The sound of their singing conveyed the unshakeable will of Chinese Christians to continue following the Lord, despite the CCP’s suppression.
The stand-off between Christians of a Three-Self church and the government of Fan county under the administration of central Henan Province’s Puyang city lasted well past 3 a.m. on September 20, 2018. The scuffle was over the church’s cross, which the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) had ordered to be dismantled.
But the believers weren’t having it, especially after a number of other local churches had already had their crosses taken down.
At about 5 p.m. on September 19, personnel from various departments – including the Ethnic and Religious Affairs Committee of Puyang city and the Religious Affairs Bureau of Fan county – came to the Three-Self church in Luji township’s Luji village. They brought along two large cranes and two hired workers to remove the church’s cross because the church didn’t have a property deed and the designer responsible for building it didn’t have a certificate of assessment required by the state.
Upon hearing that the government was going to dismantle the cross, believers were extremely angry and immediately tried negotiating with government personnel, to no avail. So, even though it was late at night, the Christians rushed to gather in the road in front of the church to block the demolition.
“We obey the regime in every respect, but we cannot obey having the cross removed,” one believer said.
But the chief of the township merely responded by saying that removing crosses from churches is a national policy, saying that if he didn’t remove it, he faced being fired from the job.
And yet, the believers remained in place, guarding the cross. Finally, after being unable to persuade the believers, the township government threatened them, saying, “If you keep obstructing removal of the cross, we will confiscate the church.”
They had no choice but to yield.
Despite their hearts being filled with sorrow at the government’s destruction, they sang a hymn together, the words of which were: “We walk together on this road, hand in hand on this road, we share the distress on this road, we can never go back on this road…” Many of the believers sobbed incessantly and kept wiping the tears from their eyes.
At 4:25 a.m., the cross was dismantled from the church’s rooftop.
“The church’s cross is gone, but the cross remains in our heart. We have God in our heart,” one of the church members said.
Reported by Xin Lu