Reported by Dennis Balcombe
Look among the nations! Observe!
Be astonished! Wonder!
Because I am doing something in your days -
You would not believe if you were told.
- Habakkuk 1:5
God is presently doing a marvelous and amazing work in the People’s Republic of China.
A young preacher stands before a packed underground house church in the Zhenping district in Henan, China. “We can see that God is already working,” he exclaims. All around him young people sit on the floor of the packed room looking up at him attentively.
“The time has come – We must preach the gospel – We must rise up and make warfare for the Lord – We have to go forth in the name of the Lord and heal the sick – We must now rise up and cause the gospel to burn throughout this land!”
The crowd bursts into singing but is not led by a choir or music group. People from the congregation take turns leading the singing. The worship and praise lasts for over an hour.
This is known as the House Church movement – there are now tens of thousands of unregistered churches like this one throughout the People’s Republic of China. These Christians are often young and have an intense love for the Lord and each other. House meetings are usually packed – sometimes throughout several rooms. The time is spent taking bread and grape juice in communion with God, preaching, singing psalms, hymns and praise songs – and joyfully singing and dancing which can last for hours.
When these Christians meet they take communion remembering the Lord’s death and resurrection, but also signifying that they are one body. All the Christians of this district are truly one. This is a church movement that exists without denominations, divisions or ministry positions. There are no titles of prestige here; each believer sees himself as a servant of Jesus Christ; they simply call themselves “brothers,” and “sisters” in the Lord. The believers meet from house to house, district to district, and see themselves as one church. Preachers are sent out to travel in other regions of China and preach the gospel. Many new believers are being added each day and new house churches are being planted.
During the past few years, one of the greatest outpourings of the Holy Spirit in history has been witnessed in China – it is estimated that there are now between 90 to 100 million Christians attending the house churches.
The Chinese revival is a revival of young people. Those who were born since the communist revolution in 1948 are turning to God each day by the thousands. All over China thousands of young people are entering the ministry to preach the gospel.
- One 16-year-old girl gave her life to preaching the gospel. She witnessed to her music teacher in school. He gave his life to the Lord and also entered the ministry.
- Another young brother had a tremendous hunger for the Word of God. He began praying and was provided with a Bible (a rare possession since Bibles are restricted by the communist government). He began memorizing portions of scripture and now travels from district to district preaching.
- Many children are being filled with the Holy Spirit, pray in public, and evangelize their schoolmates.
- A thirteen-year-old girl travels with other evangelists and shares the gospel with children she meets in other villages.
- A 20-year-old woman talks about her experiences in evangelism and the people she has seen miraculously healed. She started preaching when she was fifteen.
God is using young people at this time. In village after village, house churches are springing up and it is happening through the preaching of young people. The Chinese say that this is a fulfillment of Joel chapter two: “And it will come about after this that I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; and your sons and daughters shall prophesy. Your old men will dream dreams and your young men will see visions” (Joel 2:28).
In the past few years, the Church in China has been stripped of all religious traditions of both East and West. The Chinese are returning to the Christianity exemplified in the New Testament.
In one district of central China there has been tremendous growth of the house churches. In 1976, there were only two Christians in this region and they had been converted before the Maoist revolution in 1949. Now there are 10,000 Christians in this area. This work was pioneered by two Christian men who came from a distant city to preach. When praying for two people to receive the Holy Spirit, the people started speaking in tongues. The onlookers were amazed. When other instances of miraculous healings took place, the entire village was converted. This revival has since spread throughout many other villages in this region.
This revival has not come without persecution from communist government authorities. One 22-year-old sister from one of these villages was put in prison in the summer of 1990 for holding a house meeting. While she was in prison 70 people and two of the prison guards accepted Christ.
Another 26-year-old preacher was forced to march in the streets by the authorities with a sign around his neck reading: “This man has been using religious superstition to promote counter-revolutionary activities.”
But today many former communists are giving their lives to Jesus Christ. The Chinese Christians are not discouraged by the persecution. They are praying for their government leaders to know Christ.
This has happened, in the words of the Apostle Paul, “to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed, through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God” (Romans 15:18,19).