Some Christians living in China are suffering a new wave of persecution. I have just learned from a source in China that WORLD magazine is one of the publications monitored by Chinese authorities.
We don't know the results of such monitoring. But we treasure all of our readers. So I have a few words to say to the officer reading this column.
Sir or madam, with all respect, I urge you to stop playing your part in the persecution of Christians. If you identify, through any of your sources, any possible Christians, please do not mention them to your superiors. Just let them go.
Christians are good citizens. Their Bible tells them to obey their rulers and to pray for those in authority. Their Lord, Jesus Christ, tells them to love their enemies and to pray for those who persecute them. That means, sir or madam, that despite your efforts to harm them, they are praying for you and they love you.
Also, realize that your efforts are counterproductive. Your attempts to stamp out the church are only making it stronger. Your efforts to punish Christians will only result in more of them.
When you read WORLD magazine, you must think that the churches in the United States are thriving and powerful. But they are really not. Many Americans attend church because, unlike in your country, it is socially expected. Therefore, some church members do not have strong beliefs. There is no cost, no danger in being a member of a church. If there were, if our government threw Christians in prison as you do, these members would likely quit their churches at once.
Some Americans even have the idea that the way to make their congregations grow is to make Christianity less demanding. And yet, despite such efforts, the number of Christians in America over the last few decades has hardly grown at all. But in China, as you know, the number of Christians is rising exponentially. This is because God's way of growing the church is through hardship and trial.
In China, where a profession of faith can mean loss of one's job, imprisonment, beating, and torture, only true Christians with a genuine faith risk going to church. That faith is so real that it attracts the attention of others. And in that climate the Holy Spirit is at work in a powerful way.
Surely, sir or madam, you are curious about why these people you are spying upon continue in these beliefs, despite all you can do to them. The reason is that they have found a reality beyond the state, beyond economics, beyond this material world. They have come to know that God has come as a human being in Jesus Christ. He too was arrested, tortured, and killed by His government. But after three days, He rose from the dead.
In His death, he bore the punishment that evildoers deserve and gives them His righteousness. He forgives and offers a joyous life after death. Through Christ, God the Father grants salvation, and the Holy Spirit gives those who believe a new life.
Sir or madam, Jesus Christ can do this for you. Your sins, including that of betraying His followers, will earn you a horrible judgment after death. Yet, He offers you free forgiveness. He can give you a new life. Trust Him. Pray to Him.
Contact some of those Christians you have been tracking. They will tell you more about Jesus. Despite your role in persecuting them, they will eagerly welcome you. You know who they are. And they will keep your secret.