The leader of a Chinese Communist Party-linked church group has announced mandatory sermon points for pastors in the repressive nation.
The information was documented by Bitter Winter, an online magazine that studies persecution of Christians in China.
It is Xu Xiaohong who is chairman of the Chinese Christian Three-Self Patriotic Movement Committee, and the report explains he recently “organized an extraordinary meeting of the committee and of the China Christian Council, which supervises education in the Three-Self Churches.”
They listened to a videotaped speech of Chinese dictator Xi Jinping, and strategize how to implement his demands.
“All main national leaders of the Three-Self Church were present, including Pastor Wu Wei, chairperson of the China Christian Council, Pastor Shan Weixiang, vice-chairman and director-general, Vice-Chairman Shen Xuebin, and Secretary-General Gu Mengfei.”
The report explained, “Xu Xiaohong said that churches are expected to leave aside less important matters and focus on two issues, prevention on COVID-19 and the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party.”
He summarized Xi Jinping’s speech with several points.
The report explained, “First, we must deeply understand that religious work is a part of the larger work of the Communist Party. Second, we must obey the party’s leaders and the officially approved religious leaders. Third, we must study and implement the Marxist theory of religion. Fourth, we must study and implement the CCP’s directives on religious work.”
It continued, “Fifth, we must continue on the path of Sinicization of religion. Sixth, we must understand that the main aim of each Christian community is to rally Christian believers around the CCP and the government. Seventh, we must cooperate with believers of the other authorized religions for these purposes. Eight, we must build more stable and well-controlled organizations. Nine, we ‘must raise the level of rule of law in the religious work,’ which means that we must punish those who deviate from the existing regulations.”
The Three-Self Church organization is the one group set up and operated by the Chinese government to which it requires Christian churches submit.
Of course, there are millions of Christians in China meeting in house churches, where leaders and pastors often are subject to arrest and imprisonment.
The instructions from the government were for churches to focus on “the Four Consciousness, Four Matters of Confidence, and Two Upholds.”
The report said, “These are slogans all Chinese know and are asked to repeat daily, but what is interesting is the insistence they should become part of sermons in Christian churches. The Four Consciousness are the consciousness of the duties of maintaining political integrity, appreciating the larger picture, following the core leaders, and remaining aligned with the core leaders.”
It added that the matters of “Confidence” reference confidence in the communists’ “path,” “theory,” “system” and “culture.”
The party also insists churches support its leadership’s authority and positions.
The report added, “As far as Bitter Winter knows, an important matter that was not addressed is how to prevent the Three-Self Church from keeping losing members dissatisfied with the fact that the sermons increasingly focus on CCP propaganda rather than on Christianity.
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