The Chinese state linked Three-Self Church recently held a training session for pastors on how to integrate the major points of President Xi Jingping’s speech celebrating the centennial anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) on July 1.
According to the human rights watch magazine Bitter Winter, the Three-Self Patriotic Movement, along with the China Christian Council, which supervises education within the Three-Self churches, organized a national conference on July 8 to train the church’s leaders on how to integrate the messages from Xi’s centennial speech.
Church leaders were told that they were “expected” to incorporate Xi’s key messages into sermons, Bible studies, and their own personal study.
Those who failed to do so would be considered to be inadequately “sinicized.” Sinicization is the approach the CCP has taken to integrate the party’s messages with religion and thus provide churches with a means of remaining in operation while also kowtowing to the authoritarian regime — so as to give the (very flimsy) impression of something vaguely resembling religious freedom.
Chairman Wu Wei of the China Christian Council told conference attendees to tell their congregants that “the Chinese Communist Party has never changed its original intention to put the people first, establish an extensive patriotic united front, unite the citizens’ hearts, gather strength, and continue to explore and innovate.”
Pastors were also instructed to lead worshipers in “thanking God for putting us in this great era” and “continuing to learn the spirit of General Secretary Xi’s speech.”
Among the nine points from Xi’s speech that church leaders must integrate into their church services were instructions to use the following slogans:
As the CCP tightens the grip of its authoritarian control over the Chinese people, they have simultaneously amped up propaganda promoting the glories of the human rights the regime has long failed to actually provide to their people.
Instead of religious liberty, the decidedly atheistic state has begun to invite churches to simply adapt their party rhetoric into their worship services and happily survive — or reject such messages and face persecution or imprisonment.
“Rather than shuttering churches and throwing clergy and lippy laypeople in jail as Mao did, Xi Jinping’s CCP found a way of locking the Church and other religions in more tightly with the state and called it Sinicization,” the Union of Catholic Asia News explained last year.
The CCP has a legion of wolves dressed in sheep’s clothing to promote their message, and it chills the blood to think of how many churches in the United States — by their own entirely free will, granted — are also integrating the rhetoric and immorality of secular progressivism into Christian doctrine instead of rejecting Christianity outright.
There has never been a more urgent imperative to pray for biblical Christians living in China — nor to strengthen our own theology and understanding of authentic, biblical Christianity here at home.