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Christianity's flourishing expansion threatens China: 'Gates of hell shall not prevail,' says theologian – Fox News

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As tensions grow between the United States and China, there’s another front that the communist regime is fighting, one that can’t be waged with a show of force — although President Xi Jinping is certainly trying. 
It’s the flourishing expansion of Christianity
The growth is so exponential that one theologian is predicting the conversion of China within one to three generations.
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The Rev. Johnnie Moore, a member of the U.S. Commission on Religious Freedom, says, “I not only predict the conversion of China to Christianity — it’s much further along than people realize and than the Chinese want to admit. And they’re underestimating it.”
Conservative estimates put the number of Christians at around 100 million. 
But Moore believes the number could be as high as 150 million or even 175 million. 
The American and Chinese flags wave at Genting Snow Park ahead of the 2022 Winter Olympics, Feb. 2, 2022, in Zhangjiakou, China.  (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato)
The percentage growth of Protestant Christianity in China since the late 1980s has gone from a negligible amount to where it is 3% of the population, according to The Economist. 
While that may not seem like a sizable percentage, in a country of 1.4 billion, Catholicism and Islam are also growing. 
Combined, religious adherents outnumber members of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). 
In China, some 2,000 church spires and crosses have been torn down. Pastors have been locked up. Bibles have been confiscated. 
In an interview with “Lighthouse Faith” podcast, Moore said, “In a generation, the Communist Party will not be the Communist Party that we know today. I don’t think it will exist at all. But what will happen is the Chinese church will probably be the strongest, largest church in the entire world.”
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This is why the Xi administration is clamping down on Christians. 
Some 2,000 church spires and crosses have been torn down. Pastors have been locked up. Bibles have been confiscated. 
Bibles have even been rewritten to create more allegiance to the government rather than to Jesus. And hi-tech AI surveillance is meant to intimidate and coerce believers into submission.
In the 1940s and 1950s, the communists’ victory in China expelled religious missionaries who had been in the country since at least the turn of the 20th century.
The Xi administration has been clamping down on Christians in China. (iStock)
Between 1900 and 1950, the number of Protestant Christians grew from about 100,000 to 700,000.  
In 1966, China saw the Cultural Revolution under Mao Zedong, and the violent cleansing of capitalist and traditionalist symbols. But instead of eradicating what was looked at as a Western religion — Christianity instead became indigenous to China.
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Missionary martyrs like Watchman Nee became the catalyst for Christian conversion.
Nee, one of the most famous Christians in China’s history, is among the scores of martyrs featured in Moore’s book, “The New Book of Christian Martyrs: The Heroes of Our Faith from the 1st Century to the 21st Century.”  
Christian persecution has been going on as long as Christianity itself.
Moore writes in the book, “Following the communist leaders’ expulsion of all foreign missionaries, Nee launched the Ecumenical Campaign in 1951, united four key groups and seeing rapid growth. These were the China Inland Mission churches (suddenly without foreign help), the Jesus Family, independent churches and denominational churches in good standing with his movement.”
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A prolific writer and theologian, Nee spent the last 20 years of his life incarcerated, with no outside contact except with his wife. He died alone in a Chinese labor camp.
Expelled Western missionaries at one time thought China would be lost to the communists. 
Chinese policemen are seen pushing Uighur women who are protesting at a street on July 7, 2009, in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang Uighur autonomous region, China. Hundreds of Uighur people have taken to the streets protesting after their relatives were detained by authorities after Sunday’s protest. Ethnic riots in the capital of the Muslim Xinjiang region on Sunday saw 156 people killed. Police officers, soldiers and firefighters were dispatched to contain the rioting with hundreds of people being detained.   (Guang Niu/Getty Images)
But Chuck Stetson, chairman and CEO of Essentials in Education, a nonprofit educational publisher, cryptic messages would be sent back to them. 
Stetson, who also co-wrote the book, “The Bible and Its Influence,” says the message was something that could slip right under the noses of the communist watchdogs, but would be totally understood by the missionaries. 
Regimes have been stymied by Christians who refuse to denounce their faith in Jesus Christ even when it means death.
The message was something like, “The ‘this I know” people are doing well.”
The line is from the famous children Sunday school song whose first line is, “Jesus loves me, this I know…”
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Christian persecution has been going on as long as Christianity itself. It began with the Romans in the first century, who perfected the art of torture in death, which included crucifixions, human torches and mauling by wild animals. 
When the Emperor Constantine legalized Christianity in the fourth century, the persecution lessened but never fully stopped.
Even in America, the plight of strong believers is precarious as legal cases against those standing up for their faith mount, writes Lauren Green, Fox News Channel’s (FNC) chief religion correspondent.  (iStock)
Regimes throughout the centuries have been stymied by Christians who refuse to denounce their faith in Jesus Christ even when it means death. The repeated scenario was so common that the late second and early third century Christian theologian Tertullian claimed, “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.”
Even in America, the plight of strong believers is precarious as legal cases against those standing up for their faith mount. 
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Moore blasts the Biden administration — where the White House press secretary could not call the shooting at Covenant School in Nashville a hate crime — even if the shooter’s manifesto might reveal a hatred for Christians.
Moore is confident in the prophetic words of Jesus that “the gates of hell shall not prevail against my Church.”
Says Moore, “I never thought I would see the day in the United States when the press secretary to the president of the United States, Democrat or Republican, would be asked on its face whether it would be a hate crime if the manifesto of the killer of those Christians in Tennessee at that Christian school — whether it was a hate crime, if it says in the manifesto that Christians are being targeted. And the press secretary … refuses to answer the question. I mean, this is an indication of where things are.”
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Even the leader of a watchdog group that monitors Christian persecution in China says he’s getting worried that the U.S. is very close to paralleling the CCP when it comes to religious freedom.  
Bob Fu, president of the U.S.-based ChinaAid, told Fox News Digital recently that “the similarities are very, very striking between the Chinese Communist way of persecution and the American leftist way of restriction and even discrimination.”  
But Moore is confident in the prophetic words of Jesus that “the gates of hell shall not prevail against my church.”
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Says Moore, “As one theologian once said, five or six centuries ago, the church is an anvil which has worn out many a hammer. And that’s definitely what’s happening in China.”
Lauren Green currently serves as Fox News Channel’s (FNC) chief religion correspondent based in the New York bureau. She joined FNC in 1996. Her new book is “Lighthouse Faith: God as a Living Reality in a World Immersed in Fog.” She is host of Fox News Digital’s “Spirited Debate.”
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This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. ©2023 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. Quotes displayed in real-time or delayed by at least 15 minutes. Market data provided by Factset. Powered and implemented by FactSet Digital Solutions. Legal Statement. Mutual Fund and ETF data provided by Refinitiv Lipper.

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