Friday, June 24, 2011

TSPM officials rebuke Shouwang members

Members of Shouwang Church were
forced to worship outdoors in 2009 also.
(Photo ChinaAid)
VOM partner ChinaAid Association reports that representatives of China’s government-regulated Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM) church system have begun participating in police interrogations of detained Shouwang Church members.

Shouwang Church has been in a 10-week standoff with the authorities regarding a place for the 1000-member strong church to meet. They were left without a building when their landlord evicted them under government pressure.

They began meeting publicly outdoors, which resulted in 160 arrests the first week. Every Sunday since, members attempting to gather have encountered police. Those arrested are usually released within a few hours, but church leaders remain under house arrest.

Recently, personnel from TSPM churches have appeared at police stations attempting to persuade Shouwang members to join the Three-Self church and abandon their outdoor worship.

This tactic represents another phase of Shouwang Church’s struggle as government-backed TSPM church officials use theological reasoning to dissuade the church from meeting publicly. One member said the government interrogator showed a great biblical knowledge. The interrogation focused on the issue of whether Shouwang’s actions are in accordance with the Bible.

“This surprised me greatly,” he said. “Perhaps this will be their approach from now on.”

“I’m really afraid of being tortured, and I’ve heard many stories of that,” another Shouwang Church member told CNN in an interview.

“Personally, I don’t know how long I can last, because the pressure is pretty tense,” she told the CNN reporter.

You can help by praying!
  • Pray Shouwang Church’s struggle with the government for a place to meet will end.
  • Pray members of Shouwang Church will continue to stand strong in spite of the member losses the church is experiencing.
  • Pray they would “consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of [themselves] together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another” (Hebrews 10:24-25).

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