Persecuted But Never Defeated

True Stories Of The Persecution Of Christianity In China.

Bob Fu
Oct 18, 2020    41m
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Guest Speaker Pastor Bob Fu shares heartbreaking stories of the persecution of Christianity in China, but also tells us that even with this danger, the Christian Church continues to grow and thrive despite the government's best efforts to stop it. Video recorded at Grapevine, Texas.

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Bob Fu: 00:07 Good morning 121 Church, or 121 Church. Greetings from our brother and sisters in the persecuted church in China. My name is Bob Fu, thank you very much for inviting me to be here this morning at this great church. Thanks, Eric for your introduction, and it's just a real joy to share the good news of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen?

Bob Fu: 00:41 It's just very surreal kind of, for the past two weeks for me, and my family, and our ministry, even. So before I kind of open up the word of the Lord, just a quick update. You know, 16 years ago my wife and I and our children, we kind of were almost called to move to the People's Republic of Texas from Philadelphia, after staying in Philadelphia for seven years studying in the Westminster Theological Seminary. And partially, we felt this is a state we find you know, with the greatest hospitality, generosity, love, and care, and safety. So we have never thought we would have, you know, met with some invaders by some communists in the United States.

Bob Fu: 01:52 Here we go. Two weeks ago today, marks the 14th day that these mobs, sent by the Chinese communist party, started gathering in front of my home in West Texas, Midland, Texas. My wife just told me, yup, so they showed up again, 20 to 30 of those who were holding signs. And basically, their only purpose is to silence our voice, to stop preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, to stop representing and really bringing the voice of those voiceless brothers and sisters in the prison, in the detention center. And to stop helping those who are persecuted in China from their family members, the human rights lawyers. So this is their only purpose through this intimidation, harassment, and the life threat. My wife and our children, literally two weeks ago, had to be evacuated by fully armed law enforcement from our home after they deemed the live threat is very real, and we had been under the law enforcement 24 hour protection in undisclosed location. Two weeks already, we have never thought this would happen in Texas, but can we be intimidated by a group of mobs, a group of Chinese communist? No, the fact that we are here today, I'm here on the stage, and we continue to share and preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the testimony. We say no to Satan, we say no to the communist, we say no to the atheist, we say no to these thugs and mobs. So this is the glorious victory of Jesus Christ. Amen? So, I just want to let you know, so this was the first day, this is the photo showing them.

Bob Fu: 04:21 But let's come up with the word of the Lord first, because nothing, you know, would separate the love of Christ from His people, right? And even the whole world will perish, but the word Lord will be forever. Amen? Let's come to, if you have your Bible, let's turn to Second Corinthians chapter 4 from verse 8. Second Corinthians chapter 4 from verse 8, here's the word of the Lord through his Apostle Paul, "We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed." Not destroyed, why? Because, "Always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh." May the Holy Spirit, who inspired this portion and part of the word of the Lord, continue to illuminate, to guide, to execute this rich message of the word of the Lord. Amen.

Bob Fu: 06:24 You see, if we show the context of this scripture, we all know when Paul was challenged by those church members, those who really who do not know about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Who despise Paul's office as the Apostle, who laugh at him, who question his authenticity about the gospel he has preached. This is almost, the Second Corinthian, is the book of apologetics. You know, my PhD studies focused on the Christian apologetics, and nothing is more powerful for the Christian apologetics messages than preaching the death, and resurrection, and Jesus' cross. That's the gospel of Jesus Christ. Amen?

Bob Fu: 07:28 So this is the part that really shows basically Paul with the mark of the persecution, the mark of those they
struck down, the mark of being crushed, the mark of being afflicted, the mark on his body being perplexed. He shows that no matter what, no matter how this world will treat you as a follower of Jesus Christ, no matter how much affliction this word will do to you. You know, over 60 countries now in the global community, where the Christians are being persecuted today, over 300 million Christians today. There are more martyrs in the 20th century, than the whole previous 19 centuries combined, every other. We have at least 19 brothers and sisters, the fellow body of Christ, are being martyred today, every hour. They are inflicted in every way, they are perplexed, they are persecuted, they are struck down. And yet, with the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as Paul just proclaimed, they're not crushed, they're not driven to despair, they're not forsaken, they're certainly not destroyed. This is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Bob Fu: 09:21 So today with this word, I do not have a lot of time to do like, you know, we call the expositional preaching with word by word. But in the context of the persecuted church, the theme of the underground church, how the Gospel of Jesus Christ flourished even in the middle, despite of, facing the persecution, I want to bring the reality, especially, about what's happening in China.

Bob Fu: 10:04 You know, in 1966, when the Chairman Mao, the Chinese communist party dictator, who founded the so-called People's Republic of China, started a cultural revolution. His wife, Madam Jiang Qing, organized a Bible burning campaign first. So she basically gathers truckloads of Bibles, and ordered thousands of these Bibles, and piled them at the largest square in the city of Shanghai, and then she said, burn them. Basically, when the thousands and thousands of copies of Bibles were lit on fire, she declared, she said, ha-ha, from today on, the vocabulary, the word Christianity, will forever belong to the museum of Chinese history. She declared the death of Christianity, but little did she know that God is not only a powerful God, the living God, but also a very humorous God. Amen? Ten years later, just when the cultural revolution was finished, Chairman Mao's his wife Madam Jiang Qing ended up in prison.

Bob Fu: 11:46 And when a group of America missionaries went to Hong Kong and started interviewing many who escaped from China to Hong Kong, and found the gospel was not only not dead, but the church has been living and living well. There was a big church, actually by 1980s. You know, after 10 years of cultural revolution, where there's no Christians allowed to even exist, all the truthful Christians are imprisoned. Even the government sanctioned, patriotic church believers, and their leaders, who dedicated or pledged their allegiance to the communist party, were imprisoned. Atheism is the official religion. And then where does the church come from? Where does this 20, by that time the estimate of believers already, that's 1980 to 1982, the number of believers in China at that time reached to between 18 to 20 million already. And do you know how many, when the communist party took power in 1949, it was less than 1 million. After one and half centuries, 150 years of foreign missionaries hard labor, and the Chinese' churches work, with many martyrdom in China, less than 1 million Christians when the communist party took power. But after the communist party took power, and then going through the cultural revolution, there are 18 to 20 million Christians already. This is the work of the Lord, let's give the Lord a big hand, I think he deserves it. Yes.

Bob Fu: 13:58 And not only that, the history of Chinese church is a history of persecution, never stopped. So by the year 1996, the estimated number of Chinese Christians already reached to over 60 million, 60 million. You know, from the communist party when they took power, less than 1 million, that's a 60 fold growth. And then today, if you Google on the number of Chinese Christians and the Purdue university, because there is a study by a group of sociologists from Purdue university, and the studied the history, the growth of religion, not only Christianity, but other the religions too, for the past 100 years. And they conclude, the number of Chinese Christians today has already reached to over 100 million. 100 million, there are more Chinese Christians, more followers of Jesus Christ, than the number of the Chinese communist party. That's why they're very scared. They're very scared by evangelists, a preacher, you know, a pastor staying in West Texas, they want to silence him. They're sending their mobs, to try to say, stop, shut up. If I shut up, as Jesus said, even the rocks will speak up for Jesus. Amen? Even the monkeys will proclaim the name of Jesus. We can never stop the name of Jesus.

Bob Fu: 15:50 I was born and raised in China, in a poor family, educated of course in the country as the atheist. But God, in his sovereign way, even used a massacre in 1989. You see, in the Tiananmen Square when hundreds of thousands of students gathered for democracy, for freedom, for less corruption...I was one of the students leaders for my own university in Shandong, in my hometown province, gathered in the Tiananmen Square, and occupied part of the square, at that time, I was not a Christian. Perhaps I can claim as a, maybe a kind of a humanist basically impacted by the Western value, not knowing about the faith. We thought we are, you know, kind of advancing freedom in China. And little did we know in the early morning of doing 1989, the communist party hardliners sending military tanks with the machine guns, and start killing thousands lives were murdered, killed. By the grace of the Lord, miraculously, you know, I was spared from being one of the tank [inaudible].

Bob Fu: 17:31 Three days before the massacre...Because my then girlfriend friend, later on she became my beloved wife, Heidi. We have three loving children, and two of them were born the United States, one actually was born in Texas, a fellow Texas cowgirl, and we are very proud of her. And I think that because she was sick after drinking this unclean water in the Tiananmen Square, Heidi was sent to the ER. So three days before the massacre, we left the square. But then the Lord just used this moment, and with the help of our American missionary who was teaching English in our English department, Heidi and I were both majored in English literature in our college, and that's how we came to know the Lord, with the word of the Lord. Such as in the Second Corinthians again, 5:17, it says, "If anyone is in Christ Jesus, he is a new creation. The old has gone, the new has come." These are the powerful word of the Lord that I first encountered by reading a testimony of a Chinese pastor, a book, a bio of the Chinese pastor, smuggled in by our American teachers. Reading that testimony during the hardest time, the communist party was kind of a treating me like a prisoner, and forcing me to cancel classes, doing confessions day and night, because of the Tiananmen students involvement. And then it was during that moment, the Holy Spirit totally convicted me. I became the new creation in Jesus Christ, the old Bob Fu has gone, the new Bob Fu has come. That's the power of the Lord.

Bob Fu: 20:05 You know, that college, it used to be called the Liaocheng Teachers College, and later on became Liaocheng University from my province. And it started a big revival from the first Chinese Christian student, we were called the first generation of Chinese Christian in that college. And then I just could not help, but just preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ every day, in every occasion. Because I was the naive enough, without knowing there is a religious policy forbidding preaching the gospel on your campus. So my first mission target was my then girlfriend, right? I want her, of course, I love her and want her to be a follower of Jesus Christ. Fortunately after persecuted me only one week, Heidi became a follower of Jesus Christ. And then a year later, my father became my disciple, and he even started a house church. And then every day there are new believers popping up, I mean, in our college. And a few years ago, after we were exiled to the U.S., one of the newly graduated from that university flew from China, went to West Texas just to meet with me and share with me the continued revival from that university. He said, Pastor Bob, you didn't know that after you left, the revival continued. And to the point there was a big church was planted right next to that university, and in the past 20 plus years, over 10,000 were baptized from that church. Hallelujah, praise the Lord. I mean, that is the revival of the church.

Bob Fu: 22:02 That is, you know, how the Lord even use a tragic massacre in his sovereign way, that we don't really anticipate because we always see it from a human perspective. You know, that it is a tragedy, it is a massacre, justice needs to be done. And those who perpetrated this massacre and murderer, should be held accountable one day. Although none of the Chinese textbook in China now, even mention that has happened. The word, if you Google in your Chinese censored search engine, if you put Tiananmen, it only show how beautiful the Tiananmen Square is, nothing was mentioned as part of the communist party's effort to cancel that history. And yet, that is the start of the largest, I call the largest, redemptive starting moment for the Chinese intellectuals. We know the revival has already been happening before 1989, but pretty much in the rural areas in the countryside, but 1989 continued to be the biggest redemptive moment in the Chinese history for the gospel of Jesus Christ. This is my baptism, and we call it a shower baptism in a old factory, and this pastor, and a Taiwanese missionary baptizing in Beijing. And because it has all the water flowing, I think both the Presbyterians and the Baptist would welcome, and acknowledge that testimonies, right, as a true baptism.

Bob Fu: 24:02 And Heidi and I were married by Pastor Alan Graham. You know, the pastor who baptized me, Pastor Young, spent over 16 years imprisonment for the gospel of Jesus Christ. And the pastor, Pastor Alan Graham, he spent 22 years in prison for the gospel of Jesus Christ, 22 years. So when I met with them, and fellowshipped with them, that they all kind of told me, that they said, you know, Brother Fu, if you want to be a faithful follower of Jesus Christ for the gospel in China. The first theological course you need to take, it's mandated, not a selective course, it's called a prison theology, prison theology. I'm very touched when we step into the sanctuary, seeing all the halls of this church, you guys know that secret, know the reality by installing, you know, this prison. This prison, even with the torture chamber of Richard Wurmbrand, with the [inaudible] you know, and for the solitary confinement. I purposely, I could not help, I entered into one of the prison's you installed. Sitting there in that one prison was a real reminder and reflection. That is on the one hand, I rejoice with the revival of the gospel of Jesus Christ in China. On the other hand, seeing the faces of all these prisoners of faith, including my dear brother in Christ, Pastor Wang Yi, if you are there, you saw his photo, nine years imprisonment. They're suffering, it is part of their school of prison theology.

Bob Fu: 26:18 In the Chinese church, we also call it the theology of the cross. Theology of the cross, because after all, what Paul was commissioned, the fundamental elements of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is not like when you go to church after you were like baptized, get some good cookies you know, get a good nursery, you know, childcare, or, you know, maybe get a good retreat and being blessed and praying for more prosperity or all these goodie things. Before the resurrection of Jesus Christ, there is a road to [inaudible], right? There is a road, even leaning over, our Lord Jesus Christ have to carry that cross. Even our Lord Jesus Christ have to suffer on the cross, in the worst, most ashamed form, being crucified, naked, shamed. And only after that, we see glories of that cross, the resurrection, right, after the suffering. So, Heidi and I were honestly a little bit of scared when we kept, you know, knowing that's, you know, 9 years, 10 years, 17 years, 22 years, imprisonment. That is the path of the cross, that is the non-selective mandated course of your Christian theology. Not hermeneutics, not even apologetics, not this is service, not any, theological course. They're all important, make no mistake, but that part, the theology of the cross.

Bob Fu: 28:31 See, in 1996, the Lord said it's time. After I was humorously, you know, teaching in a communist party school in the daytime, I was teaching English to the communist party school, to these party leaders. In the evening, and the rest of the weekend, I was riding my bicycle, basically traveling around the university campus in Beijing and planting a house church, and so that was the communist party school. So when the Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal interviewed me, they said, well, you are God's double agent. So that's the book title, but my memoir was published by Baker, called God's Double Agent, there are some sale on the table. So the best thing was by the end of each month, I got the full-time faculty pay check directly from the Chinese communist party as my mission fund. I think, you know, every church would love that, I don't need to raise support, write newsletters, ask please help support, you know, $10 a month. The Communist party supplied three years of my mission fund. We planted a church, that's our church, and we even started underground seminary. For that, we were imprisoned, I was throw into a prison for two months, and I guess that's the intensive course for theology for prison.

Bob Fu: 30:11 You know, after Chinese President Xi Jinping took power, he took aim, I mean, basically launched a war, a war against the cross. All of a sudden in the past several years, thousands, thousands of these churches, the crosses, are being taken down, burnt, struck, destroyed, thousands of them. That's a real, it's not only to the Protestant church, but the Catholic churches too. And many, many brothers and sisters who just simply tried to defend that little cross, and the cross on the rooftop of the church building from being smashed, destroyed, they were imprisoned. Some of them were sentenced to 12 years, 14 years imprisonment, for defending that cross. Something must, you know, be very important, I think in a spiritual sense, as a threat to this powerful communist regime, right? Where they have a nuclear weapons, they are one of the five permanent member of the United nations security console, and the claim they have 90 million communist party members. And yet, they are very scared of this little cross. Something is there, as Paul proclaimed, right? He know nothing but Jesus Christ and his crucifixion amen, Jesus Christ at his cross, that's the sufferology, the theology of suffering.

Bob Fu: 32:13 You know, as Paul said, "My brothers were not only..." In the Philippines said, "We're not only called to, granted to believe in Jesus Christ." We're not only just called, oh okay, we confess the name in a crusade, and then raise our hands, come to the church, doing baptism on Sunday, we come to the church. That's not all, that's part of our Christian life, but the sufferology. As Paul said, "We're not only granted to believe in Christ Jesus, but also to suffer for him to suffer for him." Like these brothers and sisters, this pastor, Pastor John was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment. These public security officers dragged him from the church, and this church in Beijing was totally smashed, the largest house church in Beijing. And yet these believers, even under the snow, they went on to gather, and continue to enjoy, even in the snow with the coldness, they are preaching the name of Jesus. Even the church was smashed, they continue to gather in front of the rubble of their church. And I did not bring the videos, but they are singing and they are praising the Lord. And they're singing, Lord, the cross is our glory. You remember that song, right? Yeah. You know, that's the song, that, you know, you are my glory.

Bob Fu: 34:02 Pastor Wang Yi in that prison, you have his photo. You know, one of the features is after suffering, then you experienced the resurrection for Jesus Christ, as we just read. I just want to read this part of the scripture so that you know, this pastor after starting China's Covenantal, like the Chinese Presbyterian church movement, he was sentenced to 9 years at the last day of 2019, December 30th, last year. For what? For preaching one sermon on the pulpit where he said, President Xi Jinping, you need to repent for persecuting God's people, and you can still have the chance to have the salvation of Jesus Christ, otherwise you will perish too. It's called the subversion of state power, that's the 9 years imprisonment. But this is what he wrote before he was imprisoned. He said, "Separate me from my wife and children, ruin my reputation, destroy my life and my family." As they already did, his wife was tortured, their 12 year old son is taking a police car every day, going back forth to the school, every day now. This is what Pastor Wang Yi said, "The authorities are capable of doing all of these things. However, no one in this world can force me to renounce my faith, no one can make me change my life, (And listen to this.) no one can raise me from the dead." The resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Bob Fu: 36:09 This is the recipe for the church growth, for the Chinese church, why from 1 million when the communist party took power over, after 70 some years of communism, China now has, the church has grown over 100 fold. This is the secrets of the church in China, the growth. So it's not only church, this is the secrets for growth in our own Christian life. Brothers and sisters, I know after living in the United States for the past 23 years, I really observed that, you know, we have a dynamic church. We, you know, brothers and sisters, you have the beautiful sanctuary, and we have the freedom. As much as some or part of that was eroded, still don't take our great freedom for granted. And always not only, you know, granted to believe in Jesus Christ, but also all the time to live a godly life in Christ Jesus. Then the persecution will come, then even facing the persecution, you know, Christ will live in you. As Paul proclaimed, "If we live, we live for Christ. If we die, we die for Christ" Whether we live or die, we belong to Christ. Amen. Hallelujah, may the Lord continue to bless you to live a godly life in Christ Jesus.

Bob Fu: 37:59 May the Lord bless every one of you at 121 church. Thank you, Lord bless you, and commission you. Lord, thank you for this moment. Lord, may you with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the full gospel, not only the resurrection, but before the resurrection, we have the theology of the cross, the imprisonment, the suffering, the crucifixion, and Lord, may you embolden, empower, every one of my brothers and sisters here to boldly proclaim of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, this season and all seasons. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen. Thank you all.

Bob Fu: 38:54 Thank you, Bob. Let's take just a couple of minutes here to continue, and pray to the Lord. And just anything that the Holy spirit was revealing to you during the time that that Bob was speaking, or as we were worshiping, this is just a quiet space to do business with God. Amen.

Eric Estes: 40:40 Guys, that was just incredible hearing pastor Bob's perspective on that. He's going to be here, he's going to stay through two o'clock. At two o'clock, we're going to have another session where he's going to, it's going to be a chance to ask questions. But then also he'll tell a little bit more about what's happening in China, what it's like to be part of an underground church, and what that looks like. So we invite you to go grab lunch, and then come back at two o'clock to spend a little bit more time, and hear more from pastor Bob.

Eric Estes: 41:04 Also, like he mentioned he has a table out there, he'd love to talk to you. He's got books, he's also got different things, prayer cards, as well as wristbands, just for you to take, to remember to pray for those persecuted brothers and sisters there. However, as you go and you hang out with him, please go get your kids first. So kid's ministry is back in session, buy we want to make sure that we get them out of there so we have time to clean the rooms. So I'd ask you to do that first, and then come hang out and linger with everybody else, that'll be great, so that's the plan as we exit here. So y'all have a great day.



Recorded in Grapevine, Texas.
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