Skip to content


The Slave-Driving God in Chinese Churches

“Life has never been about just ‘getting in.’ It’s about thriving in God’s good world.”

“I have sat with many Christian leaders over the years who are burned out, washed up, fried, whose marriages are barely hanging on, whose kids are home while the parents are out at church meetings, who haven’t taken a vacation in forever–all because, like the older brother, they have seen themselves as ‘slaving all these years.They believe that they believe the right things and so they’re ‘saved,’ but it hasn’t delivered the full life that it was supposed to, and so they’re bitter. Deep down, they believe God has let them down. Which is often something they can’t share with those around them, because they are the leaders who are supposed to have it all together. And so they quietly suffer, thinking this is the good news.”

“…… some churches are not life-giving places, draining people until there’s very little life left. That God is angry, demanding, a slave driver, and so that God’s religion becomes a system of sin management, constantly working and angling to avoid what surely must be the coming wrath that lurks behind every corner, thought, and sin.”

“It is the gospel of the goats,
and it is lethal.

God is not a slave driver.
The good news is better than that.”

Rob Bell, Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived (New York, NY: HarperOne, 2011), 179-181, 183.


Chinese churches, hear that?

Posted in Church, Posts in English.

Tagged with , , , .

2 Responses

Stay in touch with the conversation, subscribe to the RSS feed for comments on this post.

  1. Timothy Chan says

    Amen here as well.

    For many Chinese churches, “burning for Christ” is extolled as a great virtue when talking about missionaries.

    And the message is repeated again and again: you work hard, you gain reward from heaven.

    The last I checked God is more concerned with us trusting in Him and abandoning idols. The Israelites’ problem was not that they didn’t work hard, but that they didn’t seriously believe in God and trust in Him and listen to Him. It’s an issue of faith.

    Just as the Christian leaders that are mentioned in your quote, I know many Christians who, instead of pursuing God and aiming to trust Him and rely on Him more, have substituted that with working, working, working in the name of “service.”

    And yes, this is particularly prevalent in Chinese churches.

    • Anson says

      Yeah, seriously if anyone feels like they are “slaving” in church, they are worshiping pharaoh instead of Yahweh. Having feelings of being forced into slavery should be the last thing on the minds of God’s people. More accurately, it should have absolutely nothing to do with God’s people.