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Evangelism at Olympics in Question

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The son of Billy Graham has been preaching and meeting with government officials in China — and he created somewhat of a storm in recent comments to Chinese press.

While in Beijing, evangelist Franklin Graham told Chinese reporters he is opposed to missionary work during the Olympic Games this summer in Beijing. Some Christian groups have announced plans to proselytize during the Games in August — but Graham, recognizing that Chinese law prohibits such actions, said he would not encourage anything illegal. Click here to read the rest from OneNewsNow!

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The son of Billy Graham has been preaching and meeting with government officials in China — and he created somewhat of a storm in recent comments to Chinese press.

While in Beijing, evangelist Franklin Graham told Chinese reporters he is opposed to missionary work during the Olympic Games this summer in Beijing. Some Christian groups have announced plans to proselytize during the Games in August — but Graham, recognizing that Chinese law prohibits such actions, said he would not encourage anything illegal. (See related story)

Bob Fu heads the China Aid Association. “The Chinese government leaders and also the [government-sanctioned] Three-Self Patriotic movement leaders have spoken publicly to the media that the foreign evangelistic effort in China during the Olympics is not welcome and will not be tolerated,” notes Fu.

But the house church leadership — the independent, underground church movement — thinks differently. According to Fu, it is a matter of who heads the church. And it is certainly not the government, he says.

“To the house church leaders, it’s an issue of the lordship of Christ to the church,” Fu offers. “And if the church ceases to do evangelism, is it the true church? It’s a big question.”

It is against the law to evangelize outside church buildings in China, and no one can legally be baptized unless they are at least 18 years old. And according to Fu, there is more. “You are not allowed even to have fellowship with foreign Christian leaders without explicit approval from the Communist Party’s religious affairs bureau,” he explains.

Fu feels like the situation will not change until the government understands that Jesus is the head of the church.

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