The Chinese church struggled to grow long ago. Despite many missionaries planting churches in China, the churches never seemed to take off and Christianity was not one of China’s widely accepted religions. China has been facing persecution from the very beginning and the persecution has come in waves. Christianity has had times of explosive growth but the government is very controlling and demands power, especially over religion.
The Chinese government has been trying to adapt Christianity into a government run religion. One of the government’s goals is to create “Chinese Christianity”. They are planning to amalgamate religions together and rewrite/translate the Bible so people can have a better understanding of the text. Rather than having multiple religions, China is attempting to combine all the religions together. Many Chinese Christian pastors have been thrown into prison and churches have been shut down. With the government trying to create a new religion what they are really doing is creating a heresy. Churches have been dealing with heresies for centuries now and there is talk of such trouble in the Bible.
It is so sad to see the amount of times that churches have been planted in in China and that it never flourished within the country. I often do not understand why the government sees religion as such a threat. Why must it have control of what people believe? This amalgamation of religions is similar to the persecution under Septimius Severus. This was when the empire promoted syncretism and all subjects were brought under the worship of Sol invictus, and all gods were accepted as long as they acknowledged the Sun that reigned over all.