Church in China told to remove First Commandment

15 January 2019

A church in Henan province China was ordered to erase the First Commandment from display during an inspection by government officials in November 2018, according to regional sources.

Members of the government-approved “three-self” church in Dongcun village said they were inspected by 30 officials from a central “patrol team” on 1 November.

One official is reported to have ordered that the First Commandment, “You shall have no other gods before me”, be removed from the Ten Commandments displayed in the front of the pulpit, saying it was “national policy”. Other officials then wiped off the words. Later that day, the church took down all Ten Commandments on display under pressure from the authorities.

The Ten Commandments, God’s moral law given to Moses (Exodus 34:28), are fundamental to the beliefs of Judaism and Christianity

In 2018, the heightened crackdown on Christians led 344 pastors from unofficial Chinese congregations – known as “house churches” – to release a declaration on 12 September calling on authorities to allow religious freedom. Earlier in the year the communist government’s White Paper on religion announced new policies of “sinicisation” (i.e. making Chinese) with the intention of selectively reinterpreting Christianity and Scripture.