As the world celebrates Easter, the country experiencing the fastest growth in the number of practicing Christians might surprise you.
The country where the Christianity is reportedly being “resurrected” is China.
Government leaders may not be happy about the projection that China might become the largest Christian country in the world, causing some believers to worship in underground or house churches to avoid official scrutiny.
Communist dictatorships usually prioritize stamping out any kind of religion, but things have rapidly changed as China has become a global economic superpower. “Officially, the People’s Republic of China is an atheist country but that is changing fast as many of its 1.3 billion citizens seek meaning and spiritual comfort that neither communism nor capitalism seem to have supplied. Christian congregations in particular have skyrocketed since churches began reopening when Chairman Mao’s death in 1976 signaled the end of the Cultural Revolution. Less than four decades later, some believe China is now poised to become not just the world’s number one economy but also its most numerous Christian nation.”
According to Perdue University Professor Fenggang Yang, by the year 2030, China’s Christian population (including Catholics and Protestants) could reach about 250 million “placing it above Mexico, Brazil, and the United States as the largest Christian congregation in the world.”
Although China recognizes freedom of religion at least to an extent, the Communist Party frowns on its members practicing any religious beliefs.
During this period of exponential growth among those who follow the teachings of Jesus, Chinese officials have denied trying to demolish churches in the eastern part of the vast country such as in Zhejiang province. Many Christians have camped out around the churches to prevent any teardowns that may have been planned.
Communist Party officials are also trying to sort out how the massive growth of Christian congregations and adherents will affect their continuing grip on political power.
Added: According to National Review, “It’s important to keep in mind, however, that new Chinese Christians are forced to live out their faith in a hostile environment. Though the government does not ban the Christian faith outright, it attempts to strangle it through official, government-sponsored churches, church-activity restrictions, prohibiting the printing of Bibles, monitoring the activities of religious leaders, and tearing down church buildings and crosses. Routinely, Christians are imprisoned, tortured, and killed for handing out religious tracts, founding house churches, speaking out against forced abortion, and even criticizing the government.”
Does the expansion of the Christian faith and churchgoers in China surprise you?
[image credit: faungg]