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Nine Significant Features of the Chinese House Church

Rumors of healings and other miracles spread like wildfire throughout the Chinese countryside. When people were healed, they couldn’t help but tell everyone what had happened to them. When other people were sick and had no hope, they looked to the same Jesus whom so many others had turned to, and found hope and relief, as well.

When believers prayed for simple things like Bibles, God would miraculously answer their prayers. When they prayed for safety, God protected them. When they asked for freedom from prison, God sometimes opened the iron gates of the correctional fortresses and let His servants walk out free. The early revivals in Henan and Anhui were fueled by the testimonies of many miracles like these.

 

4. Charismatic Faith and Worship

The early movements of the underground House Church were not propelled or supported by academia. Even today, the rough and crude farmers in China who are part of the underground House Church movement are not accepted by theological academics.

The prayers lifted up at an average House Church meeting are not read from a piece of paper prepared in advance, as in some formal Western denominations, but are marked by passionate, impromptu cries and bold proclamations. In addition, the gifts of the Holy Spirit are widely accepted and practiced, but certain activities, like speaking in tongues and prophesying, are not emphasized. Impromptu dancing and singing during prayer and worship times are encouraged and done with great joy, but these are quite natural to the culture and not at all distracting, as they would be in most Western church settings. There is nothing really formal or stuffy about worship in the underground House Church.

When believers prayed for simple things like Bibles, God would miraculously answer their prayers. When they prayed for safety, God protected them. When they asked for freedom from prison, God sometimes opened the iron gates of the correctional fortresses and let His servants walk out free.

What makes the charismatic element unique in China is that it is not disorderly. One of the biggest accusations made by those opposed to charismatic worship is that it can create disorder and chaos, but that is not the case in the Chinese church. Even though such worship is entered into without planning or strategic leading, it is nonetheless done in unity. If one person is singing and dancing in a room full of people praying at an underground meeting, everyone is singing and dancing along with him or her. If one person is on his or her knees, crying and shouting out prayers, the entire room will begin to do the same. The charismatic activities are individual and unique to each person within the church, yet they are also somehow orderly and done as one body.

 

5. Female Leadership

The women in the underground House Church movement are one of the main reasons for the rapid growth of Christianity in China.

One of the obvious characteristics of the Chinese House Church is the overwhelming percentage of women in the movement. The vast majority of evangelists and missionaries who are trained and sent to the field are young women. To overlook the dominant role that women have played and how much they have contributed to church growth would be deliberate ignorance.

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Category: Church History, Spring 2018

About the Author: Eugene Bach is a pseudonym for a member of the Chinese underground church who does not wish to be identified. He was trained in U.S. military special operations and served two tours in the Persian Gulf and Asia–Pacific region, serving primarily as a member of a rapid response team focusing on targeted threat elimination, counterterrorism, and security. He has been working with the underground church in China for about twenty years, helping them to establish forward mission bases in closed countries around the world, including Iraq and Syria. Eugene leads the Chinese mission movement called Back to Jerusalem, which provides essential support for Chinese missionaries in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. He is the author or co-author of I Stand with Christ: The Courageous Life of a Chinese Christian (2015), The Underground Church (2014), Leaving Buddha: A Tibetan Monk's Encounter With the Living God (2019), Jesus In Iran (2015), and other books about the underground church in places like China, North Korea, and Iran.

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