二○一八十年十一月十日／十一月十一日 Click here for English version
How Should HK Christians Respond to the Suppression of Faith on the Mainland?
Rev Gordon Siu
News has come from some Mainland provinces and cities that churches are being suppressed: house churches had been closed, the crosses of open churches destroyed and pastors’ qualifications re-assessed by state criteria. Sermon content is strictly regulated. Only part of the sermon can cover faith. The rest must deal with Chinese culture, socialist core values, the Mainland's revised regulations on religious affairs, etc. Some believers face pressure at their workplace, and are forced to sign papers denouncing their faith or otherwise risk losing certain social security benefits or their job …
Although Hong Kong Christians are not subject to similar treatment, they must never look at the troubles with indifference. Paul has said, "Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering" (Hebrews 13:3). Moreover, we are connected with those brothers and sisters ethnically. Today, thanks be to God, we are not subject to the same suppression. But isn't this to let us, amid all our freedom and stability, care for and support our Mainland brothers and sisters? In the Old Testament, Mordecai has exhorted Esther, "Do not think that because you are in the king's house you alone of all the Jews will escape."
We can care for and support Mainland believers with the various opportunities and connections bestowed by God. We can contact and encourage the affected pastors and believers. Through some righteous channels, we can help the Government carry out the religious freedom policy stipulated in the Constitution. We can also watch over our fellow believers in fervent prayer, praying that they can still persist with their faith in all the turbulence, that they can still worship, and courageously, shrewdly and passionately bear witness to the Lord. Whatever happens, may they remain good, and live out a good life that does not repay evil with evil.
While caring for Mainland believers, we also need to reflect on ourselves – how do we prepare ourselves today if we are to face a similar situation in future? When we find that large numbers of Mainland brothers and sisters can no longer attend church for worship and Bible studies, do we still take these opportunities for granted today? Do we take part in worship as a routine and in a passive manner? Or do we take the opportunity to earnestly build up our spiritual lives so we will not waver in the storm? Some Mainland believers have signed papers denouncing their faith for fear of losing social security benefits and their job. What will we do if we were in their situation? In today's free social environment, have we learned to lose all things so we may gain Christ?
We in Hong Kong may not quite be able to accept the style of living, speech and behavior of our Mainland counterparts in their social lives. But the suppression of the church helps us better understand how the development of the political culture on the Mainland deeply affects the beliefs and behavior of our Mainland counterparts. Have we lost our love for our compatriots and are unwilling to understand them? As far as churches, universities, secondary and elementary schools on the mainland are concerned, they can no longer discuss the forbidden subject of faith with the youth and young adults. But we in Hong Kong have plenty of opportunities to connect with Mainlanders who come here to study or live. How would the Lord like us to care for them?