According to Voice of the Martyrs Korea, a new hymnal in Liaoning Province may provide a glimpse into the future of church music in China.

Voice of the Martyrs Korea Representative Dr. Hyun Sook Foley says that the hymnal is a collection of 50 songs and poems with titles like Bless the Motherland,” “The Joy of Your Nation, “Promoting Sinicization of Christianity,and “The Beauty of the Four Prongs, which praises the Chinese flag, Constitution, Communism, and traditional Chinese culture.  

Representative Foley says the new hymnal reflects the Communist Partys ongoing efforts to Sinicize Christianity. 

Traditional Christian hymns contain the words and theology of the Bible and give praise to God, but the hymns and poems in this collection contain political slogans and give praise to the Communist party and to the country, says Representative Foley. She says the hymnal still retains some lyrics based on Christian beliefs but blends these with the core socialist and traditional Chinese values that the Communist Party is now requiring churches to promote. There are titles like Learning to be Tolerant and Forgiving, Enlightening in the Beauty of Life, and Building Christian Families, which emphasizes the concepts of unity, progress, peace, and tolerance.  

The hymnal is the work of Rev. Hou Yujie, the chairman and president of the official Liaoning Provincial Christian Council and the Three-Self Patriotic Movement Committee in Yingkou, Liaoning Province 

Representative Foley says the new hymnals publication comes at a time when traditional Christian hymnals are increasingly being banned by the Communist Party. 

In recent years, officials have banned local churches from using the traditional hymns including the popular Spiritual Songs collection and Lu Xiaomins ‘Canaan Hymns, which is a collection of gospel hymns commonly used in house churches, says Representative Foley. She says that Chinese officials have set up cultural activity centers in the government registered ThreeSelf churches, where visitors can watch operas and learn calligraphy, painting, and photography 

These activities are designed to make churches more useful to the wider community, with programs that have nothing to do with praising the Lord, says Representative Foley. Rather than shutting churches down, the Communist Party is trying to find ways to shut Christ out of churches or to move him to the margins of their activity so that promoting Communist values can be the main focus.  

(file photo) The choir of Chengdu Fountain of Life Church sings during a Sunday worship service. The church is one of the oldest urban house churches and was raided by government officials in March 2021.

She says projects like the new Liaoning Province hymnal should remind the church around the world of the importance of praying for and partnering with Chinas house church Christians.  

It is in the house churches of China that Christ rather than Communism is still being preached and praised, says Representative Foley. Within a generation, it is likely that house church Christians will be the only ones in China who still know the hymns and worship songs that are fundamental to our faith. And it is very likely that many house church Christians will be singing those songs in prison, as they pay the high price for keeping the true faith alive in China. 

Individuals interested in learning about or supporting Voice of the Martyrs Korea’s daily shortwave radio broadcasts into China and its work in partnership with the house church Christians of China can visit or give via electronic transfer to: 


KB Bank: 463501-01-243303 

Account Holder: ()순교자의소리 

Please note “China” on the transfer. 


Leave your comments