Pastors in China report that they’ve been forced to integrate President Xi Jinping’s words into the biblical account of Jesus feeding the five thousand as the Chinese Communist Party increasingly pressures church leaders to infuse their sermons with political ideology.
According to the Italian-based magazine Bitter Winter, the CCP has continued to use the novel coronavirus pandemic to further control and politicize religions.
In September, the Two Chinese Christian Councils of Quanzhou, a prefecture-level city in Fujian’s southeastern province, demanded all Three-Self churches integrate President Xi’s ideas on curbing food waste into their sermons, so that “the policy reaches everyone in society.”
To implement the order, some pastors integrated the leader’s words into the biblical story about Jesus feeding five thousand people with five loaves and two fish.
In the spring, officials also ordered the pastor of a church in Shengzhou, a county-level city in the eastern province of Zhejiang, to preach to the congregation that Americans brought COVID-19 to China.
A pastor from another Three-Self church in Shengzhou revealed that government officials increasingly supervise pastors’ sermons. This makes clergy members increasingly anxious, he said, as the CCP has threatened to close religious venues that refuse to comply with their demands.
“This is how the government sinicizes Christianity,” a Shengzhou pastor commented.
In August, the Two Chinese Christian Councils in the central province of Henan issued the “Notice on Organizing and Launching Peace Prayer Activities to Commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the Victory of the Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression and the World’s Anti-Fascist War.”
The notices required churches across Henan to “organize commemorative activities in churches, deliver themed sermons, hold seminars, visit war memorials, and pay tribute to China’s revolutionary martyrs,” according to Bitter Winter.
China is ranked number 23 on Pesercution Watchdog, Open Door 2020 list of top 50 countries where it is most deadly to be a christian.
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