China Crackdown on Christianity… and in the U.S. as well!

China Crackdown on Christianity… and in the U.S. as well!: Persecution is heightening for Christians in China. What does this look like? How has persecution affected the church across history? What are the differences between the church in America and the Church in China? How committed are we? Does this all go back to government control? Tune in to hear the discussion today!

Air Date: 10/16/2018

Guest: Randy Forbes

On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton


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Transcription note:  As a courtesy for our listeners’ enjoyment, we are providing a transcription of this podcast. Transcription will be released shortly. However, as this is transcribed from a live talk show, words and sentence structure were not altered to fit grammatical, written norms in order to preserve the integrity of the actual dialogue between the speakers. Additionally, names may be misspelled or we might use an asterisk to indicate a missing word because of the difficulty in understanding the speaker at times. We apologize in advance.

Faith And The Culture

Rick:

You’ve found your way to the intersection of faith and the culture. This is WallBuilders Live! Where we’re talking about today’s hottest topics on policy, faith, and the culture. We always do that from a biblical, historical, and constitutional perspective.

We’re here with David Barton, America’s premier historian and our founder at WallBuilders. And my name is Rick Green, I’m a former Texas state legislator. And Tim Barton is with us. He’s a national speaker and pastor and the president of WallBuilders.

Later in the program Randy Forbes will be with us. He’s a former congressman, longtime congressman from Virginia, just fantastic guy now heading up the Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation.

And we’d also encourage you to visit our websites today. WallBuildersLive.com is our radio site. You can get a list of our stations across the country, you can also get archives of the program from the last few months. And then go to WallBuilders.com for all kinds of tools you can get for yourself and your family to help educate, and inspire you, and equip you, to be good citizens and help us restore America’s Constitution.

So, David, Tim, later in the program Randy will be with us. We’ve been talking about persecution and religious liberty around the world. And recently, we talked about what was happening in the Middle East, but also a lot happening in China right now. In fact, some of our listeners have been asking us if the the growth of the church in China was still occurring even under this recent crackdown where they’re literally shutting down churches.

Coercive Re-Education

David:

Yeah, they’re shutting down churches, but they’re also having reeducation programs as well. And that’s been a communist trick for a long time is, “We don’t like the way you think, so we’ll take you out of your religious life, we’ll put you in a reeducation camp, and re-educate you to the way you really should think. We government people know how you should think, and what you should think, and what you should do, and we don’t like you going to church. And particularly, because we didn’t approve the church and approve what they’re teaching, so we’ll just re-educate you.”

So, this coercive reeducation is a part of the persecution that’s going on. You don’t get to choose your faith or your church to attend with the government will tell you what to do.

Tim:

Which is fairly common when you have a communist regime, right, when you have kind of–

David:

And, by the way, can we say socialism with that too?

Tim:

Well, yes.

David:

Because that’s communism light basically.

Rick:

That’s right.

Tim:

It’s all a Marxist ideology. So, it’s just different levels of that. So socialism is a little less than communism, but it’s this Marxist philosophy that the government needs to take care of people, and solve problems, and they’re smarter than you, and they can do things better than you can. But it’s interesting  even though we’re looking at this and certainly addressing something that is a very sad issue, very, very, tough for people living in China who are people of faith who are Christians.

The Impact of Persecution

Tim:

And yet in the history of Christianity persecution of Christians has not always had a negative effect on Christianity. Although, certainly, negative impact on the immediate physical lives of those it touches oftentimes. This is where you see oftentimes in the history of Christianity that under persecution there was a lot of growth of the church.

So, even though at one point it looked like China was being a little welcoming and promoting some ideas of Christianity because they were seeing some of the practical benefit and the attitudes of some of the “laborers”, of some of the workers, some of the people, they were seeing positive results from it. So, it seemed like maybe they were being more friendly to it.

What’s interesting is under communism you can’t be too friendly to the idea that there is a God who gives you rights. Because if there is a God who gives you rights it means that government is not the one that gives you rights. So, you really do have to kind of squelch some of this which could make sense a little bit in this China idea of why they’re squelching some of this religious operation of Christians.

But again, to me, I’m very curious to see what’s going to happen in the long run because in the history of Christianity, although you never want to go through persecution, you never want to see people go through persecution, it’s never derailed the Christian movement or the church. In fact, generally, it’s had the opposite impact.

Rick:

I wonder if that’s because it makes you, man, it makes you exercise true Christianity, right? Not just say the words, but man, you’ve got to really dig deep if you’re in persecution like that. And does that make people more committed actually?

David:

Well,  I don’t know if it does or not. Here we are in America. And let me just throw out a perspective. Do you know what percentage of people in America go to church?

Tim:

Define “go to church” – like Christmas and Easter?

David:

Well, have any kind of quasi regular church attendance. I don’t know if we’re saying it’s–

Tim:

You’re saying quasi regular, so is that once a month? Because–

The Difference in Church Attendance

David:

It’s not defined necessarily. Let say–

Tim:

So, people that identify–

David:

Yeah, they identify as going to church.

Tim:

If you took a survey and they said, “Yes, I go to church.” Oh, I would say 30 or 40 percent of America.

David:

Yeah, 37 percent. So, what that means is in America on any given Sunday if you count that as regular church attenders you’re probably looking at about 110-115 million people going to church on Sunday. China in the underground church has more than 200 million people going to church.

Tim:

Wow.

David:

That’s the illegal church. That’s the one that the government is trying to crack down on. And you look at where we are in America with all the freedoms we’ve got and they’re in China with no freedoms. And actually, Randy Forbes is going to be on with us in a moment. But Randy, in his office in Washington D.C., had the three major leaders of the underground church in his office. And between those three guys they’ve spent more than 60 years in jail for being pastors of underground churches.

Tim:

And it’s also worth noting that none of those guys, their names are not known.

David:

That’s right.

Willing to Pay the Price

Tim:

So, none of those guys you you could say, “Oh, so and so.” No, it was like, “Well, this is the apostle Paul, and this is James, and this is John, and this is who–” And it’s like, wait, that’s not the Apostle Paul. No, today, that’s the apostle Paul.

David:

That’s right.

Tim:

Right. It’s very interesting because, dad, as you mentioned, they’ve spent a lot of time in prison already. But if it came out who they were and what they did it might not be prison–

David:

Yeah.

Tim:

–hat they’re penalized with. It might be the end of their life.

David:

Yeah. So, it’s a whole different look, but it still goes to this thing of government control. And when you get government control you lose freedom. Now, over there they’re willing to pay a high price to keep the right to worship God. Over here we kind of take it for granted and too many of us don’t do anything with it. So, in China you actually have an underground church that is almost twice the size of the aboveground church in America.

But nonetheless, with all this going on there, the persecution that’s really kind of heightened in recent months in China, the reeducation camps that are going on, we thought Randy Forbes would be a great guy to address this. Because Randy is a guy who in Congress headed what’s called the China Caucus.

And because there’s between 10 and 13,000 bills introduced every session of Congress, nobody can keep up with all that many, so they have caucuses. There are caucuses that look at agriculture, the agriculture caucus. Or you have the women’s caucus, or the bicycle caucus, you have the submarine caucus. Well, the China caucus keeps up with what’s going on in China and it’s particularly because of religious persecution.

So, Randy Forbes who’s headed the Congressional Caucus Foundation and now teaches at the War College in Rhode Island, the Naval War College. Randy was the guy who ran the China Caucus in the House and really knew all these guys, and really knows the situation in China, and what’s happening there.

Rick:

Randy Forbes, our special guest. Stay with us. You’re listening to WallBuilders Live.

Join Us In Israel!

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Rick:

Welcome back. Thanks for staying with us here on WallBuilders Live. Our good friend, former Congressman Randy Forbes, back with us. Always good to have you, Randy. Appreciate your time, man.

Randy Forbes:

Well, Rick, it’s always great to be with you and I appreciate all the good work you guys do.

Rick:

Well, we certainly appreciated your service in Congress, love what you’re doing right now with the Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation and just continuing to work on protecting religious liberty across the country, and frankly, around the world. And that’s part of what we wanted to ask you about was just some of this crackdown in China. I know something that you follow closely and just want to get your thoughts. It looks like it’s getting worse not better over there.

Lessons to Be Learned

Randy Forbes:

Well, I think, Rick, that is probably the case – I do think there’s a couple of lessons that we can learn from what’s going on and some things that we can glean that are kind of issues going on behind the story that we might normally read about. I know that one of your listeners, I think, had even questioned about how that we had commented before, and I know that you guys have commented, at one particular point in time that we could have more Christians in China than we do in the United States and talking about kind of the spiritual movement that was going on among Christians in China. I don’t think this negates any of that.

Rick:

Yeah.

Randy Forbes:

I think the Lord is still moving in a very powerful way in China. I think what you saw here is not very good. It’s the government cracking down on primarily house churches. That is, anyone who’s meeting and doesn’t register with the state. But you find even when you talk to Chinese officials that they recognize that they can’t control the power that’s going on and the spirit that’s really moving and drawing people to Jesus Christ in China.

But, Rick, there are some big lessons for us to look and some takeaways here.  China now has that they require all of their churches to be registered and obviously follow certain prescripts on what they can say and what they can’t say. Oftentimes, when you go in to talk or interview someone in China they’ll have someone, a representative, from the Communist Party there who’s actually trying to do the talking for them.

But there’s a little bit of analogy to what we see in the United States with the tax people and the IRS–

Rick:

That’s true.

Maybe We Need to Be Concerned About the United States Too

Randy Forbes:

–and how they come into churches today, and they’re saying that you have to be registered with them, and then they’re telling you what you can say and what you can’t say or else you’re going to have those privileges taken away from you. So, we kind of get concerned about China, but maybe we need to be a little bit concerned about what’s going on here in the United States as well.

Rick:

No doubt. No doubt. And that’s a spot on analogy and it’s exactly the same thing. It’s  controlling the message, the very thing that that the founder did not want us to have to deal with to have some sort of  government approval over over what you would share, or think, or believe – especially in your in your houses of worship.

Randy Forbes:

What you are finding here is something that we’ve seen that the anti faith movement has really been successful in doing to Christians which is to create an artificial government imposed price tag for living out your faith.

So, in China if you dare to worship the Lord in one of these house churches, in something that isn’t registered, isn’t scripted by the state, you know that you could lose your job, you could lose benefits that you have over there, and etc, etc.. Well, we’re seeing the same thing happen in the United States–

Rick:

Yeah.

Randy Forbes:

–where more and more now, we did not used to see this, but we’re seeing government coming in and basically saying, “If you believe one way, if you try to live out your faith, and it’s not something that government approves of, that they can take away your economic livelihood, and they can actually take away your business, and your license to practice a business. And all of that stuff that we need to be paying attention to and looking at.

The other thing that’s incredibly important, Rick, if I can take just a second to share this as well.  

Rick:

Sure.

The Reason For the Crackdown

Randy Forbes:

If you listen to what the Chinese government says is the reason for the crackdown it’s because they don’t want anything greater than the state. So, they’re cracking down on all forms of religion and faith in China because people who believe in faith they know that that’s a greater allegiance they have than even what they have with the state. And the reason that’s so important for us to recognize is, you know, you’ve worked hard, David’s worked hard on getting “In God We Trust” up across the country and people sometimes don’t realize why that’s so worth it.

One of the reasons that’s so important is because our country is perhaps the only country in the world that has dared to say that the state is not the end all, that we have something greater than the state. And when you walk into a building, a federal building, and you see a picture of the president, and the vice president, and a secretary perhaps of that particular agency. The reason they’re on the wall is not to for some egotistical reasons because they just want to see their picture.

The reason they’re on the wall is because it shows the chain of command. It shows that when you walk into that federal building, that agency, it’s not run and owned by the employees that are working there. It’s owned by the American people and they have elected these individuals as the chain of command. But what’s so important to us to know is that when we say our national motto is “In God We Trust” and we have that up on the wall, we’re saying our chain of command is something greater than some committee in Congress, or what the majority may want to do, or what somebody may vote to do tomorrow. That there’s something much higher and much greater than that.

John Locke Thinking

Randy Forbes:

To some people that might have been John Locke thinking it was natural rights. To, Thomas Jefferson, maybe, it was a deistic god that created us and took his hands off of us. But for many people it was like what Benjamin Franklin wrote that God interferes in the affairs of man. And it’s important that we fight to make sure we never get to a point like China where the end all is the state and is government. And I fear that we’re headed there if we don’t make some sharp turn around in our country.

Rick:

Yeah, Randy, I couldn’t agree more and I think even the second point that you made about the comparison to people now being run out of their businesses and fined, threatened with jail, for simply choosing to live out their faith. And I don’t know how many times I’ve read headlines like that in the last couple of years and just had to pause and go, “Is that really happening in the United States?” That’s what you would expect from China, or North Korea, or something like that. But we see those things happen here and it seems like we’re getting a little bit, I don’t know, inoculated to it or something. People just don’t have the same response that they seem to have a couple three years ago when that stuff first started happening.

So, how do we combat that? It’s kind of that Overton Window thing where we just get more and more used to those things and then the left is able to push even further and continue to push us inside our churches and not allow us to live out our faith. So, how do we get Christians to realize what they’re losing?

A Joshua Generation

Randy Forbes:

Well, I think first of all we take steps like Joshua did. Joshua, to me, you and I have talked about this before, but he’s still one of those leaders you see that really had no Achilles heel. I’ve never found any weaknesses with Joshua.

Rick:

Yeah.

Randy Forbes:

He was just a kind of a perfect leader. But at the end of his career he brought all the people of Israel out and he did three major things to them. First of all, he said, “I need to tell you the history.” So, he describes, chapter after chapter, the history of what God had done for them, and the history of where they’d come, and how God had been there to answer what happened.

Then the second thing that he did was he actually made them choose. He didn’t let them just go and not have a choice. And that’s when he said, “Choose this day whom you’re going to serve.” And then the third thing, he said, “Regardless of who you choose I’m going to choose God.”

Well, I think we’re in that same world. Every generation, I think we’re there now. We’ve got to continue teaching people across this country, reminding them of the great history of faith we’ve had in this country, how God has been there for us, what He’s done. We need to put that out. And you guys do such a wonderful job in doing that.

But the second thing is – we can’t dodge the choices. We have to say– you’ve got real choices to make whether you’re an elected leader, or a political leader, or whether you’re a business leader, or a church leader, you’ve got choices in today’s world to make.

And then the third thing we have to do is say, but regardless of what choice you make, I want you to know that I’m going to choose to live for Jesus Christ and I’m going to choose to follow the scriptures.

Rick:

That’s so good.

Continuing to Fight the Good Fight of Faith

Randy Forbes:

And if we do that, we will do what generation after generation has done which is to continue to keep faith alive and to fight that good fight of faith that Paul talked about.

Rick:

So good, brother, so encouraging. It’s why I love talking to you because you hit it eyes wide open and say, “Here’s what we’re facing. Let’s not ignore these challenges and the things that are coming.” But at the same time we’ve got an optimistic attitude about what our duty is and taking those actions. And I love the Joshua example. I’m going to use that, brother. So, I’ll give you credit the first time I use it, but after that I’m going to just act like I came up with it on my own.

Randy Forbes:

I reckon I’ve done that to you before, too, so, Rick, that is good.

Rick:

Hey, love you, brother. God bless you. Thank you so much for your continued work for our country and thanks for coming on and sharing with us today.

Randy Forbes:

Thanks, Rick, it’s always great to be with you. Have a great day.

Rick:

Stay with us, folks. We’ll be right back with David and Tim Barton.

This Precarious Moment Book

David:

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These are all problems that are solvable if we’ll get involved. So you can grab the book This Precarious Moment and find out what you can do to make a difference. This Precarious Moment is available at WallBuilders.com.

Rick:

Welcome back. Thanks for staying with us here on WallBuilders Live. Special thanks to former Congressman Randy Forbes for joining us today and just for his continued great work.

David, Tim, before we jump into the China thing, just quick on Randy – he’s been a good friend of WallBuilders for many, many, years and was a fantastic congressman. Those are the kind of leaders we need more of. That’s moral, ethical, leadership with the courage to do what’s right. What a great example.

David:

Yeah, he was a great example and of all the congressmen we dealt with, he is one of the top guys, I think, in being a strategist as well. He would always look not at the bills, but he would look down the road from the bill, see years ahead, and say this is what this is going to lead to or do. So, he always had a different perspective, he was very good. And that’s why I’m glad they have him at the Naval War College.

And by the way, he gets all sorts of comments because, “You’re not military, but man, you sure see this better than a lot of the military guys do.” And he really does. So, from the big picture perspective Randy is just an absolutely fabulous guy to be able to look at things and tell us where it’s going to lead.

Comparing China and the U.S.

Rick:

So, let’s jump back into the China thing and the comparison to the U.S.. I didn’t expect that response from him, but man, it made me really have to stop and almost double take and think about those analogies– not analogies– those comparisons are very real. Some of those areas of persecution, and granted, a very different level of persecution, but the same principle is being violated by our own government right now at a lower level of intensity and consequence. But that’s where it begins, right?

David:

Yeah, I was fascinated because you said what’s going on in China. He said, “Well, here’s China, but by the way, the United States is doing this. And here’s China–” I was going, “Oh, that’s really good.” The government is trying to control churches over here – 501 c3 and as you pointed out there is now a price tag from the government to be able to live out your faith over here because the government is coming after you.

For those that don’t remember, even this past session of the U.S. Supreme Court we had the Supreme Court get involved to overturn a government decision at a lower level where they went into a woman’s home and said, “You can’t pray in your own home. You can’t do that.” Well, fortunately, the Supreme Court overturned it. But the fact that we even had any level of government say you can’t pray in your home, and the fact that it was upheld by higher levels of government, finally got dumped at the U.S. Supreme Court.

I started thinking it’s almost kind of humorous to hear him say that because we’re in America, we’re free enough. And I was saying, “Oh, you know, but he’s right.” It’s the same pattern of behavior. And it can lead the same direction even though it’s a different form of government. So, I was really intrigued with the parallels he drew because they really did fit.

Rick:

If you think about the– even just the freedom of thought and now the whole thought police thing that’s happening across the country with you turn down business, or you choose not to participate in something because of the way you believe and your own thoughts. I wasn’t kidding when I was telling Randy, I’ve seen those headlines.

And even now two or three years into this really very bad precedent that’s being set in places like Colorado, and Washington State, and others. I see those headlines and I literally every time I feel like I’m visiting a foreign country and seeing a headline that would make sense in a China, or North Korea, or even a lot of European nations, but not the U.S.. It’s just, to me, it’s still surreal when I see a guy getting arrested or run out of business because he’s not willing to bow at the altar of somebody else’s beliefs.

You Have to Teach the Rising Generation to Be Free

Tim:

It really is such an interesting indication, too, of what we are teaching in law schools, or teaching in colleges, or teaching in high schools. The fact that we don’t understand what the Bill of Rights was all about. We don’t understand why did we separate from Great Britain, what did government tyranny look like? What was it we were actually fighting against? Why did we do the Constitution that puts specific limitations on the government to say they can never do certain things,  they can never violate this, they– We’ve just forgotten what America was about, and what we were trying to escape from, and what we were trying to establish.

And this is where it’s very interesting that you do see – whether it’s military at times, or police at times, or senators, or congressmen, or our president, people that are doing and saying things that are in direct contradiction to what the Constitution says, what the Founding Fathers intended. So, it really does reflect that we’ve become a very ignorant people.

And one of the things that, I think it was John Jay who said, and Ronald Reagan said something very similar, but the idea that you have to teach the rising generation to be free. Reagan said–

David:

Yeah, that was John Jay. “Teach the rising generation to be free.”

Tim:

And then Ronald Reagan talks about the right to freedom is not an innate thing that’s passed down in the bloodline, right. This is something that people have to be taught what freedom is. And if we don’t take care of freedom, if we don’t respect this idea and concept, the notion that we the people are in charge, and what freedom looks like, and these inalienable rights that come from God. If we don’t respect and protect these things we will lose everything the Founding Fathers worked and fought so hard to establish.

If We Lose Freedom Here

Rick:

But it’s an interesting correlation and parallel because you look at China and we can go, “Wow, how bad is that.” And then we look and go, “Wait, those same principles are already beginning in America. They’re already being used in America. Some of them have been here for decades.” So, it is something we better wake up. As much as we’re praying for China, and the church in China, and we want to see good things for them. The American church better wake up–

Rick:

Yeah.

Tim:

–the American people better wake up or we’re not very far behind China.

Rick:

Well, and if we lose them here, what does that do for our ability to help people in the Middle East, or in China, or in these other places around the world? If you lose freedom here where do people run to?

David:

And, by the way, let me go back to athletics for a bit. Because when we were in training we were doing our physical workouts and stuff, the coaches would always say, “Use it or lose it.” And it’s the kind of thing that if you don’t exercise that muscle and use it then you will lose it.

Well, that’s where we are with our freedoms and our rights. We have a right to free speech. We have a right to exercise our religion and we’ve got to use that. And we can’t say, “Well, the government says I can’t do it here.” No. Do it. Use that right or lose that right. And that’s what every single one of us can do at the workplace, at your church, at wherever it is, you exercise the rights you’ve been given before you lose those rights.

China Crackdown on Christianity… and in the U.S. as well!

Rick:

One of the best ways you can be a, what we call a “force multiplier” or increase that voice, is coming alongside us at WallBuilders. Helping us to increase our voice. Give us a bigger megaphone to have interviews like we had today with Randy Forbes and to get this truth out there. And you can do that by going to WallBuilders.com today. Making a one time contribution or becoming one of our monthly donors. Give up that cup of coffee, just one cup of coffee a month, and make that five dollar a month contribution or whatever you actually can do. We’d sure appreciate that. Thanks so much for being a partner and a team member with us here at WallBuilders.

You’ve been listening to WallBuilders Live.

2018-10-16T17:46:01+00:00October 16th, 2018|Government & Policy|0 Comments

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