Chinese Christians have no option but to stand up for their faith in the face of the communist government trying to rewrite the Bible, a persecution watchdog group has warned.
"The Church in China needs to move out of the passive zone and be actively integrating their faith into every part of their walk in China, including standing up if the Chinese government decides it wants to 'edit' the Bible," Open Doors CEO David Curry told Mission Network News.
Curry added that the Church cannot be bystanders in the face of such danger.
"I think we have to call it out. I think it's an issue of prayer and letting people know in the global community, that we're aware," he added. "Whenever Christians are persecuted, we need to stand up and let our voice be heard."
Bob Fu, founder of ChinaAid, revealed back in September at a House hearing in Washington D.C. that the communist plan to rewrite the Bible is part of the initiative to "Sincize" Christianity, or make it more compatible with the state ideology.
Fu warned in his written testimony at the time that under the new regulations, enacted in February, religious activity sites will "accept the guidance, supervision, and inspection of relevant departments of the local people's government regarding the management of personnel, finances, assets, accounting, security, fire protection, protection of relics, health and disease prevent and so forth."
Part of the plan will also see an effort to re-translate the Old Testament of the Bible, providing new commentary also to the New Testament, in order to champion socialist ideals. Buddhist scripture and Confucian teachings will be used toward that purpose.
"There are outlines that the new Bible should not look westernized and [should look] Chinese and reflect Chinese ethics of Confucianism and socialism," Fu told The Christian Post after the hearing.
"The Old Testament will be messed up. The New Testament will have new commentaries to interpret it."
China has for years also been arresting pastors, shutting down churches and congregations, and removing church rooftop crosses.
"They are trying to force out unregistered churches. Those churches that are registered, they approve sermons, these kinds of things, slowly turning up the heat and making it a 'Chinese' church, not a Church of Jesus. That's their concept, anyway. What will happen practically, as this plays out, is yet to be (determined)," Curry told MNN.
As for fears that as many as 20,000 underground house churches are being pressured either to close, or to pledge loyalty to the Communist party and join the state-sanctioned church, the Open Doors CEO added:
"Governments like to do this sort of thing. What is important is that the Church remain fully followers of Jesus, not first, citizens of some country here, but first, kingdom citizens and follow the Scriptures, as they are written, and abide by that."