CHENGDU, China — Members of a house church in China recently took the gospel to the streets after the government shut down their unregistered church, video footage reveals.
A video shared on Sunday by Christopher Gregory of the organization China Missions shows Christians gathering in the public park to sing, preach and pray. Sometimes they walk the sidewalks, playing musical instruments and happily singing praises to God, such as “Nothing But the Blood of Jesus,” and sometimes they gather around to hear the preaching of the word.
Some clips show a church leader holding his Bible in one hand and a microphone in the other, as another man holds a speaker above his head for amplification. Other clips show members praying aloud in the park, sometimes stationary, and sometimes as they walk along in the open air.
View the video below and by clicking here.
Gregory told Christian News Network that the church held both the morning and evening service outside on Sunday, and the pastor was arrested afterward, but is now free.
“The local authorities shut down a house church in Chengdu last week, so they thought that was the end of it—it wasn’t,” Gregory shared on social media. “The people took the gospel to the streets and have started church services in the parks while the authorities looked on in bewilderment not knowing what to do.”
“For the first time, people throughout China are saying ‘NO!’ to what the Communist party wants—control,” he outlined. “Control over what they can do, what they can believe, where they can go, what they can say. It’s yet another sign something is beginning to take shape here in China, the call for democracy! The call for freedom!”
The video, which has been viewed over 43,000 times, has served as a convicting and humbling reminder to those in the West.
“It’s truly amazing how courageous the Chinese Church is willing to defy the government and preach the gospel, knowing they could be killed for it, while the American Church is too afraid to stand up to its persecutors, and instead conforms to the world,” one viewer wrote.
“Persecution has only brought Church growth to [the] Chinese Church. Glory to God,” another marveled.
“Praise God. You cannot limit God! Close him down, He goes BIGGER outside the 4 walls!” a third exclaimed.
According to the organization China Aid, churches in China who wish to gather for worship must register with the Three-Self Patriotic Movement, the only officially authorized Protestant Church in China, and even then, they are only allowed to hold gatherings in buildings that are operated by the government.
“Because most of these churches are instructed to teach loyalty to the Communist Party and the Chinese State and often teach propaganda over the actual tenets of these faiths, many faithful religious adherents choose to meet outside of the official religious system, in groups known as house churches or underground churches,” China Aid explains.
However, it is illegal to operate a church outside of registering with the Three-Self Movement, and those that do so are often subject to detainment, arrest or imprisonment. Enforcement varies from province to province.
Many churches have also been raided by government officials and/or the crosses have been torn down from their buildings. Some have been placed under government surveillance or shut out of their buildings altogether.
“The government is trying to silence anything relating to Christianity due to the rise of those who claim Christianity as their faith. China is facing inward resistance and they see this growth of believers as a sign of losing their grip on its society,” Gregory explained.
“Pray for China,” he exhorted. “Pray for every church in China, both State-sanctioned as well as unregistered (house church). But pray for change here, pray that the gospel reaches into men’s hearts so that real change can come, then we’ll see a revival in China.”