When two global superpowers collide, be sure that religious persecutions will accompany it. The only difference between the religious persecution that arises from such collision and other similar occurrences in history is the reason behind that is driving it. General religious persecution in the past arises from a clash of ideological differences. But in modernity, religious persecution is a tool that has the power to cause global upheaval.
In an earlier post entitled “The Root of Hatred and Persecutions against the Church: The Socialist Story”, I discuss that rather than discouraging religion, the socialist ideals actually encourages religion, especially Christianity. However, it is for the unfairness that had risen from the religious bodies (in this case, the church) that caused the socialist to rethink religion and subsequently, devise ways to control it. There were discussions among the layperson about how religious controls and “persecutions” are closely related to capitalist ideologies and the existence of illegal churches that promoted evangelism the way the Chinese government sees as harmful to the overall wellbeing of its people. But that aside, religious persecutions are actually a by-product of the US-China trade war.
A quick look at Google Trends tells us exactly what is the relationship between the trade war and religious persecution. Before the advent of the recent US-China trade war, awareness of the trade war always accompanies religious persecution (persecution here isn’t limited to Christianity).
However, when the US-China trade war broke out, “Sinicization” as a topic suddenly came into the picture. Following the sudden introduction of “Sinicization”, there were talks of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) wanting to sinicize Christianity with an added attempt to “rewrite” the Bible.
Now, the thought of “rewriting” scriptures sparked fears amongst the Christian communities in South East Asia. Rumors abound throughout Asia that the rewriting of scriptures is an attempt to sinicize the Christian theology . Though this isn’t official news, rumors spread like wildfires throughout the internet. Now, there is news on social media that the rewritten Bibles have reached the shores of Malaysia. In a social media post, it was written that the translation of the Bible published by the Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM) translated Romans 8:3 to say that God caused Jesus to have the same sinful nature as human beings.
Social media posts like these sparked a lot of angst and concern within the Christian circle towards the registered Churches in China and the government that governs it. To make matters worse, it encourages believers to “buy Bibles with caution”.
But truth be told, the Bible has been rewritten and translated hundreds and thousands of times. There may be errors in some of the translations, but we do our best as laypersons to counter-check the meaning of verses with other translations whenever we’re unsure or whenever we find it questionable. There was no problem with this arrangement throughout the ages. However, why is there a big hoo-ha now regarding the Chinese’ translation?
Instead of looking at the background of this translation, I think the deeper problem that needs to be resolved here is truly the hatred that was sown within the Christian communities towards each other… More notably, I’m referring to the straining of the relationship between the world’s churches and the registered China churches under the CCP.
Will you question an entire denomination of the church when a verse of their translation was flagged out as problematic? Will you discriminate against an entire denomination when an outsider (in this case, a former leader of an illegal unregistered church) claim that the leaders of the TSPM are rewriting the Bible? Will you sow seeds of distrust within the body of Christ just because you’ve been swept around by the waves of global politics?
And even if the CCP is rewriting the Bible and the Christian theology, do you truly think that God will allow the CCP or the TPSM to alter the Word of God to the point where it’s beyond recognition? Do you not know that Jesus, being God, claimed that “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My Words will never pass away.” And it is He who will hold firmly to this promise? No one, ever, can change His words beyond recognition!
I think it is obvious now that all of these “fake news” is but part of a global attempt to cause unrest amongst people groups. And in this context, it is used to sow hatred amongst Chinese Christians towards the CCP and the TSPM. Such hatred will cause people to stand on the side of the US and the illegal churches while thinking that they’re standing on the side of “Truth”.
But in all honesty, all of these so-called “persecutions” are but distractions to something deeper and more sinister. And this, too, was written in the Bible.