An Examination of the Eastern Lightning Cult

Who is Behind the Eastern Lightning?

Several house church leaders over the past few years told me, without offering any evidence, that they believe the EL is funded and operated by Satanists in America. Judging from the cult’s stated beliefs and plans, this sounds a very feasible possibility. The instructions we have just read from their handbook very closely mirror the stated aims of Satanists, and their efforts to destroy churches by targeting leaders are almost identical to methods employed against effective churches in the West. The EL’s own admissions show that their main motive is to defame God and try to destroy His children. Their stated goals include to “disrupt God’s work,” and to “spy out…those who thirst for God’s revelation; those who truly love God.” They even admit they are liars when they stated, “we for the sake of our work speak not the truth.”

Whether Satanists in the West and the Eastern Lightning are directly connected or not, the one thing we do know is that they share the same father. Jesus said, “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44)


It is no exaggeration to say that thousands of Christians across China have been physically beaten, tortured, or poisoned by the EL. Hundreds of believers are missing. Although most of those missing may have ended up changing sides and joining the cult, there are dozens of known deaths caused by the brutality of the EL.

Let’s read the words of a house church pastor from Shandong Province as he tells what happened when his church was targeted by the EL. (7)

“I know brethren from Henan, Gansu, Hebei, etc. and not a few of them have fallen victim to violence at the hands of the EL. In this phase, the cult will first try to trick the victim. They will call them as though they are a family member, invite them to pray, etc. After the victim is tricked and brought somewhere else, the EL turns violent. Nearly all of them carry a cudgel, which they use to hit the victim’s vital parts, such as their four limbs and/or his head, until he becomes unconscious. Then the believer is taken to a prearranged place where the EL indoctrinate him with the teachings of the cult. If the subject refuses to accept the teachings, they will turn to more violent methods. Friends tell me of such cruel methods as cutting off an ear, breaking legs, and there was even an old sister who had her neck broken because she would not accept the teachings of the cult or their “lady Jesus.”

“During this violent phase one of my father’s colleagues was deceived into going with them, and poison [acid?] was thrown at him. Another colleague of mine had his water poisoned. My aunt’s neighbor was poisoned to death. These are accounts of which I personally know. The victims are always church members who are more influential.”

Sexual and Monetary Enticement

Although China is experiencing rapid economic growth, the house church believers in the countryside are among the poorest segments of China’s population. They have nothing at all by the world’s standards, yet they give God all they have. If you placed an offering bag in front of them, they would get into it themselves.

When I spoke with the leader of one house church network in northwest China, he told me the EL has made inroads into his team of leaders primarily through monetary enticement. This church group is only able to support their evangelists 2.5 RMB (30 U.S. cents) per meal for a sister and 1.5 RMB (18 cents) for a brother. When a leader needs to travel to minister, the church will try to cover his bus fare if they have any cash available at the time. The evangelist is always hosted in believer’s homes. Practically no house church leaders receive regular income. If they are married, often their families remain home living in abject poverty. The house church believers have Jesus, and little else.

Taking advantage of the believers’ financial hardship, the EL has slyly offered extraordinary sums of money to house church leaders if they will convert. Nanyang County in southwest Henan Province is one of the centers of China’s revival. Elders of the Nanyang Church were offered 150,000 RMB (more than US$ 18,000) to join the EL, plus the promise of two or three mistresses. By appealing to these two basic sinful desires of mankind, greed and lust, the faith of some has been shipwrecked.

This situation leads us to consider the financial sources of the Eastern Lightning. The huge sums mentioned above are not only offered, but actually paid, to those who convert. There has been some speculation from house church leaders, but nobody is sure where the EL gets their seemingly endless supply of money. Some of the speculation told to me includes the existence of corporations in Singapore and China itself which operate solely to fund the activities of EL. One house church pastor told me he believes the EL is funded by Satanists in America. Whatever the truth, it is clear that the poorly financed house churches cannot compete financially with the EL. Often after kidnapping victims, the EL employs sexual temptation in a bid to destroy the reputations of their victims. The EL use sexual enticement on both men and women captives.

One house church leader in Anhui Province told about one woman who had been a convert of EL for five years: “This woman is very pretty, but she has already lost her chastity. EL has used her to lure many leaders into fornication. Two coworkers in Anhui were confined by the EL for 14 days, brainwashed and worn down, until they gave in and committed fornication with the woman. Photographs were taken of them at appropriate embarrassing moments. Their tactic was to use the photograph to blackmail the brothers to accept the teachings of the cult. If they refuse to convert, a man will appear in their churches or when they are with a group of believers, pretending that the girl in the picture is his fiancé (or cousin), and threaten to sue the pastor.” (8)

Not all Christian leaders fall into sexual temptation of course, but this does not seem to stop the EL. They have been known to drug their victims, and then take video and photographs of the drugged brother with a naked EL woman. The EL then feels they “own” a pastor for life, even if they are unable to convert him. If he ever attempts to enter a leadership role in the church again, the EL will invariably slip into the church, and wait for an opportune time to spread rumors of the pastor’s immorality, backed with photographic “evidence.”

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This post was last updated: Dec. 17, 2012    
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