According to The Chinese Constitution, a Chinese person has freedom of religion. However, this freedom is limited to five religions: Islam, Buddhism, Taoism, Catholicism, and Protestantism. Not only are the choices limited, where they can worship is limited as well. China has what is called the Three-Self Patriotic Movement (read about them here) – these are registered, state-run and state-approved churches. Some would ask why not work inside the framework of these churches. It is being done and it seems foreigners are allowed to teach in some capacity. So why not?
Apart from the ecclesiastical issues ( the church is state controlled, often led by women), there are also serious doctrinal issues as well. Just recently, a registered church in our city put out a short post on how to become a Christian. There are three parts to this post and although the first step is not necessarily terrible, it is similar to what you would find on many Gospel tracts, it is the second two parts which contain serious doctrinal error. Below, I have translated it for you:
Through “Decision Prayer” make it clear to God that you wish to become a Christian.
The most important step in wanting to become a Christian is to pray tell God that you want to become one. Christians call this prayer “Decision Prayer”. This prayer’s meaning is that you already have decided you want to be a Christian. The content of this “Decision Prayer” should include:
- Admit that in front of a holy God, you are a sinner. Ask God if he will forgive all of our sins because we don’t know all the sins we have sinned against God. (For example: being away from God, not worshiping him as the one true God, lie, covet, selfish, etc.)
- Say that you want to repent towards God, become a Christian and believe that Jesus died on the cross for our sins as a sacrifice. It is by believing in Jesus that our sins are placed on Him so they can be forgiven. You must also believe that Jesus was raised by the power of God.
- Express that you want Jesus to come into your life and have him come to be your Savior (God who Saves). Tell God that, because you believe in Jesus, you want Him to make you into a righteous person and make you into his child. By doing this, you receive God’s blessings and obtain eternal life.
A clear “Decision Prayer” is spoken in faith by believing in Jesus’ name. (Because Jesus instructed us: when a man prays to God, we must ask in faith by Jesus’ name) By doing this, God will hear this prayer. Furthermore, when the prayer is finished, we usually say “amen”, this expresses that we are praying from a sincere heart.
Almost all who have decided to believe in Jesus or pray this “Decision Prayer”, followed someone who spoke this prayer or read some church’s printed materials, books or web page. They then prayed this prayer out of a sincere heart. (Prayer is words spoken to an omnipresent God, coming out of a sincere heart speaking truth. Because of this, no matter where we pray, God can hear. Furthermore, although outwardly we follow another person, books or a website’s written prayer, only what is needed is a sincere heart in front of God.)
Below provides you a “Decision Prayer”; this prayer is in accordance with both the Bible and the church.
If you wish to become a Christian, you can use a sincere heart and pray the “Decision Prayer” below. When you finish praying, you have completed the first and most important step. From that time forward, your sins will all be forgiven, and in front of God, you are a righteous person. Finally, because you believe in Jesus, you become God’s child and can receive His blessings.
Beloved God, I recognize before you I am a sinner. I now want to repent towards you and become a Christian. I wish to believe that Jesus died on the cross for my sins and because of my belief in Jesus, have all my sins be forgiven. I also believe that Jesus rose again by your power on the third day after his death. I now wish to have Jesus enter my life, and allow Jesus to be the savior of my life so I can before you be a righteous person, can be called your child, can obtain your peace and blessings, and can obtain eternal life. Thank you for hearing my prayer. I now before you pray, leaning in faith on Jesus’ holy name ask. Amen.