hanging at their breasts, they cast them down headlong from the wall. And others, that had run together into caves nearby, to keep the Sabbath day secretly being discovered by Philip, were all burned together (2 Macc 6:10).
Please be praying for the believers of China – particularly during this period of increased trouble.