Dennis Balcombe, one of the most prominent American missionaries in China, tells me the government there is cracking down harder than ever on the church right now. House churches have been forced to register and come under government supervision, and Balcombe says there is "more pressure on Christianity in China than ever before."
But much to the dismay of that country's communist government, the Chinese church is one of the fastest-growing churches in the world. Balcombe, who has lived there much of his life, says the church in China has grown to over 100 million Christians, and it continues to grow exponentially.
While Balcombe believes no one can predict the future, he says it's a well-known hypothesis that, in the end times, an alliance will be formed between communism and Islam, and that will be "the Antichrist's force." So, Balcombe says it will be interesting to see if China will soon join forces with the Taliban in Afghanistan, which could very well fulfill the end-times prophecy of coming persecution against the Christian church.
"It seems like everyone is going to totalitarian states and control of religion and persecution. It's happening all around the world," Balcombe says. "It's just a fact of life, and we're getting into these last times, and these things will happen. I think Americans need to prepare for that.
"In America, you can vote, but in Hong Kong or China, we cannot vote for our government," he adds. "So you can vote and choose the people that you want to be in power, but even so, you may be outnumbered because of the wickedness of the hearts of the people. I have no doubt that Americans and other nations need to prepare for persecution.
"It's wonderful if we can have democracy and the Constitution can be upheld, but that may not be possible because we're living in the last days, and the Bible says there is great darkness coming," Balcombe says.
Chinese Christians know all about darkness and persecution. Balcombe points to protests that took place in China in 2019 as a turning point in the communist government's renewed targeting of Christians. Those demonstrations, he says, resulted in new national security laws because the Chinese government believed people were using Hong Kong "as a base to overthrow the central government."
"They put very interesting, restrictive laws in effect," Balcombe says. "Many people who were involved in the democracy movement and criticizing the government have now been arrested and are in prison awaiting trial. There has been 90,000 people immigrating from Hong Kong, and many of them are actually Christians. They are fearful of the future."
Balcombe says the American church must take a clue from the Chinese church and put up its guard because the same thing could happen to us very soon. Americans have only experienced an acceleration of what we call cancel culture over the past couple of years. Balcombe says we must watch and learn from Chinese Christians, who have dealt with that "darkness" for a very long time.
"We have to learn, for the sake of the gospel, that we should not be too political," he says. "Because our goal is not to change the government or even to keep our freedoms, which we like to have. Our goal is to get people saved and for them to go to heaven."
Balcombe says that is what he and his ministry will continue to do, no matter how much scrutiny they come under. It will push forward in its duty of the Great Commission—to spread the gospel to the Chinese people.
"Our goal is to get many people saved and to take Bibles to China," Balcombe says. "My vision is that everybody who wants to have a Bible in China can have one. Our purpose for the gospel is getting people saved and going to heaven, and for revival in the church. We do not comment on political things. All we can do is be faithful and teach our people to take up the cross. That's the best thing we can do at this time because I doubt that you're going to see this worldwide trend change."
To learn more about the persecution of the Chinese church and Dennis Balcombe's ministry, listen to this special Strang Report podcast.
Meanwhile let me mention my new book God and Cancel Culture, which released this week. I talk a lot about persecution and how cancel culture is part of that and also the threat of Chinese communism is very real. Over the years Balcombe has been a good source for me when I need to know about the church in China. The only time I've visited China, I went in with Balcombe, who allowed me to meet with the underground church. You can learn more at stevestrangbooks.com.
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