The Chinese government has ordered one church to remove the first commandment, ‘You shall have no other gods before me’, from its wall. Chinese officials claim that displaying the first commandment contradicts the policy of China’s president, Xi Jinping.
It is yet another example of increasingly intense persecution of Christians and churches by the Chinese state. Meeting places are being closed down, and pastors and church members are being imprisoned.
The Chinese authorities are issuing a new state translation of the Bible to establish the ‘correct understanding’ of Scripture.
The current approach has been deemed the worst religious persecution since Chairman Mao’s attempts to eradicate religion. Sunday schools and youth ministries have been banned and members of underground churches have been detained or gone into hiding.
Writing for Christian Today, Mark Woods said: ‘Religious liberty — including the freedom not to believe — is foundational for all liberties.
‘It is the ultimate assertion that the state does not control conscience, and that no political system can claim our absolute allegiance’.