House Church China
House Church in China
House Church - China
A house church in China is simply a church - ekklesia, a Greek word that means a gathering or assembly - of Christians in China who gather in a house, warehouse or any place other than the Three Self church.
While all house churches in China were persecuted in the past, the Chinese Communist Party now allows small house churches to operate as long as it has fewer than 15 members*. Once that number is reached, China's Communist Party requires the house church to register as a Three Self church.
Some house churches comply to facilitate renting or buying space to gather more people. Most house churches, however, refuse to come under the unbiblical authority of China's Three Self church and instead split into many small house churches, each with fewer than 15 members (this government policy has accelerated the penetration of the gospel into more homes).*
Other house churches even challenge the government for the right to gather as a church without having to register as a new Three Self Church.
If you are considering being a missionary to China, be advised that while the Chinese government tolerates Chinese believers gathering in house churches or foreigners participating in Three Self churches, the government tends to not tolerate foreigners participating in house churches.*
It is important for you to choose between serving in the Three Self churches or house churches, but not both. If you are discovered serving in both of them, the house churches will be persecuted for letting a foreigner influence them, and the leaders of the Three Self churches will be persecuted for collaborating with a foreigner who clandestinely works with house churches.
If you choose to serve in the Three Self churches, you can be relatively open* about your "participation". If you choose to serve in the house churches, however, you should keep quiet about your activities.
(* The Chinese government may be gearing up for yet another era of heightened persecution. During the first half of 2012, intelligence supposedly was gathered on all house churches. For the next 2 to 3 years, they are to be pressured to become Three Self churches. The subsequent 10 years apparently have been slated for shutting down by force those that refuse. If carried out, these plans will help to purify the church in China and accelerate its expansion.)