Millions of Chinese are becoming believers and the Communist Party is fighting back. Pray for the Church in China, that these believers would be strengthened and that the Gospel of Christ will reach hundreds of millions more.

Western visitors used to seeing empty sanctuaries in the United States or Europe can be dumbfounded by the Sunday gatherings held in convention center-size buildings where people line up for blocks to get in - one service after another. In Wenzhou, not far from Hangzhou, an estimated 1.2 million Protestants now exist in a city of 9 million people alone. (It is called "China's Jerusalem.") By one estimate, China will become the world's largest Christian nation, at its current rate of growth, by 2030. ...

Carsten Vala, an expert on religion in China at Loyola University Maryland in Baltimore, says 40 million to 60 million is "the low end of a conservative" estimate of the number of Evangelicals. Fenggang Yang, director of the Center on Religion and Chinese Society at Purdue University in Indiana, says he thinks there are more than 80 million Christians and that China will have 245 million by 2030 if growth is steady - making it the world's most populous Protestant nation.

In some ways this surge seems counterintuitive. Being a Christian in a country that sees worship as odd or superstitious does nothing to boost one's status. "There is absolutely no social advantage to being a Christian in China," says Bob Fu, a pastor who escaped a Chinese police crackdown in the 1990s and now runs Texas-based ChinaAid, which monitors Christian rights in the country. "There are no cookies, no status, no outward rewards, no privileges in choosing Christianity." ...

Experts say the Chinese have a practical nature, and if they adopt the evangelical message, especially after years of required wrestling with Marxist thinking, they usually don't take it lightly. Many work hard at it.

"Chinese Christians know the Bible better than some Southern Baptists," says Wickeri in Hong Kong. "That's not a small thing."

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