Chinese and American Christians agree: Fight fear with faith, looking to God

People praying in Church in China.
(Photo: Flickr)
(ChinaAid, Midland, TX—September 23, 2021) “Believe it or not, I can beat you to death.” On May 23, while police detained Pastor Yang Hua of the Living Stone Church in Guiyang City, Guizhou Province, a government official threatened Pastor Yang with those words. The official then beat him so violently that afterward, emergency medical service [EMS] personnel transported him by ambulance to the emergency room. Pastor Yang’s injuries required that doctors continued to observe and treat him for several days afterward.
Named Li Guozi at birth, Pastor Yang often uses the pseudonym Yang Hua, which means “looking up to Jehovah.” Even after being brutally beaten, however, Pastor Yang encourages others not to fear but to look to Jehovah and—”hold fast to the faith.”

In his book, God’s Answer to Fear, Worry, and Anxiety, Greg Laurie also encourages Christians not to fear:

There’s a lot of scary stuff out there. So many stresses and pressures that we have to contend with. There are legitimate threats and dangers in our world today. Fear is in the air all around us.
There is uncertainty in our country and around the world. Political strain, threats from terrorism, uncertainty about the future and about those who are in positions of leadership—and all of the garbage that the news media puts in front of our eyes each day.
Not only are there global fears; there are personal fears as well. There is so much
fear about so many things.

… John 14 tells us of a time when the disciples were afraid. Jesus had dropped a bombshell on them. He said something that turned their world, as they knew it, upside down. He revealed that He would be betrayed, that He was going away, and that they not could come with Him.

But then He went on to share some words to bring calm in place of fear: “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me” (John 14:1 NLT). He didn’t say, “Mull over your problems.” Rather, He said, “Don’t be troubled.”

Contrary to Christian concepts Laurie shares, China’s President Xi Jinping encourages fear. He stated that China plans to “maintain an indomitable fighting spirit—”not fearing hardship [n]or death.” Consequently, the People’s Liberation Army [PLA]must train soldiers in actual combat situations…. Under Xi, the fear of religion, a fear inherent to all totalitarian systems, produces an extensive, meticulously planned national anti-religion strategy with a myriad of moving parts.

Bob Fu, PhD., founder of ChinaAid, notes:

Under Xi, the fear of religion, a fear inherent to all totalitarian systems, produces an extensive, meticulously planned national anti-religion strategy with a myriad of moving parts.
My early years in China birthed a barrage of firsthand experiences which overtly contributed to my decision to share concerns regarding those who currently live there. As a survivor of persecution and imprisonment in China, and personal interactions with many who have experienced persecution for their religious beliefs, I empathize with those experiencing horrific repercussions from the State-sponsored activities of the[Chinese Communist Party] CCP. Interactions between the motives and rights of the church (religion) as opposed to the motives and rights of the State not only create appalling ramifications but also critical contemporary concerns that challenge citizens in China not only locally but also globally (p.10).*
When Chen Jianguo, a Christian attending Guiyang Ren’ai Reformed Church, recently experienced ramifications from the State-sponsored activities of the CCP, he recounted Paul’s that encourages Christians not to fear . Brother Chen posted the following details of his detention that evolved from him attending the “retreat” a church on WeChat organized.

  • On the morning of March 16, 19 other Christians of Ren’ai Reformed Church and I gathered in Room 1702 of Yuli Plaza Wing B, located in Guiyang City, to begin their three-day retreat. At 9 am, Chen Jianguo had just finished reading Philippians 1:14–18 to the others: “I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much bolder to speak the word without fear.”

Brother Yun, also known as The Heavenly Man, reminds Christians that the devil instills and feeds fear. He said:

Instead of receiving eternal life, those who serve him receive eternal damnation. Today, as fears run rampant, and bad news continually bombards us, some people are afraid to come out of their homes. Some even lock themselves in a room, fearful to venture outside. Fear, I believe, must be from the devil.
“Don’t fix eyes on the bad news on tv, your phone, or computer,” Brother Yun reminds others. “Look to Jesus and spread the good news of Him. He said, ‘Fear not.'”

Words from Brother Yun , as well as the words revealing the meaning of Brother Yang’s chosen name, “looking up to Jehovah [God/Jesus],” encourage Christians not to fear. Even if someone tells them as they told Brother Yang , “Believe it or not, I can beat you to death,” God’s children have no reason to fear. Instead, God’s Word for Christians in the United States, in China, throughout the world repeatedly resounds—choose faith.

*Excerpts used by permission from Wipf and Stock Publishers,

But He said to them, 
“Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” 
Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, 
and there was a great calm.
                                                                                      Matthew 8:26 (NKJV)
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