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Wednesday, February 13, 2002


By Pastor Isaac Newton Johnson
Special to ASSIST Ministries

LUDHIANA, INDIA  (ANS) -- After being admitted in to the World Trade Organization, "Most Favored Nation" status obtaining from U.S. and winning the right to host the 2008 Olympics, China wants to show the world that being a non-registered Church in China is a most dangerous sport.

A court in Southern China's Fujian province on January 28 sentenced a Hong Kong Christian businessman Li Guangqiang to two years imprisonment for importing more than 16000 Holy Bibles in to the mainland. The Chinese authorities have freed him on 9th February in the latest positive gestures taken by Beijing prior to President Bush's forthcoming visit this month,  reported February 11.

Two other co-accused mainland Chinese citizens, members of an underground Church, who helped Li to smuggle the Holy Bibles into China were also jailed for three years are still in jail. The three were also fined 150,000 Yuan ($18,120) each. Reporting this Hong Kong's Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy said charges had been amended from "distributing cult publications" to a far less serious one of carrying out "illegal business activities." Washington earlier expressed concern about the case and the white House said that President Bush had taken a personal interest.

Pressure from Washington is believed to have played a key role in the decision by the Chinese officials to amend charges against these three Christians accused of smuggling the Holy Bibles into China, a move which resulted in for lighter sentences than had been expected up to death penalty, reported January 29. Relatives and well wishers of these two Christians hope that China will go another step further to release them also ahead of visit of President Bush to China in third week of February. The three were arrested in May last year while transporting 16280 Holy Bibles to an underground Church in Fuqing.

Mr. Li was also accused of transporting another 16800 Holy Bibles to Fuqing in an another attempt. Voice of Christians Evangelical Church, Ludhiana and Masihi Sansar (Christian World) fortnightly North Indian Christian newspaper (which is fighting against the persecution of Christians in India for the last four years) welcome the Chinese authorities decision to release Mr. Li from jail and fervently pray and very hopeful that other two co-accused will also be released prior to President Bush's forthcoming visit to China. Nature and history made the Chinese insular. They had little interest in God or religion, or anything speculative and metaphysical. They are entirely practical.

"Not yet understanding life, how can you understand death?" asks Confucius and a Chinese told a Christian missionary that the troubles with his body were quiet enough, and that he had no intention to add to these the concerns of his soul. In any case, he said, he had never seen the soul. Contrary to that the Holy Bible says, "Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word of God (the Holy Bible), which is able to save your souls." (James 1:21). Here we find the differences between Chinese culture and Christian creed.

Hence Christianity is supposed to be a threat to the Chinese government as has been reported by Mr. Terry Madison, U.S. President and CEO, "Open Doors with Brother Andrew" to Assist News Service, California January 30. Mr. Madison went on to say, "The Chinese government sees Christianity as a threat. They think Christians will unify together and rise up against them. Thus Chinese government tries to weaken their faith and control the number of the Holy Bibles and distribution within the country. What we see from the case of Li Guangqiang is that Christians are desperate for God's Word. They will go to great lengths to get a copy of the Holy Bible and to provide it for their families and friends."

Mr. Madison, who once participated in "Project Pearl" project when in June 1981, an "Open Doors" team landed one million Holy Bibles by sea in one night on Swalow Beach, he added, "Christianity is spreading so rapidly there - it is  estimated that there are between 10000 - 25000 new converts a day! Yet many of
these new believers do not have a Holy Bible because of the tight restrictions from the communist government. "The Chinese government allows the Amity press to print a maximum of 2.6 million Holy Bibles a year. That is not enough to meet the demand, he said and Christians rely on outside organizations like Open Doors for help and just last year "Open Doors" delivered nearly 1,858,600 books in China out of which 580,600 were full Holy Bibles.

The other day I was watching “Jesus Film” on C.D and in his invaluable remarks on the opening of film our Indian President K.R. Narayanan said, “Lord Jesus Christ’s ideas were great revolutionary of His time and His ideas are still very revolutionary.” Hallelujah! He is absolutely right in his presumption as since the inception of Christianity its ideas have been clashed with the different cultures and religions as Lord Jesus Christ did not come in this world to give religion to anyone but salvation to the whole mankind.

The Christian movement began on Jewish soil and made its first converts among the sons of Israel. Those who adhered to the new faith differed from their fellow Jews in that they believed that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah and  that God had vindicated His claim by raising Him from the dead. The ties with Judaism were not completely cut, but persecution drove an ever deepening wedge between the two groups. Before Judaic Christianity dwindled into comparative insignificance, it passed on its heritage to the Gentiles, who were reached  through Greek-speaking Jews such as Barnabas and Paul.

Christianity may be viewed as a creed, but behind its confession is a personal relation to the Savior. It may vary from place to place in its form of government, but it everywhere acknowledges the lordship of Christ. Its forms of worship may differ from Church to Church and in different regions on the earth, but its aim is to glorify God and to make known His saving grace through His son Lord Jesus Christ for mankind.

Thus Christians have been persecuted since the inception of Christianity. Four hundred million Christians are being persecuted or at threat to their lives at present in different cultures and countries due to their faith sake. The Holy Bibles have been smuggled and would be smuggled by the faithful around the world in closed countries. In mid seventies when my paternal aunt Late Dr. (Mrs.) Shanti Solomon, founder of the International Fellowship of the Least Coin and the Executive Secretary, Asian Church Women Conference was in West Germany on Church official tour, her European Christian women friends smuggled the Holy Bibles to East Germany (the then communist state) through her being as Indian. As my aunt was Indian women wearing sari (Indian dress) and we Indian had good relations with the communist states of that time.

But question is, “Are we Christians living in the first century when the Rome was the main capital of the world and Christians were butchered at an unimaginable scale?” What is the reason despite we have International Human Rights Commission, Amnesty International and United Nation a world body where virtually every nation in the world has signed the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights in which they promise to respect their citizens freedom of conscience and faith, why Christians are denied their right to profess their faith freely in many countries. For this there is the only one reason that the highly secularized North America/Europe a big Christian sleeping giant was unconcerned and silent against these persecutions the world over because decline of Christianity in the west has been alarmingly on the high side in the second half of the twentieth century and materialism took its place. It only came to know the agony and pain Christians were facing world over for the decades after September 11, 2001 tragedy in New York for which we are deeply concerned and I wrote “God Bless And Re-revive America” Part I, II and III thereafter.

We appreciate that the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) who has urged President Bush to speak out against China’s increased persecution of Christians while his visit to China is due from February 21 to 22 on the invitation of Chinese President Jiang Zemin. In the same time we would like to recall and challenge 100,000 U.S. Churches with whom we 200,000 Churches in 130 countries prayed together on November 4, 2001 the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Churches to raise their potent voice against persecution of Christians in China and the world over in the 21st century.

God bless!

Pastor Isaac Newton Johnson is an Indian teacher who became Evangelist in 1976. He is freelance journalist, member, All India Small & Medium Newspapers Federation, New Delhi, founder and president of Voice of Christians Evangelical Church,  Ludhiana (India). He is our Foreign Correspondent/Theological Annalist for North America and Europe and regularly writes up “Spiritual Food – Window on the World” column for our Christian newspaper “Masihi Sansar.” He is researching on the reasons of “Decline of Christianity in the West” Project for the last two years and has written three parts on it which published from time to time in our Masihi Sansar (Christian World) newspaper and can be obtained on request from him by post/email. He is writing “Decline of Christianity in the West” Part IV keeping in view of the attack on World Trade Center, New York and Europe’s empty Church pews. He is working on Two Years of Bachelor of Divinity from International Theological Open University which will be completed in February, 2002.

The above article was  published in the February 15, 2002 issue of Masihi  Sansar (Christian World) newspaper. Freddi Joseph, Chief Editor “Masihi Sansar” (Christian World) Newspaper, Lamba Pind, Jalandar, India.

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Rev Isaac Newton Johnson is an Indian Evangelist since 1976 working with non-Christian brothers in North India. He is international media missionary and Christian speaker. He has been invited by SungKwang Presbyterian Church, Guri, Seoul, South Korea in June-July, 2004 as Guest Speaker from India. He preached in Indian, Pakistani, Nepali and Korean brothers there. Five brothers and one sister of Indian origin accepted Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and baptized during his ministry in South Korea. He has founded “Voice of Christians Evangelical Church” at Ludhiana, India in 1999 (A House Church) working among poorest of poor people, imparting education to them and sharing the good news of Lord Jesus Christ. (Pictured: Rev Isaac Newton Johnson being honored in SungKwang Presbyterian Church, Guri, Seoul, South Korea in June 2004). He needs committed prayer partners and Church ministry supporters around the world to proclaim the Gospel in India and to the end of the earth.

Rev Isaac preaches in English, Hindi, Panjabi and Urdu languages simultaneously without interpreter.

He can be contacted at:

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