For years the Chinese Communist Party justified persecuting unregistered house churches by labeling them as cults that disdained the government. Without direct control over the churches, the government believed they could spread dangerous teaching and eventually revolt against the Communist Party.
But during research for his dissertation, pastor and missionary Timothy Conkling found a completely different story. Of the hundreds of house church members he interviewed, “never once was there talk about overthrowing the government,” even if they had issues with certain aspects of the government’s policy. Led by a theology of martyrdom, house churches view persecution as a privilege, and thus do not respond violently against their oppressors.