The authorities have been forcing Christians to attend “Sinicization of Christianity” course to preach a CCP friendly version of faith.
In July, authorities in Liaoning’s Shenyang city organized a training course at the Northeast Theological Seminary. The course, titled as, “Sinicization of Christianity,” was meant for pastors and believers from the government approved Protestant Three-Self churches. Approximately 600 Christians were forced to attend the course and pay 1000 RMB (around 150 USD) in fees.
The course was taught by lecturers from Fudan University and local government employees. The core point of emphasis was that in order for Chinese Christianity to survive, the believers had to adapt to a more localized form of faith. That meant inculcating a love for the Chinese Communist Party and the country, while praying to the God.
Moreover, in no uncertain terms, it was emphasized that pastors were not allowed to have “houses for shepherding” outside the church. If they disobeyed the CCP’s orders on this, the house churches would be swiftly shut down and its congregants arrested on the spot. It could also lead to cancelling of the pastor’s or church leader’s government license. This was a “high voltage” issue that must not be taken lightly.
Pastor Yang Yuchen (pseudonym), one of the attendees, was indignant with the course and CCP’s diktats. He said, “Seminaries are for cultivating preachers who work for God and shepherd the church. But these training courses are exactly the opposite. Not only are they robbing us of our money, they are also trying to rob us of the pure religious beliefs in our hearts.”
Pastor Yang further revealed that Three-Self churches were now required to hold patriotic events. Local authorities also misuse the church funds, using them to pay for their own purchases and work.
Reported by Piao Junying