I’m not the only one who has learned since 2020 to closely follow any news coming out of China. Of course, we’ve already learned how a disease that starts in Wuhan can upend all our lives around the world. But I’ve also tracked increasing government repression on the growing house church.

Back in January 2020, The Gospel Coalition cofounders Don Carson and Tim Keller addressed 2,000 Chinese house church leaders in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The Wuhan delegation stayed home. But we still sent TGC senior writer Sarah Zylstra to report on how these Chinese church leaders developed their theology of suffering. These pastors—theologically trained, working mostly in cities, keeping the grace of Christ central to their ministry—find particular comfort in the doctrine of union with Christ.

You’ll find many of these insights in the new book Faith in the Wilderness: Words of Exhortation from the Chinese Church, edited by Hannah Nation and Simon Liu. Hannah explains what we can learn from these pastors:

In these dark times, let us set aside our relentless efforts to forget death and ignore suffering, and let us hear something about walking with Jesus that we have been missing. We descendants of Christendom fear cultural marginalization, but let us remember that those on the margins often preach the gospel more boldly, fearlessly, and humbly than those at the center, for they have nothing to lose and no stakeholders to upset.

Hannah is managing director for the Center for House Church Theology and content director for China Partnership. She joined me on Gospelbound to discuss persecution, pestilence, judgment, and justification.