Evangelist Christine Caine has reflected on the incredible faith she witnessed from church leaders in China and said she believes the underground church has grown so rapidly because its members demonstrate the kind of faith that "amazes" God.
Caine told thousands of college students gathered at the Passion 2019 Conference that recently, she and her husband were in a region of the world along with 500 leaders of the Chinese underground church.
"They had asked me to go because they were worried that a whole generation of young people, because of the migration from the villages to the cities...were moving away from the purposes of God," she shared.
"I remember they said to me, 'Christine, would you come and help us train our young people?'" she continued. "'We don't understand anything about leadership, we don't understand about Western leadership methods. Could you help us? All we know how to do to is pray, all we know how to do is believe God. That's how we had revival in China when we're not allowed to carry the Word of God. The only leadership training we give our people is, we teach them how to witness to their executioner on their way to their execution.'"
The evangelist and author said she "froze" after hearing those words.
"I thought, 'what am I doing here?" she said. "I literally said, 'I'm not sure if I'm a Christian.' You're asking me? No, you can all lay hands on me. You can all lay hands on me and give me the kind of faith that says, 'I'm going to witness to my executioner on the way to my execution.' I want the kind of faith that says 'I'm just going to believe God, that Jesus is who He says He is...I want the kind of faith that says, 'I will not deny my Savior, I will stand for truth.'"
After the Chinese church leaders laid hands on her, Caine said she was determined to carry their fire back to America -- the kind of "fire that says, 'I want a faith that causes Jesus to marvel. A faith that says, 'I haven't seen that kind of faith anywhere in America,'" she said.
"You don't need to be the most educated, you don't need to be the smartest, you don't need to be the most connected, you don't need to be the most resourced," she declared. "You just need a faith that recognizes that Jesus is the Son of God; and all He needs to do is just say the word, that if He said it in His word, it shall come to pass."
"We need that kind of faith to be unleashed throughout our colleges in this nation," she concluded.
Underground house churches are illegal in China, as they operate outside the guidelines of the government. In recent years, the government has increased pressure on Christians to join one of the Three-Self Patriotic churches, state-sanctioned bodies which follow Communist Party ideology.
The country's revised regulations on religious affairs that came into effect in February 2018 have led to the current crackdown on unregistered churches across China. Last year saw the closure of Beijing's 1600-member Zion Church and Early Rain Covenant Church, one of the most influential house churches in the country.
Despite continued persecution, their membership is rapidly growing across regions and demographics. Fenggang Yang, of Purdue University's Center on Religion and Chinese Society, estimates that there are between 93 million and 115 million Protestants in China, with fewer than 30 million attending officially registered churches.