In the midst of extreme persecution, Christians in China are finding the promise found in the first few verses of the Book of James to be not only reassuring, but loaded with truth as well.
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds," read verses 2 and 3 of Chapter 1, "because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance."
Chinese authorities are shutting down churches and imprisoning believers, which is nothing new in the communist country. But it is intensifying – and yet persecuted Christians know how to respond.
"They actually respond with joyfulness," says Gina Goh with International Christian Concern. She also reports there's an amazing boldness among some of the Christians that she finds very inspiring.
"They all feel like even if the persecution continues or even intensifies, it's not going to force them to renounce their faith," she shares. "And also, most house churches still refuse to join state-sanctioned churches."
Goh tells OneNewsNow that the persecution has forced larger congregations to split up, giving more Christians the opportunity to lead out in smaller groups.
"They were all trained in a way how to be well-rounded leaders," she explains, "so all of them now can single-handedly do Bible study, lead worship, and give a short sermon."
Despite the persecution, God's Word is spreading – even behind bars. "When they were detained, they were able to share the gospel in the police station to fellow prisoners, detainees, or even to the police officers," she says.
And in some cases, Goh adds, those who heard the gospel there gave their lives to the Lord.