Christianity Growing in China

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BEIJING - President Bush is encouraging China once again to allow greater religious freedom.

While China does allow Christians to meet in its official state church, many believers are still forced to meet underground.

Be sure to listen to Pat Robertson's comments following CBN News Reporter George Thomas' report.

President Bush attended church in Beijing Sunday, where he said he felt great joy during the service.

"It just goes to show that God is universal, and God is love, and no state, man or woman should fear the influence of loving religion," the President said.

These words, spoken at state-sponsored Three Self Church, reinforce the President's concerns of China's freedoms and human rights.

Although members of China's Three Self Churches can worship openly, millions of other Christians worship in house churches, beyond the government's watchful eye.

But both the Three Self and house churches are growing at a staggering rate.

Thousands of people have come to Beijing's Kanjie church today, but they didn't come to get a glimpse of President Bush. Like millions of other Chinese believers, they came to worship.

Across town, more than 2,000 people flooded into Beijing's Haidian church for one of their six Sunday services.

The pastor here says church attendance has more than doubled since last May.

"I believe because of those things, because of the Holy Spirit working in the church, because the congregation wants to know Jesus more, all of this works together to double the number," Pastor Wu Weiqing said.

Pastor Wu says that the government is already recognizing the positive contributions Christians are making in society.

"The Chinese government has recognized Christians as a positive power in the construction of harmonious society, so that is very important and significant because we as Christians have ever since become a positive power in the construction of this country," he said.

But many house church Christians are still not seen in the same positive light. President Bush says that recognizing all of these believers will strengthen China.

"This trip has reaffirmed my belief that men and women who desire to speak their conscience and worship their God are no threat to the future of China," Bush said in a radio address.

"They are the people who will make China a great nation in the 21st Century."

*Original broadcast August 12, 2008

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Laura Robertson and George Thomas

Laura Robertson and George Thomas

CBN News Senior Reporter

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