Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Christians Living in Persecution

Watchman Nee is a name I have seen in Christian literature for many years. After reading several of his quotes, I decided it was time I learned more about him. After all, everything I've read that was attributed to him, is amazingly accurate and insightful. I knew he was a church leader and Christian teacher who worked in China during the 20th century. I learned that during his lifetime he published many books and established churches throughout China and held many conferences to train Bible students and church workers. Following the Communist Revolution, Nee was persecuted and imprisoned for his faith. He spent the last twenty years of his life in prison - until his death in 1972.

When I read of the "Religious Affairs Bureau," I was curious about the title of such a government agency in a Communist country, and did a bit of research on it. This agency was charged with keeping religion under state control. After the rise of the Chinese Communist Party in 1949 Christians came under great persecution. There were intensive propaganda campaigns with threats of prison where Christians were influenced to accuse one another. In 1956, there was a nationwide effort to target church members. Some died in labor camps, and others faced long prison sentences. The Religious Affairs Bureau began twelve days of accusation meetings at a church Ne was sentenced to prison on several false claims, and his co-workers were arrested and forced to denounce Nee. Many mass accusation meetings were held across the country to condemn the "anti-revolutionary sect of Watchman Nee."

The lengths that Communist China underwent to quash Christianity is profoundly sad and frightening. It sure makes one appreciate living in the United States where we are allowed to practice freedom of religion doesn't it?