In 1992, my wife was sick and not healed after receiving various treatments. What was worse, she was possessed by a devil. We tried everything while there was no way out. Then I converted to Christianity for Jesus healed her. I attended a house church and just knew little about Christian faith. A preacher told me, "Don't go to registered churches. Run by the government, they are not spiritual and there's no Salvation there." I don't know why so I continued to stay in the house church.
Later I came back to work in a coal mine of Jiaozuo, a city in northern Henan province, noted for its mine industry. I started a fellowship with several believers there. At that time there were some believers from other cities, who attended Sunday services in three-self churches while gathered in the house church at usual times. They shared truth, their spiritual growth and blessings received in the service with me. I desired those things. Then I went to Jiaozuo Church with them. After some time, I grew under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and was moved by Spirit in each service, founding myself with tears in my eyes -- tears of gratitude. During that period, my prayer was always heard and wonders and miraculous signs always happened on me.I often had visions and spiritual dreams.
The Spirit opened my mind so I knew that a man was not saved by his deeds nor by his attending a certain church but by grace through faith. About six years later, God called me to serve full-time in Chengguan Church of Runan County, Zhumadian. At 29, I quit my high-paying job and joined the ministry team which has an average age above 60.
I found that the church workers regarded house churches as "unorthodox churches." Immediately I told them that this saying was wrong and it should be corrected.
I respect and accept Christians who choose to gather in any church in any form, regardless of their traditions and habits, holding that people think in different ways and it's normal to have some differences. I often associate with believers from house churches and have established deep friendships with them. They also respect me.
The twelve disciples met the same problem, seeing a man driving out demons in Jesus' name. They held that they had the orthodox faith, while the Lord Jesus didn't think in that way. Luke 9:50 says, "'Do not stop him,' Jesus said, 'for whoever is not against you is for you.'"
The Apostle Paul claims, "It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice." (Philippians 1:15-18)
In July 2007, I became a member of the ministry team of Zhumadian Church. Rev. Bai, the senior pastor, supports house churches and gives a hand to help them getting open. Meanwhile, the pastor tries to reconcile relationship conflicts between house church workers.
In the past, many churches were suppressed by the local authority which has a misunderstanding of house churches. Rev. Bai visited them and persuaded them to open up. Now they have been members of our registered churches.
Having worked with Rev. Bai for years, I learned that he and I have similar ideas of house churches. I quite approve of his way of helping the unregistered churches and the implementation approach.
(The author is an elder of Tianzhong Church of Zhumadian, Henan.)
Translated by: Karen Luo