“Raymond” in China

Dear Friends,

This week, please intercede with us for “Raymond” (name has been changed for security reasons) in China.

The world’s most populous nation, China is home to over 1.4 billion people. Within 15 years, China will likely also have the world’s largest Christian population, as unregistered and registered churches continue to grow. According to 2020 data from Pew, 75% of Chinese are irreligious or practice folk religion, 18% are Buddhist, 5% are Christian, and 2% are Muslim. In recent years, the Chinese government has tightened control over religious minorities, detaining over a million Muslim Uighurs in concentration camps, shutting down and demolishing churches, arresting and surveilling prominent leaders, and censoring religious literature.

Raymond is pursuing a PhD in Systematic Theology from the London School of Theology in the UK. His research focuses on portrayals of Christ in the Gospel of John and the Book of Revelation, and their implications for Christian worship and missions in China.

Raymond shares the following message:

Dear Fellow Pilgrims in Christ,
My name is “Raymond,” and I am from mainland China. I have been so grateful for the opportunity to study at the London School of Theology (LST), a place that not only maintains high levels of evangelical scholarship, but also respects my own context. I am also deeply thankful for ScholarLeaders’ support through the years, enabling me to continue my academic and spiritual journey thus far. 
This past year has been incredibly difficult for all of us, no matter where we are or what we are doing. Besides COVID, it has also been heartbreaking to see so many conflicts and tragedies all around the world. 
Though the situation for the Church in China is not the worst, it has been getting worse quickly in recent years. Freedom for any non-official ideology is shrinking rapidly, and Chinese Christians are constantly facing challenges related to maintaining our Christian identity in society and even in our families. 
Some people think all this is happening “out of the blue,” but it looks more like a planned strategy that has been followed ever since David Aikman released his portrait of Chinese Christianity in his 2003 book, Jesus in Beijing. The governors are possibly availing themselves of the same advice once given to the Egyptian pharaoh, as they fear that Christians are becoming “too many and too mighty” (Ex. 1:9).
As God’s adopted children and as siblings in World Christianity, Chinese Christians have developed our own habits of living and worshiping in this land. In the face of continuous challenges from Chinese society, my PhD project responds biblically to the moral and ethical concerns embedded in Chinese culture, with resources from early Christianity. I dialogue with an existing Christian tradition in the Chinese Church, in order to reconstruct it for better engagement with indigenous concerns. I pray that my project can contribute to my Chinese brothers and sisters’ thinking about our own Christian identity in this hostile environment.  
Prayer Requests
As I move toward the end of my doctoral journey at LST, my wife and I are looking forward to a new stage of life, back where we belong. While this period of adjustment has not come to us yet, we would appreciate it if you could join us in praying that God would go ahead of us and continue guiding us through all the changes we will need to make. 
Please particularly pray for our kids’ education back in our home country. Whether in public school or private school, may God’s protection and wisdom be with us to nourish their souls and minds. 
Please also pray for my viva, which will take place soon in the coming months. Vivas in the British system can be very challenging, especially as English is my second language. 
Please continue to pray for theological education and training in mainland China, as all the theological institutions, especially underground ones, are facing challenges related to maintaining our ministries. Recruiting new students has also become harder.

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