Authorities Remove the First Commandment

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A digital rendition of the vandalized display. - Photo: Bob Fu
A digital rendition of the vandalized display.
Photo: Bob Fu

While much of the opposition in China is aimed at the country's unregistered churches, the efforts of the government to impose allegiance to the state affects all Christians. The legally registered Three-Self Churches have faced orders to tear down their crosses. They have been forced to instead display the state flag and a photo of President Xi Jinping at the front of their churches. "Core socialist values" are to be integrated into the services as doctrine.

The demand for a primary commitment to the political party took a more blatant and ominous twist in early November when officials in Henan Province conducted a routine inspection of a church in the village of Dongcun. The entire facility was searched before an officer stopped at the pulpit where the Ten Commandments were displayed. He demanded that the first commandment be removed, and then proceeded to wipe it out. The officials chided anyone who complained, stating that "Xi Jinping opposes this statement."

In response to this action, one of the church members complained, "They are trying to corrupt our faith and make us betray God." The government's latest sanctions make it apparent that religious citizens are being mandated to give their allegiance first to the Chinese Communist Party rather than to the Lord who is rightfully referenced in the Bible as the "King of kings" and "Lord of lords."

Pray that the Christians of this government-registered congregation and other Three-Self Churches throughout China will find their strength in Christ as they take a stand and refuse to place any other gods before Him. Also prayerfully uphold the many believers belonging to unregistered churches throughout the country as they faithfully work to support and build up God's Kingdom, despite increased animosity. As believers stand up in the midst of opposition, pray that President Xi Jinping, like King Darius in Daniel 6, will come to the realization that there is only one true God.

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