“By 2030, China will almost certainly have more Christians than any other country”, according to Fenggang Yang, director of the center on religion and Chinese society at Purdue University. While we do not know the exact number of Christians in China and many keep silent about it, I think we would be surprised to know just how much God is working behind the scenes in China. Christianity did not appear in China until the 7th century during the Tang dynasty. Because they were so closed off from the rest of the world, they did not hear about the life, death and resurrection of Jesus until 700 years later.
China is an ancient and complex nation. It is the third largest state in the world with over 1 billion people, 500 indigenous ethnic groups and 55 nationalities (not including Hong Kong and Taiwan which will be listed separately). There is strict government control of religious groups, five of which are officially recognized: Buddhism, Daoism, Islam, Protestant, and Catholic. There has been some easing of persecution in recent years. The state recently recognized that there are over 300 million religious believers and over 50 million Christians in unregistered church networks. The traditional beliefs of the Chinese are a blend of folk religion, Daoism and Buddhism. About 50% of Chinese are considered non-religious, and the official status of China is atheist.
God has protected and grown the church in China on a scale unforeseen in recent times. Persecution designed to destroy the church has instead inspired fervent prayer and evangelism. Since the 1980’s there have been vast networks and communities of believers meeting in house churches. God has a big plan for China. In God’s timing, the life and purpose of Jesus’ life will be made known to all in China. When Jesus died on the cross, he was thinking and praying for those in China, ones who were not even known to much of the rest of the world at that time.