I’m often asked if I feel that our organic church movement has accomplished all that I had hoped. The answer is no. We are not the movement that I hoped for…yet. But that is partly because I have always felt that what we were doing was preparing the church for what is coming: persecution. Because it has not come yet the movement has not fully realized all that it was meant to. I see our work as sowing seeds for a future harvest, and I believe that future is getting closer every day.
When the communists took over the nation they arrested the church leaders (like Nee) and seized all church property. The indigenous expressions of simple churches meeting in homes not only survived…they thrived. The Cultural Revolution of Mao Tse-Tung sought to eliminate all religion from society in China but instead mobilized the church and it grew from about 2 million Christians in 1949 to over 60 million. It is estimated today that there may be upwards of 80 million Christians in China.
Contrast this with the church of Russia. The Russian Orthodox Church was dependent upon three things: holy buildings, holy men in robes, and holy services performed by those men in those buildings. When the communists took over in Russia they seized all the buildings and arrested or compromised all the leaders of the church. The church was devastated.
I carry deep inside a feeling that everything I have been about for the past 20 years is just preparing the bride of Christ for what is to come. Like Nee, I have been striving to bring health and simplicity back to the church, and with that an ability to ride out any storm that may come.
But there is another movement in America that looks far closer to the Russian church than the Chinese. Just as it was easy to decimate the church in Russia the church in the US may be equally weak and not surprising it is the same three areas that will be the downfall.
In the next week I will post a few ideas on this blog about how vulnerable our churches are to persecution and what I think may take place in the next couple years to expose those vulnerabilities.