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Jesus Number One in China


January 12, 2006

Jesus Number One in China --Gary Lane

China observers were surprised this week when they learned a Chinese government religious affairs official estimated the number of Christians in China at 130 million. Up until now, the best guess was about 50 to 80 million Protestants, 20 million Catholics.

This revelation is significant because Chinese government officials have always purposefully underestimated the number of Christians in their country. The highest official figure they gave was about 50 million. The 130 million figure stated by Yie Xiaowen, director of the Chinese State Administration for Religious Affairs suggests the government finally acknowledges the number is considerably higher.

More important, this indicates government efforts to slow or stop the spread of Christianity have failed. Public Security Bureau officers and other government officials don’t seem to understand that “the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church;” the more they try to destroy the church, the more it flourishes. Countless stories have been told about police welding shut the doors of underground church meeting places. They fail to realize the church is not the building. They may close the meeting place of a church group of 50 to 100 people, only to discover later that the church has spread to five or six new meeting places of say, 30 people each.

Several years ago when I met house church pioneer Samuel Lamb (he spent more than 20 years in prison for his unregistered church activities) he told me, “Persecution is good for the church!” Why? I asked. He explained, “When I was first arrested, my house church numbered about 200 people. After I was released, I learned the church had grown to 900 members.” He went on to explain the PSB raided the church because government officials felt it had grown too large to tolerate. Church property was confiscated and the church was closed.

“After the confiscation, the church had grown to 2,000 members!” he said.

That’s exactly what is happening in China today. When one unregistered church is shut down, four or five more are born as a result.

Why not register their churches with the government? One missionary to China recently explained the Chinese Communist Party insists the state is number one. Chinese Christians disagree. They say Jesus is number one--He, not the government is the head of the church. The Bible tells us no one can serve two masters. “Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.” (Matt 6:24)

Over the years whenever he has met with Chinese government leaders, Christian Broadcasting Network Founder and CEO, Pat Robertson has explained that Christians pose no threat to the country--they are good, moral, law-abiding citizens who pray regularly for their country and government officials.

Let’s follow their example and pray for the leaders of China. Pray for their salvation. Pray they will come to acknowledge Jesus as number one!

To learn more about the persecution of Christians in China, visit China Aid by clicking here:


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