Only eight more days left until the third Lausanne Congress. While China's house church representatives are making their last minute preparations to attend this year’s conference, overseas Chinese Christian leaders have expressed their concerns.
Rev. Tongsu Liu and Elder Manchild Yu, chairman of Ambassador for Christ China Mission Conference 2010, shared partial insights to the preparation situation of China’s house church representatives with The Gospel Herald.
“Recently, we’ve heard from the Beijing pastoral office that a co-worker who is planning to attend Lausanne conference in Cape Town had his visa rejected when he tried to go abroad for some other purpose,” said Liu, who has close-ties with house churches in China. “This has happened quite often in the past, where it is not a united block on a national level, but just different regional authorities blocking people from leaving the country for some reasons. This may very likely be the case.”
Speaking of finances, Liu said that since the house churches have never registered, they don’t have any formal identifications, which means their source of funds are privately donated and donated directly to Lausanne. Therefore, the government cannot and shouldn’t have any major interference in this regards.
In an interview last month, Liu urged the members of the house churches in China whose ministers have been invited to participate in Lausanne to show their full support.
“Do not be cowered. It isn’t a personal or individual church matter for the representatives to join (Lausanne III), but it is a testimony to the greatest degree of representation of the entire church of China. In the next month, the most important thing is to guarantee that those invited can all go and participate.”
“Plainly speaking, it is ‘safer’ for pastors to go; according to the situation this time, where the church reveals their weaknesses will be where the local authorities will take advantage of.”
Elder Manchild Yu, who is the chairman of this year’s China Mission Conference hosted by Ambassador for Christ in United States and a participant of the Lausanne Congress, expressed his concerns towards the pastoral workers in China.
“The Three-self in mainland (Three-Self Patriotic Movement Protestant Churches) were upset in regards to the invitation lists of Lausanne committee, which is normal, but China representatives definitely must participate in this year’s Lausanne conference. Three-self churches should support such kind of international conference from a broad and international perspective. If Three-self churches are still are not recognized, then they should continue to do their best.”
Yu hopes that the Chinese government will have the wisdom in handling the relationship between the churches in China and the global Christian body from a broad and international perspective.
[Editor's note: reporter Titus Li contributed to this report.]