Wednesday, July 12, 2006

PRAY TODAY FOR YOUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS!

He is the head of one of the largest house-church networks estimated to have more than 10 million members. He has been well known by the international community as one of the house-church patriarchs. He is a co-author of the book "House Churches of China's Confession of Faith and Declaration" in 1999. He has been featured in a number of international articles and books, including "Jesus in Beijing" (2003) by former Time magazine writer David Aikman, Newsweek (May 12, 2004), Charisma and Christianity Today. And on July 4th he was sentenced to seven and one half years in prison in China, charged with "attaining a passport through cheating" and with "illegal border crossing" for his international traveling including to the U.S., Australia, Egypt and Singapore for world mission conferences. Pastor Zhang Rongliang is 55 and no stranger to imprisonment. He has already spent 12 years in prison for his faith since his secret baptism in 1969 during five separate detentions. He has experienced extreme torture, including electric shocks, during his prison terms.

A great reminder to us of the suffering that our brothers and sisters go through all of the time for their faith in Christ. God in His sovereignty has not allowed most of us to face any real persecution, but for others in our family it is a continual way of life. I encourage you to pray today for this pastor, his family and others who today will be treated in the most inhumane ways simply because they follow Jesus. I also wonder just how it is the rest of the western world can idly sit by, doing nothing but giving an occasional verbal statement of disappointment with China's actions. China is a rogue Communist state that is one of the leading persecutors of Christians in the world and should be called such and treated as such.

blog you later,
pastor tom