Preaching Christ in China: The difference between Martyrdom and Suicide is that the Martyr will gladly die for his faith, if that is the lot that befalls him; whilst a suicide takes matters into his own hands. The early Christian church had to stop people from seeking martyrdom. It is a contradiction in terms. When one lives in China and encounters Christianity everyday, one finds it hard to believe that there is a necessity to have Christian Martyrs in China. The Roman Catholic Priests at Chibi City (PuQi) totally surprised me with their 'Protestant Evangelistic' type approach to God and Humanity. One protestant group I literally discovered by accident, panicked when they saw me enter their little church. They got rid of me and my minders very quickly, which made me wonder if they were perhaps illegal. I don't know.
In the West we often read about how Christianity is oppressed in China. This article brings one such report to your attention, and then questions the validity of the belief that Christians are actually oppressed.
I've just read the article from Christian Newswire entitled: House Church Closed in Anhui, Xinjiang - Christians Suffer in Jail and I found several points within the article extremely interesting.
I want to state at the outset that this article is not meant as a criticism of either the Chinese Government or the Christians arrested. What I write comes from my personal experience and personal knowledge of China
The first point that interested me was the statement that these people were being told where to worship.
the local government of Tongling City, Anhui Province is taking administrative measures that interfere with the religious affairs of Christians by forcing them to join the Three-Self Church.
November 26, 2006 The church leaders were told to worship in the local Three-Self Church.
I thought this extremely interesting because it is a deviation from the perceived policy of considering underground Christians to be something other than Christians. In this case, they were basically being told to become "legitimate". When you think of the incident at 'Waco' all those years ago, you might begin to understand the concern of the Government over what exactly goes on in these illegal churches. And given some of the Messianic cults that existed in China a century ago, one could hardly blame them.
I've had this argument before with people, who maintain that only the underground churches are 'true christians'. The rest are so controlled by the Government that they are denied the right to preach the 'Gospel Truth'. There is no denying that the Communist party has a foot in the door of every official organisation including the Muslim, the Christian and the Buddhist. But one has to ask whether it is paranoia or fact, that the Government interfers with the doctrinal teaching of Christians or others.
My experience of Christians in China is limited when it comes to actual churches, although I have met people who wanted to talk about Christianity with me, who have indicated that they belong to underground churches. It does not take too much research on the History of Christendom to understand the theological and doctrinal problems that arise when each group is off on it's own so to speak. FOOTNOTE: Research the Council of Nicea 325 A.D.
The Roman Catholic Priests at Chibi City (PuQi) totally surprised me with their 'Protestant Evangelistic' type approach to God and Humanity. One protestant group I literally discovered by accident, panicked when they saw me enter their little church. They got rid of me and my minders very quickly, which made me wonder if they were perhaps illegal. I don't know.
Students here have no problem revealing their religious faith, and I remember one class where most students were either Catholic or Protestant. It surprised me.
What I fail to understand is why there is a need for underground churches in today's China. Now I know that we westerners don't believe anything that the Chinese government says or what we find in Chinese newspapers, but if you believe what you read, you can actually find that different underground churches have vastly different theologies, that on at least one occasion led to one neighbour murdering another.
Another statement in the Christian Newswire article stated:
In order to exert more pressure on Brother Wang, his daughter’s work unit stopped paying her salary, and has threatened to fire her unless she sets an example for other Christians by joining the local Three-Self Church.
Another brother under threat of losing his job was coerced to resign from the church.
Government interference notwithstanding, what one may fail to understand, is that every facet of a Chinese person's life is controlled. This is because each new employer must have your personal file. When you leave one job, your file goes to the new employer. There is total continuity in possessing your most personal details. The issue of Christianity aside, any employer is capable of blackmailing an employee, either from self motivation or at the insistence of someone putting pressure on that employer.
I said 'Christianity aside', because I am aware of the story concerning a young man whose workmate discovered him looking at gay photos on the web. That workmate then tried to blackmail him, and when he could not pay up, the young man was reported to his boss and he was then fired. Not only that, but his parents were informed, and he was disowned. Such is the power of the Boss.
My point is simply that putting the 'Anti-Christian' tag onto the actions, does not come anywhere near close to understanding the dynamics of life in China. You must also remember that all officials everywhere are members of the Party.
The next statement of interest said:
December 5, 2006 upon the request of the Christians, the government held a hearing in which the Religious Affair Bureau’s decision to close the church was upheld.
Maybe we are unhappy about what has happened, but if you look at what is written here, you immediately note the vast improvement in the way 'offenders' and complainants are treated. We might wish to cry foul, but if something is against the law, how can we expect any other outcome in the court's decision making process.
There was a statement in the article about the Tongling government’s interference with religious affairs which contravenes the concept of religious freedom that is stipulated in the Chinese Constitution and International Laws. Well I don't know anything about the International Law side of things, but when it comes to the constitution of China, everything in that constitution is covered by a 'catch all' that protects society at large.
In the West, we demand 'My personal' human rights, but in China, personal human rights take a back seat to the overall 'rights' of society. Unless I am mistaken, in America, many people are already complaining about the effects on society as a whole, because of the incessant demands of individuals and groups for their particular preferentially treated human rights.
The article also related a story about four brothers who were tortured by other prisoners under instructions from the police officers in charge of the detention centre. Once again, whilst we might want to put the 'Anti-Christian' tag onto this event, the reality is that every organisation has abusers, and every prisoner is at the mercy of the system and those who run it.
I have never in 4 years heard any 'anti-Christian' propaganda from anyone at any time, but I have heard a lot against America. While the torture undoubtedly derives from the inhumane spirit of certain people with power, I find it strange that the torture was initiated 'because you are a Christian'. Christianity and religion in general is the norm, not the exception. Tolerance at the very least is respectfully given by the common Chinese person.
When I read of Brother Tan’s experience in a cell with homosexual prisoners, I have to admit that I had a chuckle. Without prejudice to issues of a sexual nature, I immediately wondered what would happen in the USA or Australia, if a prisoner complained about being in the same cell with a homosexual. Had a Christian minister in the USA made this complaint, everyone would have laughed. Then again, if a Christian minister was in a cell with a homosexual, he (the minister) probably would have taken the time to convert him.
That complaint together with the next, are the issues that really intrigued me.
“It is totally intolerable to treat a sixty-year old man like that!” said Bob Fu, President of CAA.
If there is one thing I know about Chinese people, it is that they will say and do anything to get their own way (They are almost western like that), and will make any complaint to "pay people back" if their nose is out of joint.
Sometime ago I wrote an article about 'bad language' in the classroom in China. Often, students use really 'foul language' in English, not because they mean to, but because they don't pronounce words correctly. As a minor example that I think will be acceptable to the Christians among you, one teacher told me that she told her students to 'Open your Arse!". Arse is the Australian and British way of saying 'Ass' (Fanny). Of course she was really only saying 'Eyes!'
Anyway, the other week I got into trouble for speaking 'dirty' language in the classroom. Two students had made a complaint against me. I hit the roof! You see, I have always explained to students what they have said and it's meaning, because it is the only way to make sure that they learn the correct vowel sounds. My use of this language is not new. So why the complaint?
Well, we had just done exams, and the students had six weeks earlier been informed of exactly which text would be used for the exam, and exactly how the exam would be conducted. Many students failed it. This in itself was not the problem. There were four tests, and normally, for each failed test, I alter the mark to the pass rate of 60%. This way, students can end up with a 65-70% average, even though they failed a test or two.
For this exam however, I let all true marks stand, and then if the average for all exams was lower than 60%, I raised the mark to a basic pass. Many students results took a dramatic dive; and that's when the complaints were made. The actual complaint was, "He offends our Chinese feelings!"
Chinese complaining is a tactic in a chess game. So the complaints about the homosexual cell mate and the man's age, are just small parts of an overall strategy with which even westerners are becoming all too familiar.
The final point raised, concerns the location of the events listed in the story.
“We appeal to the Xinjiang government to investigate this event and punish the people involved in detaining and abusing these Christians.”
XinJiang is Muslim territory! It is now populated with Han Chinese who have been paid to go live and work there. Call me cynical if you must, but I can't help wondering if the real issue here isn't about some Local people wanting to get rid of, not only of the Han Chinese, but a foreign religion. That is not meant as a slight against Muslims, for in fact I have many Xinjiang friends, but 'greasing the wheel' is common practice in China, and a greased palm could solve a lot of problems if for instance you had (Han Chinese) foreigners trying to convert your kids to another religion. It is only a matter of finding the right palm to grease. (Xinjiang is one of the places in which I am looking to find work in 2007.)
When I read the article, I was amazed that government officials were encouraging these undergound Christians to join up with an official church. Such kindness I think, is extraordinary. What befell them afterward of course, was probably a failure to follow the Chinese custom of 'making suggestions'. In Chinese custom, making a suggestion is not the same as the western 'offering an opinion'. Maybe they should have followed the official suggestion.
I do support the concept of religious freedom, and I am against the use of torture, and false imprisonment. Nevertheless, I do support the rule of law, and in this case, you have people who prefer to hold illegal meetings rather than become part of the legal church. And while I admire Christian groups for rallying in support of those they believe to be in need of support, I would find it hypocritical of non Christians to be condemning China for failing to grant 'open door' religious freedom to the Chinese, when everything in western society is aimed at denying the most basic of religious freedoms to Christians, amongst which would be praying at school, holding bible studies, or even as it now appears in England, removing Christmas decorations from public places because non Christians might be offended.
Personally I think the Chinese concept of Societal rights over personal rights, is the only way to have and keep a harmonious society. There is religious freedom in China, why make of yourself a martyr? Or is that the point?
My closing remarks are these:
There is only one legitimate reason to have an illegal church, and that is if there is no legal church within reasonable travelling distance.
If you really think the Government is Anti-Christian, and remembering that school officials are communists, how is it that foreigners can talk to Chinese students about Jesus? How can some foreign teachers boast of their preaching to the kids and holding Bible studies? And why is it that for a long time, every Thursday morning when I got to class, I had to wipe off all the Bible stories and references from the Blackboard?
Given the history of China, I don't think it surprising that the Government wants to keep tabs on what is going on in China, and I personally think that they could care less about the 'religious' aspects of unregistered house meetings. The thing we fear most, is the unknown!
I certainly would welcome correction of my views from those with practical experience of how the Government hinders correct theological teaching. But I doubt that I am likely to receive anything other than hearsay.
Still, one can hope!
Note: The Article entitled: Sheep Stealing in China published January 20th provides some justification for some remarks made in this article.
(...chinadaily.com.cn) Sacked Beijing vice mayor expelled from Party
"We will continue to step up our anti-corruption efforts and punish those who violate laws and regulations to safeguard the purity of our party," said Gan Yisheng, secretary-general of the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.
In 2005, 115,000 party members received disciplinary punishment, accounting for 0.16 percent of the party's total.
Among them, 11,071 had been expelled from the party, of which 7,279 had been transferred to the judicial authorities for criminal investigations.
Canadian Philosophy Professor at Beijing's elite Qinghua University, Daniel Bell.
He champions as an alternative to liberal democracy, re-emergent Confucianism, that he sees embodied in the new Chinese leadership of Asia, encapsulated in Hu Jintao's relentless slogan about building a "harmonious socialist society."
Hong Kong's Home Affairs Secretary Patrick Ho said recently that while "the West has promulgated what it describes as the 'universal values' of individual rights... we in the East have consistently stressed collective rights and responsibilities... strong family ties, resilient social structures, and closely knitted community life."
The years of Christian persecution came to an end in 313 CE. Emperor Constantine (289-337 CE) issued the Edict of Milan which formally established freedom and toleration for Christianity. Jews lost many rights with this edict.
There was no single individual who spoke for all of Christianity. The only way in which the Church could resolve matters of belief and practice was to have all of the bishops assemble at a council to debate and vote. The first such meeting was the Council of Nicea, held in Asia Minor (now Turkey) during 325 CE. Only 318 bishops out of the approximately 1,800 Christian bishops then in existence attended.
For those who wonder about Chinese Bibles.
Chinese-English Parallel Version. Easy to Read Version.
Where were these PC (expletive) when I and others were writing years ago about the Syrian crisis? Did they care about the Syrian people? No they didn’t! Do these same sociopathic western political activists who would call me a racist support Muslim and other cultures similar practices such as female circumcision? – polygamy? – arranged marriages? No they don’t! They outlaw it! So don’t talk to me about how I am a racist!
I do apologize for the singing – mine – and by way of explanation, the reason that you hear me saying ‘hello’ (twice) is that a man told his son to say hello and when I decided to say ‘hello’ a lady walking passed me thought I had said it to her and so she also greeted me with ‘hello!’
Everyone is so concerned to be politically correct and so worried about being perceived racist, that they fail to see that in fact the true racists with the truly incorrect political agenda are the ones pointing the finger and doing the name calling. (In psychology it would be called reaction formation; the suppression of one impulse by the promotion of a counter impulse.)
Ambassador (Retired) Yoram Ettinger has produced a mini-seminar video on United States, Israel and Middle East Policy and Security, and the seminar has also been produced as a series of separate Six Minute Videos, some of which have appeared embedded in their text format published here at Kingscalendar. Below is provided for you the links to The YouTube 6 minute video series
Having met up with my pen friend we went ‘somewhere’ and there was this big open paved garden type area and there were platforms going nowhere which you ascended by climbing stairs. Through the middle of the paved courtyard-garden ran a little pond. I was fully aware of its existence but so focused was I on taking a good photo that I was walking while looking through the viewfinder of the camera. I fell straight into the pond.
The point in providing these videos on behalf of the Clarion Project is to hopefully assist in getting the word out that the extreme liberal progressive ideology does not represent REALITY when dealing with the politically motivated fundamentalist Islamist plan.
Since 2004 he has been writing academic articles, social commentaries and photographic 'Stories from China' both here at KingsCalendar, and formerly as a contributing columnist at Magic City Morning Star News (Maine USA) where from 2009 to 2015 he was Stand-in Editor. He currently has a column at iPatriot.com and teaches English to Business English and Flight Attendant College Students in Suzhou City Jiangsu Province People's Republic of China.)
BenDedek originally created the site to publicize his research results into the Chronology of Ancient Israel. Those results were published under the title: 'The King's Calendar: The Secret of Qumran.' Whilst there have been many attempts to solve the chronological riddle of the Bible's synchronisms of reigns of the kings of Israel and Judah and their synchronism with other Ancient Near Eastern Nations, no other research is based on a simple mathematical formula which could, if it is incorrect, be disproved easily. To date, no one has been able to dismiss the mathematical results of this research.
Free to air Academic articles set forth Apologetics for and results of his discovery of an "artificial chronological scheme" running through the Bible, Josephus, the Damascus Documents of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and Seder Olam Rabbah. Check the Chapter Precis Page to see details of each chapter and to gain access to the Four Free to Air Chapters
(The Download book does not contain a section on Seder Olam)
Definition: King's Calendar Chronological Research
The Premise: Between the 5th and 3rd centuries BCE (but continuing down to at least 104 BCE), Sectarian redactors transcribed the legitimate 'solar year' chronological records of Israel and Judah, into an artificial form, with listed years as each comprised of 12 months of 4 weeks of 7 days, or 336 days per year, thus creating a 13th artificial year where 12 solar years existed.
When the Synchronous Chronological Data provided in the Books of Kings and Chronicles for the Divided Kingdom Period are measured in years of 336 days, the synchronisms actually align. [Refer to Appendix 5. to see how it synchronises the Divided Kingdom Period]