Eastern Lightning

An uncertain number of leaders of a major house church movement in China have disappeared in what at first was thought to be a massive government raid. Now cult activity is suspected.

About 30 main leaders of the China Gospel Fellowship disappeared the evening of April 19. Since the group was blacklisted by the government as a cult in the late 1990s, it was assumed at first that they were victims of Public Security Bureau raids. That view later was changed.

According to a reputable source in Hong Kong, members of the Eastern Lightning cult a year ago posed as leaders of a Bible institute in Singapore offering free in-depth training to house-church leaders. So last week the China Gospel Fellowship leaders went to attend meetings allegedly arranged in six locations inside China. When some of the leaders showed up at one location, they were told the situation was “very tight” (meaning the PSB was coming) and were asked to hand over their cell phones. When some refused, they were beaten and the phones forcibly seized. One woman escaped on pretense of going to the toilet.

House church members did not realize anything had happened to their leaders until several days went by without any contact from them via cell phone. It was immediately assumed they had been arrested by the PSB. Later, as the lone female leader who escaped made her way to a place where she could safely relay what had hap

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This post was last updated: Oct. 31, 2014