As someone who works with house churches in a number of nations including my own country of Canada, I am always interested in what is happening in the worldwide House Church Movement.
I recently discovered that a number of underground house church movements in China have five pillars that they build upon. Not to be confused with Islam’s five pillars – another blog for another day!
1> They expect every true believer to have a deep, deep commitment to prayer. Often in North America prayer is an option and not a regular event in the life of the believer. Prayer is seen as something we do when all else fails or things have reached crisis proportions. And, I have seen this approach to prayer creeping in to the church in the former Soviet Union nations.
In the underground church in China prayer is an absolute essential for a healthy Christian life and witness. And, they expect every believer too make a practical but deep, deep commitment to daily prayer.
2> Each believer must have a deep commitment to the Word of God. Again, here in North America and creeping into other nations, is a total disregard for the Word of God. The Word of God, the Bible, is no longer seen as a basic necessity to a healthy, spiritual life. It is not seen as food for the soul and spirit. It is certainly not viewed as the authority for the way Christians live and what they believe.
In the underground church in China they expect every believer to be committed to the Word of God as their authority and as a source of spiritual food. As well, it is the first place they go to hear the voice of the Spirit.
3> There is a serious commitment to the sharing of the Gospel of the Kingdom (Matthew 24:14). This is the only true Gospel. The Gospel of salvation is a false gospel because it does not deal with repentance and Paul states that without repentance there is no salvation (2 Corinthians 7:8-10)
In the underground church in China believers are expected to share their faith in a risen Jesus Christ with others regardless of the risks that this entails. Again, it is not an option. It is not something that only those who are called as evangelists do. It is not just for the extroverts. It is not something you do when you “feel like it.” Every believer is expected to share the reason for the hope that is within them.
4> Chinese believers in the underground house church movements (and there are many movements) are asked to have a regular expectation of miracles happening when they gather and when they pray. Because of their prayer life; because they believe in the Holy Spirit; because they believe in God’s power – they expect to see the supernatural on a daily basis. It is an expectation.
Regretfully, here in North America church and the individual Christian life could go on without any changes if God were simply to stop being with them. The supernatural is not a daily thought or exception and thus is not an every day happening or experience.
5> The every day believer in the underground house church movements in China are asked to embrace the suffering that will come their way for the glory of Jesus. Suffering for the faith is simply a natural expectation of having made a decision to follow Jesus as their Lord and Saviour.
The early believers in the book of Acts had the same attitude of being thankful for being able to suffer for Christ’s sake.
Acts 5:40-41 “Rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonour for the Name.”
Apparently we have much to learn from the example of the Christian believers in the underground house church movements in China.