I just saw an article in USA Today that seems darkly prophetic. You can find it here: http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2011-04-21-China-Christians-Easter.htm
I have been aware that we as a country are borrowing heavily from China, as annual payments on the interest
on our national debt are now more than the value of all we export in a year (GNP).
I understand that our schools are trying to model themselves after the Chinese – while at the same time, they are looking to our older models which brought us greater success in years gone by.
When did we stop looking at results and instead chase after global trends? Maybe we are destined to be like Rome, which we ourselves used for a civic model despite the fact that it fell after a few hundred years. The world has been in awe of what America has built for almost two and a half centuries, but we seen to have no clue how we did it.
This article seems to foreshadow what may come for us as the Church in America. The tax-exempt status of churches has historically been based on the belief that “Religion, morality, and knowledge” are necessary to good government! (See the Northwest Ordinance of 1787) It’s no stretch to suggest that the American people no longer believe this. Without this organic conviction, there is no basis to continue giving any advantages to the Church, and as a consequence, any allowances it has enjoyed will go with it.
China has no problem limiting which churches to allow or disallow because as a people they do not see a need to promote free worship. There is no interest in empowering individuals, because government takes care of people – not God. With the current direction of government policy across party lines, I see us heading this direction.
If worship becomes limited to institutions in America, there is no doubt that government regulation will increase. House churches here already face challenges in some communities based on local ordinances that try to limit worshiping in homes. The attending of events can always be accommodated in our culture, but when it comes to walking out a discipleship lifestyle, nothing can transform a culture like home-based fellowship. If we lose the freedom to assembly as believers in our own homes, we are going to be in big trouble as a nation. Let’s pray that the influence of more than 60% of the Church in China who defying the government by meeting in homes transforms the government before it turns into a blood bath.