So what is the state of religious freedom in China? It depends on who you are and where you are and who you know and what you are doing. There have been many recent examples of crackdowns in China involving the house church movement. But there is some good news to report. A story out of Beijing this week offers an example of unprecedented religious dialogue between an American evangelist and a top Chinese official. In 2005 Luis Palau met Zhao Qizheng, former minister of the State Council Information Office. Palau is a well-known evangelist whose campaigns and festivals have taken him around the world. Zhao is an atheist. They got together in Beijing this week to announce the publication of a book called "Riverside Talks: A Friendly Dialogue between an Atheist and a Christian." The best part of this is that the book is being published first in China and will be available nationwide at government bookstores and other outlets. Broadman & Holman will release the American edition in a few months.
This is a positive development, and we can only hope it will lead to many discussions in China about the reality of God, the nature of faith, the significance of Jesus Christ, and the way to eternal life. I certainly hope that many university students will read this dialogue and then ask their American English teachers for more information about Christianity. From a question comes a dialogue that may ultimately lead to a life-changing encounter with Jesus Christ.
Here are three articles about the dialogue between the evangelist and the atheist:
Religion Takes on Philosophy in New Tome
A Friendly Dialogue: Does God Exist?
Historical Dialogue Opens Heart of Chinese Official
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